as the car saga is entering day 22, news appears on the horizon. they say it’s ready. i thought about going right on over to pick it up, but didn’t. here’s why:
since i am unemployed, i have a lot of free time. so today, after i finished follow-up phone calls with the latest twelve victims of my resume (all unproductive), i took my bike out and went exploring. what i had in mind was about twelve or fifteen miles, tooling around the lower reaches of two canyons that go up from boulder.
so i started riding uphill. it was twenty minutes past one, i had a full bottle of water, and life was pretty much grand. the hill was steep but manageable and i was riding hard. then when i was just about ready to stop riding uphill, it became more steep and a bit less manageable. it was steep enough that they had to have switchbacks, and it was pretty intense, especially for an outofshaper like myself, but the views were great and i knew i would be cutting across to boulder canyon road and going back downhill into town.
at two oclock two things happened simultaneously: i ran out of water and the pavement ended. pavement, you know, can only stick to roads up to a certain steepness. those short stretches of 20+ percent grade that you see at mount washington and all, well i can’t explain them but they are short and they don’t count. in any case i was pretty darned tired by the time i got to this bit. and it was all stutter bumps, the kind cars make when they brake hard on dirt roads, and the kind that are just death to ride over. but i was not about to give up, not when i was this close to the turnoff to boulder canyon and a nice, sedate, paved downhill! no, there would be no walking today. i did finally give in to the urge to ride on the left side of the road where the dirt was a little less loose and my back tire didn’t spin out so much. and i kept riding uphill.
at two thirty i began to feel quite parched. my tongue, which had been sticking to the roof of my mouth on account of the dry air, started sticking pretty far back in my throat. it felt like it was swelling up but i was probably imagining it. i mean, tongues don’t swell up, right? anyways i KNEW i was coming to that turnoff soon, i must have read the map wrong. and then, at three, i knew something was terribly wrong when i rode through a town with eleven buildings and was chased by four dogs. dog sprints, and i knew i still had strength. but not much. that took a lot out. by now i was weaving all over the road, turning over my smallest gear at a pitifully low cadence, but comforted by the thought that i wasn’t carrying any extra weight in my water bottle. finally, at twenty past three, after i had been riding uphill basically maxed out for two solid hours, i reached the (paved!) road that runs between nederland and ward.
downhill into ward i came across a guy who claimed knowledge of a spring just up the road. we stopped there and i drank two bottles full of water and filled up again before we left, for a glorious twisting paved descent almost all the way back in to town. there was still the matter of a mile long climb to deal with but i didn’t have to walk.
the only positive thing about this afternoon from a fitness (and, admittedly, style) perspective is that i never got off to walk, and i never stopped in the middle of a climb. all other rules were flagrantly violated. but that’s my day in a (large) nutshell. my hour of exploring on my bike took me three and a half hours and over 4000 feet of climbing in my first bike ride in five weeks.
the views, though, the views were fabulous.