Monday, May 8, 2017

Giro D'Big Mountain

This past Sunday found me all too aware of being at least 10 pounds over the weight I would like to be
so many days after the start the cycling season ever. I was climbing up “Big Mountain” pass after just having shot down the southern/eastern side of “Little Mountain” pass. I was willing myself to relax as I subconsciously tensed up in preparation for yet more uphill road. The gates down at Little Dell reservoir were still closed, and half the cyclists west of the Mississippi were taking advantage of this wonderful day to wheeze up this hill.

The Mormon pioneers had come down this way in the summer of 1847. The official LDS church history website describes big mountain pass (1,279 miles from Nauvoo) as: “really just a hill among the surrounding Wasatch mountain peaks, was nevertheless, at 8,400 feet, the highest elevation of the entire Mormon Trail.” Big Mountain pass would be the highest point of my cycling trip on Sunday as I would turn around at the Morgan county line, and head back down towards the State Capitol and my starting place.

I was still about a mile or so shy of slowing to an unsteady four miles an hour when I heard a spirited conversation coming up behind me. Loud and relaxed enough to hear over my wheezing it sounded as if one of the conversants may have had an English accent. They whipped past me as if I was standing still (I almost was) and disappeared up around a bend in the road.

One of the cyclists was at least the second person I had seen in full Team Sky kit, and like the other was riding a black Pinarello that might have been one of the hugely expensive ($13k) 2017 F10 Dogmas like those that another squad from Team Sky is racing in the 100th edition of the Giro D’Italia right now.

While I was climbing on Sunday, Fernando Gaviria (a Columbian sprinter on the Quick-Step Floors team) would battle severe crosswinds to take the flat coastal stage 3 (and get the pink jersey) that ended in the capitol of Sardinia. Tuesday sees the first big climb of the Giro as the race will finish on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily. There are informed hunches pronouncing that Gerent Thomas of Team Sky may pull on the pink leader's jersey after that stage.

If I was dusted by actual members of Team Sky they were probably the squad getting ready for the Amgen Tour of California that starts in Sacramento on 14 May this year.

 I pulled over to stretch to keep from losing the battle with the tension in my legs, and my riding companion shot past me. I was momentarily distracted by the almost erotic power her spandex coated thighs were delivering to the pedals, and I decided that the rhythmic swaying of her rear on the seat of her carbon fiber bike would pull me up the mountain in her wake. Unfortunately she was just a little too far up ahead after I climbed back on my bike and began to chase. I huddled into my pain cave and never got to within 50 meters of her before we hit the top of the pass.

Big Mountain Pass looking west

On the way down every ounce of excess personal mass turned into speed. I went way too fast, and the bike shuddered from braking as I approached each corner in the road.

"The descent down the big mountain (as it is called) is very steep, a regular jumping off place, worse than Ash Hollow.” -- William Clayton’s Journal description of the Mormon pioneers traveling down from Big Mountain pass in 1847.

A year ago on Saturday I was battling rain-tinged headwinds on a metric century called “The Front-Runner Century”, and complaining to myself that I was a little too heavy for where I wanted to be
so many days after the start of cycling season ever. I also had a very different view of what I wanted my life to be like.

One year, and things are exactly the same only completely different.


Anonymous said...

Loved your description of your cycling event. As one whose "weight-to-horsepower" ratio is way out of whack, and also being heavier....than ever, I had to laugh. I enjoyed this past weekend's Front Runner Century, which was PERFECT! Great temperature and a good tailwind all the way.

Love your blog, and wish that I could find a way to make my way out of the church without getting divorced. It's tough being a pretty much full-on atheist married to a woman who I believe would leave if she knew. So I am able to go to church and just hang in there for 3 hours in order not to screw up 37 years. Some may think that I'm not being fully true to myself, but even if I left, I am still Mormon by long heritage and culture. It's not too bad, I have been able to approach Mormonism now from my own perspective and enjoy the many good people that are in.

Keep on cruisin'

adult onset atheist said...

Thanks for the words of encouragement. I know why I write stuff, but it is the rare feedback like yours that reminds me of why I post it up on the blog.

I know that after 37 years of marriage that you must have many ways of communicating with your spouse; many of which are probably not under your conscious control. I was married for over 20 years, and differences in religious attitudes did help bring it down, but the real killer was the dishonesty. The divorce was a great thing for me and my two daughters as it allowed a more honest and vibrant life. You make it sound like it is entirely plausible that your spouse thinks she is “saving” you from your atheist thoughts by having you go to church, and you think you are “gifting” your spouse with your compliance with their religious attitude. In other words you are deadlocked by the fact that you love each other. Why not pull that love out into the light and let it grow. You do not have to abandon the impasse in order to reap greater benefit from honesty and open expressions of love.

Good luck.