The wind was howling through the bottom of my front door, and it acted as a better alarm clock than I could have hoped for. Waking up with a sense of doubt seems to render you far more aware than rising with a clear mind. For a moment I pretended that the blankets had me trapped, and every time the wind voiced itself, the blankets grasp would cinch a little tighter. Still wide awake, the second alarm went off and I've never noticed how irritating the sound is when you're entirely coherent. All right, I was up. Breakfast was quick, the coffee was made, and I was out the door.
Trying to convince myself that it would be a quick, enjoyable ride, went out the window the second I stepped outside. This was easily the coldest morning we've had this fall. Clear skies, and that bully they call the wind, had joined forces to leave frost on mostly everything. This, is exactly what GRADIENT is all about though. Accomplishing rides through any conditions, so let's quit being a baby and get on with the adventure.
An hour later, I was parked at the top of the Hump in an area that's generally reserved for people unloading their dirtbikes, or atvs. Instead, I unloaded my human powered pedal bike with only a raccoon as my audience. Luckily he didn't offer much criticism about my choice of off-road transportation and continued to pillage the Wendys bag that had been thrown out the window of a passing vehicle. Next was to load up the jersey pockets with a pretty standard selection of items: a pump, tire levers, two additional tubes, Garmin, Banana, Nanaimo Bar, water bottle, and an Opinel No. 08. That last item to be packed was my form of protection in the event that a cougar or bear were to find me in the woods. Drawn in by the scent of a Nanaimo Bar. No a small knife is not going to offer me much physical protection, but it keeps my mental stability in check and convinces me that I may stand a fighting chance... Right.
Only the mountain tops were being greeted by the sun at this point as I left the vehicle, splashed through some puddles, and slowly began the descent into the valley that would transport me the rest of the way. Thanks to the false flats of the valley floor, I was going slow enough that I could listen to every small creek or river that passed underneath the road. Quiet. Realizing that any and all wind had left my company, travels to the base of Mt. Arrowsmith, were deathly silent. Then I rounded a corner, and could finally get a clear visual of the feat in which I was about to undertake. My mind was quiet no more.