We have all heard of the “golden hour.” The period of time at sunrise and sunset when the soft light of a still obscured Sun lends itself to painting, photography, and other visual arts. It washes away flaws and bathes us in beauty.
Doing a bit of bicycle commuting through the golden hour is one of the great prizes awarded the cyclist who is fighting against the cold, and the long indoor roller rides that fall and winter bring in Utah. These rides expose the fortitude and strength of character needed to engage in bicycle mounted combat the next spring. They wash away the flaws that a year of hard sprints and pushing ourselves to the edge have created. And they open us to the beauty of the world that surrounds us.
As we pedal south through the Salt Lake Valley, it becomes clear that there is another moment of great beauty that exceeds even the golden hour that contains it. There is a moment before the Sun crests the mountains, where it’s golden light floods the canyons. Dark mountains stretch before our vision with golden canyons punctuating their rhythm. Much like the supreme hope that drives us forward in a breakaway, the moment is fleeting, but it’s beauty is exquisite.
Cars rush past, never looking to their left to see it. But we who ride, look to the East, and watch as the Sun explodes through the barricade of the mountains. In that sublime moment our stroke smooths, our heart leaps with joy, and our soul drives us forward seeking to express through the perfection of our form the beauty of the world around us.