On the Root River Trail in southeastern Minnesota. Tabletop flat and remote, the landscape pulled me in and devoured me as I pushed my road bike to the northeast and away from Crookston proper in an area not known for filling up Instagram feeds. But this wasn’t a ride so much about place.
The air was cool bordering on cold, but the sun was unobstructed and warmed my back, while when I looked up, a forever sky disappeared into a horizon that never seemed to get closer with each turn of the wheels. No matter. I was out in mid-October, knowing my window was closing on fall cycling. I had no target or speed in mind — I was out purely for the pleasure of moving by bike.
Many elements came together to make it a memorable ride — and memories of my autumn rides are the easiest to summon. In this case, the newness of the terrain — I’d never been to these rural parts some notoriously consider ugly — and getting out solo heightened my experience over those 35-plus miles. In the draining daylight and the warming sunshine, it occurred to me that my timing was spot-on and my enduring thought was true: To roll in the transition of autumn — the chill, the changing light, the auburn hues — is a direct path to mindfulness.
The internal focus narrows for sure. Am I geared up well? How am I feeling? How is my body reacting, how is it working […]