Having a Guardian Angel at your side helps with these rides, but the same Angel mounted on a Bovine Friend …well that is just …Perfect.
The day started early with sunrise at 4:40AM. I knew there was to be a long ride with a difficult climb so I talked two other riders into leaving early so we could find a diner for a full breakfast.
After watching a beautiful sunrise I packed up my tent and “ other stuff” and the three of us set out to find something good to eat. We were rewarded with my best breakfast so far this trip. Maine hash browns ( not the granite kind), fried eggs, rye toast, sausages pork ( not the bad vibe chitlin kind), butter ( real butter), orange marmalade, and fresh brewed coffee.
As the other riders sped by towards the mountains tops I just waved from my window seat. The other two with me were a bit nervous at any delay but my charming personality and reassuring nature calmed them down. The food helped too…
The one sitting next to me kept bemoaning the aging process which started me wondering…How was I different now, three years later on this same trek?
Soon I would find out.
The mountain tops were calling.
20 miles into the ride we came across a killer hill of 14 degrees. This was the ONLY place I had to walk my bike in the 2015 ride.
At the base of the 1/2 mile climb I stopped, looked up ahead, and said out loud “Not this time”.
Half way up my lungs were about to burst and my leg muscles were
screaming “ STOP!” but on this “Do Over” day I refused to flop. Finally, about ready to pass out I crested the top and looked back in satisfaction at my success.
“ Not today HILL! Not ever again! ” Of course I never plan to try it a third time but why bother to tell the HILL that…
A second time was all I needed…
“Never Look a Trojan Gift Horse in the Mouth” or “Blow Your Chance at a Do Over”…old Italian proverbs my grandfather taught me…
30 miles on I passed a spot in the woods
where I challenged a Bull Moose in my path once during a freezing rain…he wouldn’t move and neither would I…a freezing rain will do that to you…numb common sense…
I stopped, got off my bike, and yelled “ Hey Moose! Another round?”
No answer. I guess he moved on.
As a rushing stream filled the air with musical notes to my left
the country road continued to rise ever so slightly until it ended at a covered bridge.
Crossing over I began the true ascent, 22.5 miles up, at first at 5 degrees but then increasing to 9.
3 hours later I reached the top, faster, and with less stops than before.
As I gazed out over the mountain tops I again wondered at the aging process.
I have heard it often said that children learn faster than adults, have a greater facility for languages, new concepts, athletic skills, etc.
More and more now modern medicine is discovering the elasticity of the human brain. If, as adults, we did not have to work, take care of families, plan for the future…how much more could we do with our brains. I suspect as much as young children…
In addition I suspect that physical health need not decline as rapidly as we think, given continued use of the body.
I sit at the mountain pass of Kancamagus and look out over the valleys to both the East and West. I feel and believe that I am younger than I was three years ago.
With a spring to my step I hop on my bike and head down.
Now…this is an 11 mile descent at 9 degrees. Within 200 yards I am already going 35 mph…coasting!
Suddenly I hear a flapping in the wind just to my side and a friendly weight on my shoulders. I glance to the left, there is Angel using gossamer wings to steer me around hairpin turns, and Flossie, Dear Flossie with an ancor slowing me behind.
For those of you who do not speak cow, it means “ Tell me when to drop the ancor ! ”
So happy to have my two traveling companions in this time of need …I might do something foolish at this breakneck speed…I just smile and know I am in safe hands as I tear down the mountainside. Surrounded by gossamer wings and a grinning cow with ancor in tow what could go wrong?