bicycle diaries 2012, day 276

Early autumn on the prairie; still green, now awash in amber, gold, sienna, and sepia tones. Headed into the northeast wind — windward out, leeward in — taking me through Herrick lake preserve. Pilot black snake lying in the middle of the crushed limestone path, absorbing his preferred infrared band of the warm October sun. Through the horse tunnel into Danada, I arrive at “Wheaton overlook,” a modest hill above Rice Lake with a wide view of its indigo surface and the shops and houses beyond. On the way back the hill now looms as a singular challenge: flex the quads, gear down, now recruit the abdominals, breathe. Retrace my path then re-enter the late afternoon traffic crush. With an assist from the brisk wind at my back, I achieve a respectable 22 mph until I am able to turn off onto a residential street and home to enjoy an endorphin cocktail.

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