Sunday, July 15, 2007

Ascending (Triple Bypass, Part I)

Loveland Pass IV
(Loveland Pass View)

Nearly everyone wants to be on top of the world, right? But being there never happens if one waits to be taken. You have to work. You have to plan. You have to climb.

And the climbing starts long before that particular day when you are on top of the world. It starts long before, maybe when you go on that first "grownup" bike ride and swear that you might never ride again because of the pain. Or when you fall over with your new fancy clipped in pedals. There are lots of bikes gathering dust in lots of garages after things like that. But you want to be on top of the world. So, you climb.

Now, don't get me wrong. The people who travel with you and who inspire you along the way are key.

Bolder and Roman II
(Bolder, Trishannon and Roman at Georgetown)

The people who bike with us and the people who cheer for us are one of the things that keep us moving forward.

Trishannon and Greyhound
(Trishannon and Greyhound, courtesy of Bolder)

(Bolder and Greyhound stop to see Triamam and the Tribe cheering, courtesy of Stronger)

But in the end, it is you. No amount of cheering and cameraderie is going to make you ascend. You have to turn the pedals, one stroke at a time. You have to climb.

Greyhound Ascends
(Greyhound ascending, courtesy of Bolder)

And when you do that, there will be periods of time, sometimes long periods of time, when you are alone with you thoughts. It almost doesn't matter whether you are riding in a group or not. Eventually, you will be hearing the sound of your own heart beating and your own breathing, and you are all alone.

At times like that, there are choices to be made. Whose voice will fill your head? Whose baggage will you carry on your back? What's the use in dropping cash on ultra-light carbon bottle cages to shave a few grams if you're going to carry baggage on your ascent. Carry only the essentials--you, your equipment, your training . . .

And don't forget: love and confidence are weightless. In fact, they are lighter than air.

Along the way, you'll reach some summits that are beautiful to behold.

Juniper Pass View III
(Juniper Pass View)

But these are only way stations. Don't miss them, and don't forget to enjoy the view; but, if you have a destination, don't be satisfied by false summits or even by real ones. You can't stay here.

You'll know the real ascent when you get there. If you look at it, the switchbacks and the grades will threaten to rob the confidence right out of you.

Loveland Pass III
(Loveland Pass Climb)

Loveland Pass VI
(Loveland Pass Climb)

But if your goal is to be on top of the world, did you expect the road not to be steep.

This can be done. Everyone who tries this has to turn the pedals hundreds of times to get to the top. Why not you? Every goal has an obstacle, and the better the goal, the bigger the climb. The obstacle is not going anywhere. You might as well just go.

What awaits . . . is the top.

Loveland Pass II
(Loveland Pass View)

Bolder on Loveland Pass
(Bolder atop Loveland Pass)

Loveland Pass I
(Greyhound and Bolder atop Loveland Pass)


Spokane Al said...

Terrific words on a ride and life. I'll be looking forward to the next chapter.

stronger said...

Beautiful. Thanks Greyhound. This is the last thing I am going to read for the day- it has me in tears. It is perfect.

Shelley said...

It's gods country out there, you are so lucky to have experienced something like this that most people will never have the chance to experience..congrats!!

21stCenturyMom said...

Truer words were never spoken. We can pick the voice that fills our head in the alone times and it can be the mean voice (I'm never going to make it... my legs hurt) or the cheerleader (I'm doing this! I'm strong!) It's always good to remember to pick the right voice.

Nice ride you took - you and your Iron legs.

Andra Sue said...

Gorgeous pics and very thoughtful post. Thanks for sharing. Bring some of that cool mountain air back to Texas, wouldya? :-)

Jane said...

Damn, you're a good writer...
I totally agree with you - I love thinking to myself while riding my bike. As usual, jaw-dropping gorgeous photos. Love that ACDC jersey - hey, are you trying to pose like a rock star in that last pic?

mishele k said...

God I love that jersey.

Sarah said...

Amazing, just amazing.

TriShannon said...

What an amazing post!

So great meeting you. See you in WI.

TriBoomer said...

"And don't forget: love and confidence are weightless. In fact, they are lighter than air."

Like I've told you before, dawg, you have a gift and use it well.

Stay tuned...

Steve S. said...

WHAT GREAT PHOTOS!! And what an amazing ride!

Nytro said...

congrats, dude. well done.

Lance Notstrong said...

Awesome ride Greyhound. Great post :-)

Spence said...

Amazing post, GH. It's SO beautiful out there. I've skied at Loveland and the pictures just don't do it justice. Nice job on a TOUGH ride!

Fe-lady said...

I HAVE just gotta do this someday....I hear the mountains calling me now...(The hills are alive with the sound of....wheels spinning...!)
Thanks for the photo documentary! (good text too!)