Isn't it strange how some of the hardest rides are the ones we remember as being some of the best? When Leonard and I got back to the car Wednesday evening more than eight hours after we left it, we had run out of tubes, patches and water, and the sky was growing dark.
Most everything—including my legs—was depleted. My back ached and my knees were sore. We needed a hot meal, and we were still facing a 125-mile drive back to Anchorage. Home felt far away. My office, where I needed to be in 12 hours, felt much too near.
Tonight, there’s a small pile of filthy clothes in my garage floor, right next to the Camelbak full of food wrappers and miscellaneous trash. Cleaning it up will, as usual, be simultaneously disgusting and fun. The aftermath of a good ride is like that of a good party. You might use a long stick to pick up a malodorous pair of pants, but you’ll smile at the memory of what happened to them.
Sometimes, it’s tempting to swear I’ll never return to a trail that ripped my legs off and beat me over the head with them, but that’s like crawling out of bed on Sunday morning and vowing to never drink again.
A few days later, the bottle will be opened again. That stuff just tastes too damn good.