Leaves fall late in this part of the world; though the calendar says the Autumn Equinox arrived two months ago, the season is just reaching its peak. Although gale force winds over the next few days may speed things up, the leaves are likely to continue falling well into December, maybe even January. Much as the Giro d'Lombardia, the so-called Race of the Falling Leaves held way back in October, signals the end of racing season, our own falling leaves signals a change of pace. It is a time of more social-oriented riding - long mileage rides, sure, but at an easier pace. The type of ride for which the ol' yellow Basso is perfectly suited. Pedals, saddle and seatpost get transferred over from the singlespeed, and my old friend is ready, complete again. My racing bike still gets its miles - being top dog in the kennel does come with certain advantages but, more than at any other point during the year, now is the time for old steel.
The past few mornings now, I have been crunching through drifts of leaves hued in yellow, red, orange, and those faded of all color but dried brown. Much like a kid in a Frazz comic jumping into a pile of freshly raked leaves as some metaphor of an incident in life, I often find myself leaning toward the deepest part of the drifts. Who knows what those deeper drifts hold, what surprises they cover. For most, maybe all, of my life I have been a meticulous planner, trying to anticipate every potential eventuality, living up to that old scout moto that we were required to learn for one advancement or other - Be Prepared. Being prepared though, does not mean we must fore go all sense of adventure. And so I lean into those deeper drifts relishing the once-a-year moment, the crunching of leaves beneath my tires, on an otherwise quiet ride.