This week is a fine week for cycling. Bike to Work has kicked off. Nothing gets those creative juices flowing like a fine ride down the trail. I hadn’t hopped on my bike in a long while. Maybe, five years or so. I got scared off it when a friend of mine drove into fishing line one day on the way to work. Someone strung fishing line on the Galloping Goose in Victoria, Canada. Other cyclists had been hurt badly. It used to be a beautiful two-hour ride to work past waterfalls in the forest. This week is a fine week for cycling. Bike to Work has kicked off. Nothing gets those creative juices flowing like a fine ride down the trail. I hadn’t hopped on my bike in a long while. Maybe, five years or so. I got scared off it when a friend of mine drove into fishing line one day on the way to work. Someone strung fishing line on the Galloping Goose in Victoria, Canada. Other cyclists had been hurt badly. It used to be a beautiful two-hour ride to work past waterfalls in the forest.
This is my journey to work on my bicycle.
Monday, May 28
The first part of my trip was a thin dusty trail. Grass spikelets whipped my legs as I blew past. The path widened enough to see the roots of the trees ripple the ground ahead. With the roots behind, the smooth road before me, I let out the breath had I caged, Not so bad, my mind lets me believe. Then, I slipped in a few patches of fine sand as the trail dropped into a steep decline. I pulled on my breaks. My tires unable to grip the rugged trail slid as I turned up onto the bank of shrubs. My pavement tires weren’t meant for the rocks bigger than my fists.
Best walk it. You won’t be able to stop in time… you’ll drive off the cliff over there. My thoughts were no friends of mine. Just then, another cyclist blew by. Took the rocky decline before turning effortlessly onto the trail. I felt like a scared kitty-cat. I walked my bike. Unable to beat the fear.
I breezed through the main path. Memories of all the fun my bike and I used to have together flashed through as I listened to the ocean lick the beach.
There was a small hill at the end of the road rusty me forgot how to gear down. The weight of my lunch, sweeter, and purse pulled me to a stop halfway up. I laughed as I climbed off to push it up the rest of the way. It felt great. Breathless yes, but I couldn’t stop the smile, the random giggles, or the calm of the wind on my face. My tires kissed the pavement and speed me towards our destination. Ah, the rush.
I turned onto the road I had mapped out. All that joy and glee sank down inside to cower in a corner. There seemed to be no end to the twisted hill that stood before me. I wouldn’t make it. There was just no way I could push myself up that hill even without my bike, lunch, and everything else. With no way around it. The sight of sucked on my energy like a carnivore pulling marrow from a bone.
Sweaty, breathless, and exhausted. I pressed up the hill. I tossed away the heavy doubt. Shoved every time my mind reminded me how much weight I decided to bring that day. I took about four breaks. One for water, and the others to attempt to catch my breath.
Finally, the hill leveled out. I mounted my bicycle once again. Work was less than a minute away. When I looked at my watch… only a half hour had passed since I left home. The hill seemed endless.
With an extra half hour, I stopped by the local Starbucks for a hot cup of coffee to relax before braving my job at the daycare.
The way home nearly killed me. Nearly. Not quite one hundred percent. Like ninety eight…yeah, that sounds right.
I thought the hill in the morning was a monster. Told my boss that too. A nasty monster that chews on your lungs as if it were taffy. The claws that dig deep into your heart and squeeze so hard that each heartbeat pulses through your whole body. Hell was that hill.
I was wrong. Horribly wrong.
I love when writers foreshadowing stories. Like tiny hidden puzzle pieces. Cute, adorable, pieces. I hate however…when it happens in real life and involves me cycling up a hill.
After a hard days work. I imagined a nice flat ride home on a different route. I went up a tiny hill that leads me to a nice paved road home. Once I was far enough away from a quick escape… it began. A hill with a delicate incline so subtle that you never noticed in a car. It steepened once and awhile as if the hill enjoyed taking new bites out of my legs before a lengthy chew. All the nasty words I said about the first hill, I took all of it back. That hill was a nice hill. Quick and sweet. Ripped off fast like a band-aid. This one was like listening to the dentist drill into your tooth. My home was at the bottom of the hill. On the other side. All that peddling seemed pointless. The smooth ride down cooled my face as the breath came back to my lungs. It was peace after a hard day. Wonder at the end of a horrible movie.
Have I ever mentioned that sounds make me jumpy? You might know the sound. You squeeze your breaks and it squeals. Not the, you need to change me. The, You’re going to die!
That’s not a nice thing to say to someone when they need you as you plummet down a hill faster and faster. The other break, the jester, gave you a very important lesson when you were younger. Don’t touch it. It looks safe, but pull it wrong and the jokes on you. My second option was to hit the ditch. Blackberry bushes with all their prickly-nastiness seemed a better idea than the pavement. The gooey water could be okay. All the while I touched my rear break wishing for it to work.
Snap. Not normally a good sound while on a bike. Or pop. Both bad sounds. When blended together and the hum of tires follow. No squeal warning me of death. Just the ease of break pads slowing me down to view the ocean.
I can die another day.
Tuesday, May 29
The knowledge of the trail let me predict the what came next. The first drop after the sandy patches seemed less steep. The fist-sized rocks shrunk into small chunks of gravel. I caged the breath in my lungs as I rattled off the drop, across the gravel road, onto the main path. I wondered as I passed the chattery squirrels, the windswept trees, and the ocean’s side, what on Earth made me so terrified? I have an unreasonable fear of pain. I don’t know when it started, or why it started. It grew over time. The slippery slope was only a small accomplishment. And yet, the thrill over left me ecstatic. When I got to the first hill I geared down, leaned in, and conquered that too!
I decided to take a different path. Past the monstrous hill. The new challenge was steeper than the last, but it was short. I could see the finish line. I felt the day was in the bag. Nothing could stop this winning streak.
My tires seemed as if they needed air on the way home so I swung into the gas station for a quick top up. As I tried to slow to a stop…my breaks betrayed me. They squeezed the disk ever so gently. Whatever I did the night before to fix my breaks issue…failed. I had to go down that steep hill with the inability to stop. Thank the stars I decided to get air or I might’ve been typing this from a hospital bed. I didn’t think I’d ever need the tools my mom got for me for Christmas. I kept them in my bag for those just in case, but will never happen, moments. A nice guy asked me if I needed a hand with it. Me being me, I declined. I was going to learn how to fix these things on my own…even though I almost just killed myself by doing just that. Breaks tightened, I took a ride around the mall parking lot. Not the smartest plan. You know. A car pulls out of a spot fast and I can’t stop. Oh well, I survived. They worked…sorta. The sickly squeal made me second guess myself, but I did have the power to stop. And I did stop. I made it down the hill while my bicycle screamed the whole way down. The light at the bottom turned red and I coasted to the line. I made it. I made it.
I think my bike is trying to kill me. This I should think about while I ride tomorrow.
Wicked Soul Ascension
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