Larry had been kind enough to lend me one of his lighting systems - which is a huge upgrade over the LED Petzl Tikka light I had duct-taped to my helmet. We had done a night ride in Caledonia last Tuesday with John Heisler and a couple of his friends but that was at a balmy 28 degrees, closer to civilization, and with a larger group. Two of us, here, at 9 degrees was a different story. As we got prepared for the ride, we both commented that mechanicals would be a bad thing; getting lost, worse; and an injury, well we would be like that man and his dog in Jack London's To Build A Fire which is to say: Totally Fooked.
After the second flat was repaired and my foot had thawed out a bit, we got back into the flow and had a great time finishing up Camp Trail. Larry rippin it up single speed style. We poked around a couple of more places, the Camp Trail Extension, rode a big rock, and then we spun back up the car on fire roads. In all, over two hours outside in single digit temperatures without windchill cutting fresh tracks on trails.
Our training program calls for very specific recovery drinks: lucky for us they were still in a liquid state.
As we were driving home I thought of that mummified man they found in the Tyrolean Alps back in 1991, Otzi. In 3300 BC he had wandered up to a pass and froze to death. Today, through the use of modern science and creative imagination, folks have written books about his life, his final days, where he lived, what was doing there, what he ate for his last meal. These books and stories are largely based on an analysis of the contents of his stomach and the few artifacts he had with him. Had Larry and I not fared so well, what would they write about us in 5000 years? Sure, the athletic musculature aside, they would assume we lived on fermented grain juice, were out on a winter hunt, poaching on our metal machines - and they would be correct.
Time goes by but so little changes.