12.23.2006,9:30 AM
Mud Dreams
Sleep entombed me last night and this morning like a warm dark sarcophagus. And weird dreams followed suit.

Recently suffering a death in the family and unable to obtain a flight during the Festival of Getmas holiday, sleep has been elusive. That other form of consciousness (although some academics will debate that sleep is a state of unconsciousness) occupying our brains and body for 6-8 hours a day is necessary for healthy function, physically and mentally. Deficiency, or sleep deprivation, can wreck havoc. The nerdy scientist I am will refrain from all the details why and I will suffice to say I've been a carefully controlled exploding mushroom the past few days.

I need to go for a bike ride.

Apparently my subconsciousness, that system of our brain that emits sometimes disjointed images and thoughts during sleep, agreed. I went for a ride in my sleep; I dreamt I was on the bike for a ride. But this was no ordinary ride.

I recall slowly riding Whee in second gear on a secondary road in a forested area. I'm not sure if I knew where I was in my dream but I recall trees on either side of the road, very similar to the high passes in the mountains, and it all felt vaguely familiar. For some reason I can't recall, I decided (more a feeling of a 'need') to navigate a dirt path. It wasn't a road; it was a path, similar to a hiking path or trail made by mountain bikes: it was narrow, very narrow.

The dirt was a brick red color similar to the sandy clay found in the canyon lands. On either side of the trail were cliffs of naked clay, as if the trail were a deep cut in the ground leaving cliffs on both sides. The ground was moist, I recall puddles of water on the road and off road. It may have been after a rain. Mud covered the trail bottom but not very deeply.

I recall sitting on the bike looking at this trail with a driven need to ride on it. Not sure why; remember it was a dream in which, as most dreams, reason is sometimes elusive or just thrown out the window. Examining a large mound in the center of the trail, I was filled with a mixture of apprehension and excitement. Remembering the exhilaration of my one-time airborne jump with the bike (in reality), the excitement of riding over that mound pulled me like a carrot to a rabbit. On the other hand, the apprehension of dumping the bike prevented me from moving forward. All this battled in my head as I sat on the bike in my dream.

I don't know what pushed me forward, but I did it. Sort of. My apprehension foiled the success of navigating the mound; I approached it too slowly and the bike lost forward motion on the top. It started to tip.

Usually when the top-heavy V-strom loses balance, recovery is futile. If I can't regain it upright, I'll quickly stand spread-eagle on the ground, grab the bars and reduce the impact as it completes its fall. Then hopefully pick it up, which is not always successful. This time I was able to save it and keep it upright. On a mound covered with a film of mud?? Don't ask me how; it was a dream, remember?

After carefully backing the bike down the mound, I sat again and analyzed how to circumvent it. I recall feeling disappointed that I did not make it over the mound. And aware it was my own apprehension that prevented it; my speed was too slow.

Gauging the distance between the mound in the center of the trail and the cliffs on either side, I decided there may be enough room to ride around the mound. Carefully. Grabbing the mirrors with both hands, I rotated them inwards. Hoping the hand guards wouldn't be scraped, I started forward in first gear on the side of the mound, my front tire as close to its base as possible. Somehow I made it past the mound with the left handle grip and hand guard scraping the face of the cliff, but not enough to prevent me from moving forward or tipping the bike.

Once beyond the mound, a feeling of relief and accomplishment dissipated the apprehension and disappointment and I rode forward on the narrow trail with confidence. And excitement. I've wanted to ride dirt for some time now and here I was riding it in my dream. Not only riding on dirt, but a narrow as hell trail. And doing just fine.

I either woke up or my brain decided that was enough; I don't recall anything more after that.

I woke this morning with a determination and drive to get on the bike and ride. And so I shall.

And a stronger-than-ever desire for a more dirt-worthy bike. Whee will be relegated to tarmac and the occasional gravel, but Dirty and I will be flinging mud sometime, somewhere.
And not just in my dreams.


posted by Macrobe
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