back and forth

My two lives. My late night/early mornings life of mad crafty energy, where my fingers itch to create and my mild mannered day life of teaching, biking, tennis and the love of my life!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

I did Cantelow!

I made it up!! I can't believe it. Russell suggested that I write something for the DBC newsletter, so here it is:

First Time Over Cantelow
I didn’t start the day planning to go over Cantelow; no, it’s on my list of things to do later this summer. Later, was the key word.
At Starbucks, there was Russell the ride leader, RAAM Dan, Joe from Woodland, John Whitehead and John #2. As we rolled out of town, we were joined by a few others. Pros always talk how their legs feel…well, mine felt only average. But the miles went quickly, and we were soon at Putah Creek Café, being served coffee, scones, pancakes and other yummy fair on a perfect Saturday morning. Talk of hills came up. Big ones. Local ones. Coastal and Lake ones. I confessed to being a strict ‘flatlander’ and thinking of doing Cantelow, and maybe I’ll ride out and LOOK at Cantelow. John W, never at a loss for words or wit, asked if anyone had a camera, to take one of those touring pictures of me in front of the ‘Cantelow’ sign - and then diabolically suggested that they lead an unsuspecting me up the West side, where you don’t actually ‘see’ the climb, and then after I while, I would be up and over.
A quick peak into the new Winter’s bike shop, and 4 of us head out. Fine, I think. I’ll pretend I’m just on a little country ride, and not heading for the looming hill of my vertigo dreams. Legs still feel average, I should have eaten all my muffin, and shoot, I can’t seem to keep track of the turns we’re taking. On the nth turn, I begin to realize that I have set myself up to go forward anyway, since my innate lack of direction has conspired me to continue after my Cantelow guides. Rats! I try not to think about it. And it’s pretty, riding along the mostly empty roads, and the occasional considerate driver.
We go on, and on. And of course, most of my riding issues tend to be mental, rather than the legs. All I know is that we’re far from home, there’s a hill ahead, and maybe I could always call Nancy Hall’s cell phone number if I have to, to save me from…ah. Cantelow. So this is it.
We turn onto Cantelow, and it’s, well, just fine. Shaded, a gentle rise, a few turns. Maybe I can do this. Ack! A rise! Pant, pant, pedal, pedal, then a flat section to catch my breath. Heck, I’m still moving, and I’m still in my middle gear. RAAM Dan rides along, then says he’s going to ride ahead and come back. He stands on the pedals, and is gone.
So it goes. Up, pant, pant, don’t look up, and pretty soon, I’m at a flatter section. I become aware that I’m the ONLY one panting up this darn thing, and the next moment of awareness comes when I realize my bike won’t shift to the granny gear. WHAT?! I take a bid on Cantelow, and I have no granny gear?! I think of the 8th stage Tour stage happening today, going up a real mountain, and how I’m really a weenie, and surely I can do this in my middle gear at 3mph…
And I do! Until the last incline. I slow down (if that’s possible), my mind goes into a seesaw. Should I walk? Ride? Walk? Ride?…and I tip over, and ‘walk’ wins when my foot hits the asphalt. Dan rolls down, and, the ever consummate roadie, pulls out a tool from his jersey pocket, and fiddles with the adjustment screw. I have a granny gear! Silently, I dub RAAM Dan as my ‘bike angel’ of the day, and he encourages me to get back on for the last turn to the top. I try, and stumble, as the pedal spins easily in the lowest gear, and I have him give me clearance as I push down again, and I’m up! I’m moving! I’m at the top!! Wahoo!!
Next on my list of things to do? Go out and LOOK at Cardiac…


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