Saturday, April 7, 2012

The hard direction

Full-strength wool arm and leg warmers do their job. Like, 40 degrees up here on Skyline. Sunny and blustery!

To get here, Page Mill. Yes, UP Page Mill. Why? An excellent question for today. Why ruin the memory of Monday's downhill run of joy with....

A helpful sign about one mile up from Moody.

When all is said and done, about 10 miles of climbing. And the hard way, through Moody Canyon?

Olive trees, Hidden Villa

Spring greenery and winter moss
This week has been busy ramping up for the trip. Monday is the first day of the pre-ride to Santa Monica. Monday is around the corner.

Mending my favorite sweater for bike tours. Rounding out the toolkit. Ordering a couple of jerseys that can take a beating. Finding little bottles for concentrated soap. Tasks upon tasks, building to a chaotic crescendo.

At the heart of the chaos, fear. We never really know what's in store, and most things about the trip are beyond my control. Weather. Bad drivers. Whether I feel strong and healthy on any given day. Mechanical issues. The preparations just bring the weakness into focus. Lurking silently, the accident and head injury, Exhibit A and Exhibit B. Sure, there will be plenty of hair conditioner but what's the plan for worst-case scenario...?

Also, the pre-ride to Santa Monica is optional and it's going to be hard. I'll be riding alone, for the most part. I'm starting to think it was not the best idea. I'm starting to get some humility.

In the beginning, Page Mill kicked my butt until I got fitter and learned respect. On hot summer days, I also learned to pick a different way up to Skyline. Climbing exposed sections of 17% in direct sun made me long for the shade of Kings, Old La Honda, and Highway 9.

At a party last weekend, Kim gave me a look that said 'no big deal!' about my trip. She meant, I'm always challenging myself on a bicycle. I've got skills and experience. All true. At the same party Tanya said she'd been off her bike for 3 weeks and that's all it took to get back to square one. Hill climbing off the table. We are all experts and beginners at everything, every day. Page Mill is the teacher.

I still remember how it feels to be unprepared, to get my butt kicked, to not be ready. It's with me all the time and I'm always working against it. The current situation calls for finding whatever I'm avoiding and plunging right in. Doing the scariest, most difficult project around. 

Ride toward the light...
Today after passing this test, my heart feels glad and light on the windy ridge. It's the calm center. I am capable. I can go further.

1 comment :

  1. Reading this from my office chair on an overcast, starting to drizzle day, I am impressed anew at your accomplishments. :) (I don't know that I'll be inspired to go up Page Mill anytime soon, though... I need smaller chunks of daunting to start!)
    Sometimes, it really is just you and the hill/road and the bike. I'm learning that those are good times, too.
    I'm looking forward to reading through the next few weeks of posts! You can do it!