There's a chill to the air and excitement in our souls as we pull our fat tire mountain bikes off the rack in the darkness. My son is curious as to what lays ahead as he's never ridden into the woods at night. With lights on our helmets and batteries in our jersey pockets we pedal to the trailhead.
We begin with a slow pace as we adjust to only being able to see the path directly in front of us. The woods sound and smell differently than they did during the day just a few days before. After five minutes we embraced the night and picked up speed. Our senses are on high alert as we must react quickly to turns, obstacles, and elevation changes as they come into our lights. I can hear my son giggling in front of me and a smile comes across my face. This is exciting!
After ten minutes we begin to relax as we now have our lights dialed in to the perfect distance in front of us, our senses have adjusted to the task at hand, and our bodies are warm from activity. Our pace once again quickens as we fly through the trail bouncing over rocks and logs piles and taking the s-turn berms at full speed. We then stop at an intersection to catch our breath and notice there are no bugs as the cool temperatures have kept them at bay. In the distance we can see other night riders moving through the woods like fireflies on a summer night. We continue on.
Soon we hit the familiar jump that reminds us the parking lot is near. We shoot out of the woods, off the curb, and onto the pavement. What a thrill!
As we put the bikes back on our rack, my son talks quickly about which of his friends he thinks we should take next time we go. He wished his sister and mom had come with us. I hear the word "awesome" about seven times which I think means he had a great time. I can't help but to agree. It was awesome!