Who climbs with toil, wheresoe’er
Shall find wings waiting there —Henry Charles Beeching, ‘Going down Hill on a Bicycle, A Boy’s Song’
I think my left knee hurts too much. Besides, I want Pantani like wings for going up, not the more pedestrian wings we all find coming down. I climb because I must. 3500ft worth today. Why must I? Because it makes me stronger, and saws off my delusions. It gives me time to think until just going uphill is all there is…
I can’t or won’t push my knee hard enough to find my mental limits. I have other responsibilities. And If I go too far, they will be impacted. So I spin and then stand and well, I wouldn’t call it dance, but whatever. I do what I can. And if the steep pitches aren’t too long (there were several 15% or more grades today, short enough for me to conquer them) I can push over the top and feel the miles—the small successes that make up eventual victory. The hills may not yet be mine, but one day… I’ll find my wings.
Overall things went well today but because of busted water fountain I ran out of water again. This is beginning to form a pattern that I’m not enjoying, nor is Lisa despite her lack of complaining. I caught her at a less than stellar moment today, and so climbed two more hills before trying again and finding a better moment for a rescue. The inactive fountain formed part 1, part 2 was the day being more hotterer and more humider than forecasted (Why do I trust them at all?) Between the two… things got ugly again as I became more and more dehydrated. The one person I saw who might have been able to provide some water had a small toddler in tow. She had just coaxed her little one down three large stone steps, was carrying the 19 bags Mom’s seem to carry at that point in a child’s development and despite my growing certainty about my hydration did not have the heart to ask her to grab her kid and reverse the walk down the stairs, all those bags, ugh. Couldn’t do it. It sure makes for a slow trip home though.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with a climb that takes me to this:
I start at about 600ft, drop down all the way to the river and then climb up a shade over 1300ft and then back. The “down to go up” thing can be heartbreaking at times. But it is always achingly beautiful. Sadly, there are cool looking trails that have been closed for a long time that would be fun to bike. (And might eliminate some of the pointless ups and downs.)
I climb with toil, there is no doubt. Allez! (37miles, 3500ft of climbing, one less bottle of water than needed (maybe two)).