Saturday, April 25, 2009

Taking the Risk

If you're not careful, maps will trick you. This looked like a nice ride, gently uphill on the west branch, then north and pick up the road on the east branch coming back down. An honest disclosure: I am old (63 11/12ths) and I am heavy (fat). This is not usually an issue on flat ground. I am not as fast as I once was, but I can chug along for as long as I need to. Back to the map - I should have really looked at those pretty squiggly contour lines more closer. They contained a story and a lesson for the old man.
"Travel at Your Own Risk" read the sign. I was warned. It was a 90 degree day with no tree shade yet. The road was a little rough, with crushed rock over hard pan. I was continually fighting the ass-end squirreling around, as I pedaled hard up the undulating hill. It is the first time I've ever turned a pedal in anger with this bike, riding the small ring and biggest clog. Psychologically, I always like to keep at least one gear open in case of emergency. This was it. The emergency. With my mouth open, sucking wind and slobber dripping from my chin I eventually fought myself to the top of the bluff. The ride north on the flat was easier and I had a chance to catch my breath before picking up the east branch for the ride down. That was a little edgy too, too much braking on the loose surface and I would slide sideways, too little and the increasing speed could kill me. I braked when I could and rolled when I had too. When I got to the bottom I got off the bike and wheeled it across the pavement. I sat down on the bank of the Root and watched an Amish kid fishing for trout for about fifteen or twenty minutes, as I ate a bar and recovered. Maybe I'll take another crack at it later in the season when I'm a little younger.


reverend dick said...

Riding at the edge of danger is a Good Time. I hope you had the opportunity for a little taste for your face while recovering.

You do have a flask on that bike?

Gunnar Berg said...

I do, but it was probably empty. Water was tasting pretty good about that time. I rode another 10 miles of flat riding after I recovered. Flask tapping is not a good thing for me when I'm still riding.