I still suited up, strapped on the helmet, grabbed the bike, and went out the door, fully expecting I would ride just for an hour or so - enough to say I had done it.
But once I was on the bike, and finally into the woods, things changed. It was quiet - just me and the bike. I focused not on the results of the day or the week, but on the trail stretched out before me - leading me further into the woods. The bike wanted to ride, and who was I to hold it back?
I became one with the bike - floating over the rocks and roots, nailing the turns, clicking, shifting and pedaling without thinking. I was savoring the woods - I didn't hear the traffic, and was only interrupted from my zen-like state a few times, while passing other riders out for the same reason. A quick hello, and we passed, each off to continue to get the most out of the ride.
I cleaned the Smash Your Hooch trail from end to end, and let out a small whoop of joy. I smiled as I rode the Gravity Cavity, past the Mini Mangler, across the Bridge Too Far, both directions on the Refrigerator Door trail. I was muddy and I was happy, and grinning while I rode.
As the sun finally started to dip, I heard in my head the voice of my mother from my childhood. "You need to come in. It's getting dark out." So I did what every good kid in the same situation would have done - rode one more trail, just because, and then took the long way home.