Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Climb Every Mountain, Stop Every Insidious Inner Voice

There are so, so many topics I could write about this early evening. Another rainstorm blowing through the South Valley with comcomitant sewer problems, another volley of Israeli airstrikes and 10,000 troops posed to grab as much Lebanon as possible before a "cease-fire", another day of carnage in Iraq (oh, I already wrote a little snippet about that), another stupid bill by Senator Ted "Incredible Hulk" Stevens (AK).

Update Interjection 11:20 P.M.: Or I could have screamed "The Test Scores Are Here! The Test Scores Are Here" and starting ranting about sample sizes, "Adequate Yearly Progress" and other rant-worthy topics ad nauseam. I'll save that for tomorrow, if I can keep from throwing the keyboard through a window in overwhelming righteous rage.

So naturally I'm now instead going to write about my bike ride tomorrow. After years of just thinking, talking and boasting about doing it, tomorrow morning I'm gonna bike climb those 14 or so miles from South 14 to the top of Sandia Crest. Now, I wrote it and "published" it, so I am obligated to do it.

My bike at the edge of the tent city, Buffalo HS, Buffalo, Wyoming

A few weeks back, as those ridiculously few regular Babble readers will remember, I participated in the "Tour de Wyoming", a six-day, 350 mile ride through the Big Horn mountains. By "participate" I mean to say I started the Tour. I did not finish. I will tell you that the reason I did not finish had nothing to do with the fact the Tour featured a claimed 27,000 feet of climbing over the six days. Really, it wasn't the climbing. In fact, I did what was probably the hardest day (okay, I cheated and "sagged" the last eight miles of climb), and could have done more. Really. Honest.

No, I quit the Tour because you would show up exhausted from a half day of riding (to beat the 95 degree Wyoming heat), then be stuck in a tent right next to other tents throughout a 95 degree day, sleep fitfully in an only slow-to-cool-at-all evening, then pick it back up at 5:30 A.M. again. The worst part was the afternoon, spent trying to read a book in a tent registering 107 degrees (actual recorded temperature on two different occasions). The temperature combined with the fact you were three feet away from another tent, and another, and another colorfully splashed across a podunk high school campus didn't help, either. Some people are into such crowds. As for me, it felt as close to being a Hurricane Katrina refugee as I want to get.

So no, it wasn't the 27,000 feet of climbing. Really.

About two-thirds up Powder River Pass, Wyoming

Still, a gnawing part of me feels I'm about 20,000 feet of climbing short. You know, the gnawing part of one's self in which things like wimping out well before the end of something take up far too much of one's brain activity. The part that can quick-as-a-wink mentally respond to future situations with the rejoinder that "you didn't finish the Tour de Wyoming". For example:

Scot's Brain: Damn! I forgot to get cat litter at the store!
Insidious Other Part of Scot's Brain: You know why you forgot? Because you didn't finish the Tour de Wyoming!

Trust me, the above scenario has in the last two weeks played out in situations as diverse as cutting myself shaving, overly raising my voice to my wife, and the cat barfing on the futon. Yes, the cat would not have barfed if only I had finished the Tour de Wyoming...

So, in order to quell the insidious other part of my brain I am finally going to do the climb to Sandia Peak. No, I am not doing it from my house in the South Valley. Don't ask me that question again. I will drive to that bagel store that's been closed for years at the South 14 turnoff, then skadaddle past Tinkertown and several "autotour" signs (which I have never figured out the meaning of), and hopefully past the ski area and right up to the base of the radio/TV towers.

Hopefully, as in if I don't the insidious other part of my brain will be unrelenting. I actually attempted this climb a week or so ago, hauling the bike up to the eternally closed bagel shop only to find out I had a slow leak in my back tire. Not being inclined to change a flat, especially at the start of such a karmically altering ride, me and the insidious other part of my brain loudly cursed in unison and I drove crestfallen back to town. Get it? "Crestfallen". Okay, that was unnecessary.

But tomorrow is the day. Tomorrow I will not have a flat and I will zoom past Tinkertown and struggle past the other aforementioned sites and signs and make it to the top. The very top, no Sag wagon needed. I will then zoom down the mountain freed from that insidious other part of my brain for about as long as it takes before I do something else which makes me feel somehow inadequate or incomplete.

I'm guessing that feeling will return sometime before I get back down to Tinkertown, but considering that I'll be going 40 MPH downhill, those 8 minutes or so of insidious-free brain time is gonna be marvelous.

No comments: