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It’s a Friday in that strange time of year when the days melt together, the sharpness of summer and endless daylight fading into a softer light. The year closes in on itself and mostly, I crave comfort.

For the usual routes, I remember each rut and every pothole, and even the trees have their own personalities by now, with temperate coastal California not offering much in the way of colors changing or weather shifting. Despite the turning inwards, there’s no denying the part of me that insists on something new, even as the season fades. Now, more than ever, is the time for something different.
on seasons and offseasons 1
on seasons and offseasons 2
Maybe for some that means some time away from the bike, as the temperatures beckon us inside. I’ve lived in snow-covered places with calls from the fireplace and any excuse to turn the oven on. But if you’ve been privileged to bear witness to winter in Marin county, you know there’s no staying in. The hills shift from gold to a green you could drown in, and the light shifts from white to gold. Days still shorten, yet the promise is offered not in distance or further destinations, but in finally answering the need to explore deeper. Paths that have been here this whole time, overlooked in favor of the familiar. It’s time to do away with plans. With having any idea what the ride holds.
on seasons and offseasons 4
on seasons and offseasons 5
We pack more snacks than we think we’ll need yet still run out with a few hours til home. We ride slow enough to identify mushrooms. Get lost, stare at some maps, and still make poor route decisions. Look at the same old mountains from a slightly new angle. Pray that our lights have battery, and watch the sun slip below the fog line.
I’ll gain some extra pounds, lose the muscle sharpness. Dread the FTP test to kick off winter training. Yet if one thing is certain, it’s that peaks only exist by way of the valleys between them. I will let myself succumb to the infinite cycle of it all, knowing that loosening my habitual grip on form and fitness will give me something to chase with all the more ferocity come Springtime, come a new season.
on seasons and offseasons 8
on seasons and offseasons 9
Life is sharpened into focus by way of contrast, the heavier, the more acute. Hard things make the soft that much softer, suffering, chosen or otherwise, accentuates the good days, joy, pain, sunshine, rain— there’s a Maze and Frankie Beverly track that says it better than I ever could— “they’re both one and the same.”
Based in California, Amity Rockwell is a professional cyclist racing for the Easton Overland team. Instagram: @amityvil
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