Singletrack

The bitter cold and gloomy gray winter days are behind me, at least for now.

I stand under a brilliant blue sky with bright sun shining, serenaded by birds singing from their hidden wooden perches. Looking ahead, I attempt to assess an unfamiliar trail that isn’t revealing its secrets, cloaked by a heavily wooded narrow opening.

With one foot on the pedal, I pause, take a deep breath, release the brake and start pedaling. Right from the start, I feel each bump of the terrain and hear the leaves crunch beneath my spinning tires.

With the birds singing their distinctive melodies; woodpeckers tapping on trees; and the occasional rustle of tiny creatures moving through the undergrowth, I am confident the woods are urging me to go faster.

I hit the first gradual hill that seemed effortless to climb. I embrace the calmness and clarity as I pedal with ease.

As I approach a clearing, the trail flattens out, so I ease up and slowly pedal past a small pond with a family of ducks nestled in the reeds, watching me pass. I pause, leaning my head back to absorb the sun’s warmth and soak in the earthy aroma of the water, vegetation, and mud.

Taking a swig from the water bottle and returning it to its cage, I am delighted, reenergized, and confident to keep going.

I pedal hard and quickly pick up the pace to zip around a curve, leaning, the tires askew as dirt and debris pellet my bare legs.

Trees stretch up to reveal their vibrant hues against the intense blue backdrop while lush grasses sway along the trailside. The stream meanders slowly over beds of pebbles and boulders, creating a tranquil babbling sound as they flow, trying to drown out the clicks of the pedals and rattling handlebars.

The tranquility is interrupted by the anticipation of an approaching steep hill riddled with roots and bumps and bends. I have but a moment to mentally prepare for this daunting obstacle.

I soon feel my legs burning as I shift, trying to find the proper gear to keep moving forward. I quickly question if I am ready to conquer such commanding terrain. I continue to push myself, and my breathing quickens as I test my limits.

Determined to stay in the saddle, I try to breathe deeply and stay in tune with my body, knowing each pedal brings me closer to the top.

With my legs on fire and sweat pouring out from under my helmet, I squeeze the last bit of energy from my body, forcing each rotation of the pedal until I reach the crown of the hill.

I look down at my shaking legs, dirt and sweat making a paste that shrouds my calf muscles. I suddenly feel a burst of energy to spin around and look back. I see the marks from my knobby tires where I skidded, forcing me to move my hips back to gain a grip on the trail and not lose my balance.

I raise my clenched fist and hear my voice self-assuredly back talking the hill I stand triumphantly atop.

I turn around and am greeted by a stunning view that overwhelms me. Seeing the landscape sprawl out ahead takes my breath away at every glance.

I feel small and insignificant yet inspired and alive.

Motionless, I invite my breathing to calm and the breeze to cool my skin. I reflect on the magnificent landscape I have pedaled past today and during my previous rides.

Whether it is an awe-inspiring mountain range, sparkling stars stretching across the night sky, or majestic oceans meeting sandy shores, these incredible views captivate me and remind me of the grandeur of God’s Creation, His gift for my perseverance.

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