This morning I began my ride as the sun was rising, about four miles north of the state line. The air was still and the humidity was not yet apparent, the light of the sun casting a web of lengthy shadows across pastures of green. Dogs, roused from their slumber, woofed half heartedly from the darkened corners of front porches; a few gave brief chase. Arkansas loomed in front of me, taking tangible form in the rollers and hills and shotgun blasted road signs of a highway absent of cars.
Coming upon a fork in the road, I briefly wondered where the left turn would take me and then with no more thought, said “what the hell,” and headed east-ish, sort of. The road twisted and turned, rolling up and then down again. I found a comfortable gear and stayed there for a dozen miles before noticing that the grade was sloping downward.
With little warning, I began to plunge toward a valley – no rollers here! I rapidly picked up speed, slowing myself as the Boulder cruised along at 45 miles per hour. And still I descended, further and further – the thought crossed my mind that I would have to climb this road on the return trip: I would eventually pay dearly for this breezy flight down the Ozark mountainside.
The morning light is what makes these rides so appealing to me. As I turned one last bend, a lake came into view – this scene alone would make the long slog back up the mountain worthwhile.
A short rest at the bottom, before exploring the valley; I dug into my bag for an infusion of carbs and then a long swig of cool water. Who needs to race at a mad pace back up, anyway? What the hell, indeed! Camera in hand I explored a little more before turning my bike back to the north. Somewhere in that direction, breakfast awaited.