So I got last-minute clearance to ride Wilderness tonight, and went out there all by my lonesome in the dark. After seeing Bonsall and a bunch of guys on the first bridge, I headed out to the part of the trail that I call "ass width trail." It's a section of trail in the prairie just before the 14th street parking lot -- right by the cedar tree that one side is basically gone to give clearance for the trail to pass at close range... anyway, I stopped there and took a break. Leaned my bike against the cedar tree even (see pic).
After about 10 minutes or so, I got up to get going. I plugged my light back into the battery, pulled my pack over my shoulders and spun the bike around 180 degrees to head back to civilization. So far, so good, but when I got on my bike and tried to pedal away, I just stayed put. I pushed on the pedal, but nothing happened -- it was like someone was holding onto my seat. At that point, I turned around and looked directly behind me. The HID light on my helmet illuminated the area behind me clearly, showing noone but myself, but you know that feeling you get when you know you're not alone? Well, I got that feeling (along with a super layer of goose bumps) right then.
I turned back around and took off without incident the second time, but by this point, you could easily say I was scared shitless. I flew back through the park to the tracks and went in there, relieved to be out, but still amazed, awed and curious about what I had just experienced.
Perhaps not ironically, earlier today I had actually consciously wondered if our friend Tony Naikelis' spirit was anywhere near. Maybe that thought put the call out to Tony, and he gave me that little scare to mess with me a little -- or maybe just to tell me he's here. Who knows? All I know is that it felt very real, and that being alone out there, in the dark, and having that happen... well, let's just say that true fear is an emotion that's hard to rationalize.
... and it's not even Halloween yet.