I don’t know why I never looked further up the road, I suspect it was a simple intersection that nothing more than a glace to the right and left and back on to the comfort of the crushed limestone trail. On this particular day I looked to the left and my eyes fell upon it. Like a sickeningly grotesque Leviathan rising from the murky depths the muddy and battered road ascended into the trees at a nausea inducing pitch. I actually had to crane my neck towards the heavens in order to see the summit of this beast. A voice from the woods whispered “go” and I shivered, standing in the wind driven rain. The voice came again slightly softer than the first and drew out the word “goooo” I looked down the trail, that long comfortable trail…level, safe, clean. The limestone trail is the easy way, the giant hill to my left is the hard way. I turn toward the left, adjust my gears, tighten the wrist straps on my gloves, and unzip my jacket. I stop before I get to the foot of the monster, retrieve the Ipod out of my pocket and roll my thumb across the wheel looking for just such a soundtrack for the misery I am no doubt going to face. I find it, the sweet melodic tunes of Slayer…. surely talk of hell and Satan will get me to the top.
I mount once again and I glance down at the bike and at my feet and at my legs…all covered in a thick layer of mud. I start the climb and quickly have to grab for a lower gear, and another, and more yet. I focus on my front tire and the thin spray of water and mud projecting off of it. I grab for another low gear and realize there is not one any lower than the one I am in. One thought crosses my mind, pain which is quickly followed by numb. I abandon any semblance of controlled breathing and cling to gasping desperation. I am moving so slow I fell like I am going to roll backward down this monster, I glance down at my bottle lusting after its contents. Just a few more pedal strokes and this victory will be mine. And then the road levels, I pedal on slowly climbing the gears and give a final glace back at the conquered foe.
I had to drop of the Tri-Cross today for its (severely late) 15 ride check up. In all honesty I could blame the entire month of October for all of its craptastic glory. You remember my October right? I thought you would, being the astute readers that you are. So I wheel her in and am immediately overcome with a sudden panic that I will have to leave the care of this bike in the hands of someone else. What if someone robs the shop? What if they accidentally give the bike to the wrong person? What if…What if…What if. Its nearly to much to think about. Then Jeff steps in, takes the bike from me and wheels it up to the counter. Wherein he bombards me with the busy upcoming schedule of events going on in, near, and around the shop. One…ok Two items catch my attention first is the New Years Day ride which starts at noon and in Michigan you are pretty much guaranteed mucho snow and sub zero temps. I am down with that FO SHO! The second is a Basic Maintenance class offered at the shop. Now given my propensity to break things and my further propensity to try to fix things that I clearly know I can’t further breaking things…I am signing up for the class. A wise shop owner would try to chase me away from such a class given the fact it will no doubt have an impact on his sales. Here is the formula: Gene tries to fix $10.00 bike part + Gene gets mad and breaks the $50.00 part attached to the $10.00 part + Gene also breaks the tool he was using to fix the $10.00 part = Gene has to go to bike shop and purchase new $10.00 part, $50.00 part and new tool. See how it works?
Still struggling through “The Ultimate Ride” ….of course I used this book to further my Kindle request telling my wife I could have understood this book infinitely better had I read it using a Kindle. Pretty sure she saw right through that one though.