On a Ride


You’re on your bike; not your bike because yours is broken, so you’re riding a loaner that happens to fit and have the right pedals. You’re climbing a mountain; the grade is constant and not steep but never ending. Each switchback reveals another switchback, and you just want to take a break.

It’s quiet, except for a few cars, but so hot that your mind is pleading stop at every pedal stroke. Sweat is pouring off everywhere, nothing dry to wipe your face. You’re very steady, too high a cadence and your heart is racing, too low and your legs are burning. It’s monotonous.

You feel like you’re in the Tour, trying to catch the next rider or make the break. You’re alone, too fast for those behind and too slow for those ahead. No mans land. You just want to see the end; no more switchbacks, please. Finally, another rider. You pass, ever so slowly and say hello, then move on.

How long has it been? You’ve been climbing forever, does this ever stop?

The road levels out, is this the top? It is! You see your cohorts gathered and you rest awhile, then head down the other side of the mountain.

You’re second wheel, following someone who knows these roads and end up way ahead of the others. You feel like Cancellara, descending like a pro, picking the right line, trusting the bike, looking ahead. Pedal fast on the straights, brake before the turn, don’t brake during it. Cut across the lane on the exit and keep your speed. Pedal fast again to stay on the wheel. Hairpin turn means slowing way down, looking for the exit and getting out of the saddle to accelerate. Remember to trust the bike, you can lean in further. A wide bend, high-speed and that’s it, you’re at the bottom, time for a snack.

After you eat, turn around and do it again.

- Ashley

  • http://www.reasons2ride.com/ Joel Phillips

    Disc breaks, front suspension, downhill, no breaks, lean into the turns, the bike is an extension of your being now. White knuckles, tense head and neck, wind is rushing past adding to the intensity and sheer awesomeness of the moment. I was once asked what’s the payoff for enduring a 41-mile climb in the Rocky Mountains…”Easy”, I replied, the 17-mile faster than you thought you’d ever go on a bicycle decent down the other side!

    I love it Ashley!!!

    • http://aerochick.com/ Ashley

      Thanks Joel!