I only had a short 2-hour spin on the schedule, and Jason was running a half-marathon in Shawnigan Lake about an hour's ride away, so I thought it was the perfect excuse to get on my bike early. There was not much light and still very much a chill in the air so my teeth were chattering as I started out (one of the drawbacks of living at the top of a hill is that you're guaranteed to be cold when starting a ride and cruising downhill). But I turned towards the river to take the scenic route, and was rewarded for my decision to get going early.
First prize was a massive California sea lion fishing under a bridge. He surfaced with a large salmon in his jaws just as I rode by. Second was a belted kingfisher squawking away, competing for decibels with a nearby Steller's jay. Next came a great blue heron, standing motionless on guard next to a creek. Finally, darting through the brush, scurried a mink.
Jason, on his way to placing second overall in his race, said the only wildlife he saw was the remnants of a Halloween party still going from the night before. The stillness and the subtleties are things you don't notice when you're hammering away. But they make a perfect backdrop to an easy recovery spin on a crisp fall morning.