This morning, the sky looked like abstract art with a combination of oranges, grays, blues, purples, and whites.Happiness fueled me to ride hard up the hills with K floating next to me in her buttery smooth galloping stride. As we tunneled through a maze of aspen and ponderosa pine trees, a shockingly loud cacophony of bird calls surrounded us. I scanned to find the singers, and birds flitted from twig to twig in every tree. An amazing mixture of birds flocked together: Hairy woodpeckers, Stellar's jays, robins, mountain chickadees, pygmy nuthatches, white breasted nuthatches, and pine siskins. The flock was perhaps the biggest and most diverse of any winter flock that I've seen around here. Their calls seemed to emanate from everywhere around us.
After lingering to enjoy the birds, K and I headed up high. I snapped a zillion photos because every little detail seemed so beautiful. I enjoyed a peek at a distant snow-encased mountain through aspen branches. Then, I noticed the intricate beauty of the lichens coating the rocks that have recently emerged from the snow.
After I left K to snooze at home, I headed out for what I hoped would be a fast and hard ride. I felt infused with excited energy from the beauty around me and felt like riding fast. The first part of my ride mostly descended, all the way to the water's edge. Then, I had a long climb home, and I had fun playing tempo games as I danced up the endless climb. I did a pattern of a 1 minute surge and then 1 minute at my normal climbing pace. It was fun, feeling that the raw power that my legs could produce. I love climbing, probably because my body is built for it. I'm small and light, and I enjoy finding my physiological limits. That combination makes climbing a blast.
I climbed for about 40 minutes, with only a few false flats or slight downhills interspersed in the upward march. The hardest part was that I'd made an edict that I wasn't stopping to take any photos. I kept seeing photos waiting to be taken, but didn't break my rule. Finally, at the top, I could no longer resist the beauty of the sky, the mountains, and the trees.
Today was a day of thankfulness for living in such a beautiful and wild place surrounded by animals, forests, and mountains.