Oakwood owl querying
Pilgrims at the journey gate,
Whooo will pass this night?

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.

2 comments:

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.