Sunday, March 30, 2014

Passing through

Where Altamont meets Page Mill, a cyclist is heading up the climb. I put a foot down for a moment, watching him, deciding what to do.

I left home with a vague plan that usually ends up as a couple of smaller hills on the way to the well-worn Loop ride, through Portola Valley and Woodside. Then homeward, along Foothill Expressway and the edge of Stanford campus. Could do it in my sleep.

Don't know why but couldn't launch myself out of the house. Left at 3, without much time for a real ride. Despite totally needing a real ride.

I'm watching this guy, slowly realizing I'm going to turn left instead of right. Something is choosing me more than the other way around. Six-and-a-half miles to the top of the ridge.

Page Mill is my nemesis. I love Montebello which is technically equivalent, before you get to the dirt (with dirt Montebello is harder). So the struggle is mental, pure and simple.

Page Mill has nice views but a lot of steep bits and goes on way longer than you think possible. It seems to take the hardest and longest way, for no apparent reason. Suffering for its own sake.

As a new cyclist it was the climb I could not do. Until I could...

Geographically it may be the nearest route to Skyline, but usually I pick another way. Those layers of resistance, collected over time. The memories of hardship, of cruel surprises as you round the switchbacks, of pushing on sustained pitches in the hot sun, they have stayed with me. Washing that stuff away should be easy but somehow it's hard.

Tomorrow's the first day of a new job. Most of which is unknown. What I do know is, it's important to shed some of those ugly layers, not carry them around. It's important not to lead with fear.

This has to happen. Let's survive the new thing.

Empty out the thoughts. Spend an hour pushing the pedals, over and over, deliberately. Facing one challenge after another.

Near the top, while crossing the San Andreas Fault, remembering suddenly that destruction and creation are actually the same thing. And we are not meant to struggle against either one, just pass through.