Some don't make it back.

September 6th, 2014, 8am

I smelled this poor little guy before I saw him. Rising sun in my face, alone on the ridge road angling up as my lungs tried to compensate for the lack of air. Travel by bicycle. There is nothing else quite like it.

Exposed. Always exposed. No glass and steel enclosure, music and a digital, heads up display to distract. There is only the tarmac, dirt or path in front, always demanding the undivided attention required to navigate and stay upright.

You MUST engage this way. Engage with life, destiny, and yes, even death from time to time. Coyotes and cars don’t play well together, nor do humans, so my attention is always on edge, buzzing as I am left alone with my breath.

The road turns to dirt. Switchbacks, loose and rippled with washboard. I pass a man with a pipe who waves with amusement on his face. I get that a lot. Why? Why ride HERE, up this dead end trail? Faced with a gate of the wealthy I retrace my strokes dropping down into the high desert.

The temperature dips and drops with the road. Intense sun one moment and a chill, damp smokey feel the next. There are no fires burning but the mind plays tricks with memory.

Singletrack across the plains, rabbits shooting out from under the wheels. The tiny dust trails angling harshly from the rear wheel as the familiar wind makes itself known. At my back. For once I’m lucky. Lucky to be here, now, in this place. Alone and on my bicycle.

Philippe, David Wade, Christine, Craig and 1 more said thanks.

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Daniel Milnor

"Photographer at Large" for Blurb, Inc. Serial book, magazine and journal maker. @smogranch

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