Bicycling up Mont Ventoux was the most physically challenging thing I have ever done. Each kilometer was a small battle where I fought gravity. Each battle I came out victorious brought me closer to the clouds. Climbing to the top I slowly began to loose myself, as if my muscles were dying in the war that was waging in my body. One by one, group by group, I was passed by cyclists with their high tech 16 lbs. bicycles. Straining around every corner, the battle raged on. 10 kilometers in and it was already equivalent to cycling up Wolf Creek Pass and I was still left with 11 more kilometers to go. My body ached and the numbness in my legs made them feel like I was bicycling through cement. I kept on.
Near the top, maybe the last 7 kilometers all I could think about was stopping and recovering. I knew if I had done that, it would be even worse to summit. Thoughts of eating spoonfuls of Nutella kept crossing my mind as I passed all the nutrient dense cycle-energy-bar-supplement-goos littered on the roadside. Yet, I had to reach the top, so I pushed on. I went for 16 kilometers in gears 1-2 making sure to save 1-1 for when it got too hard. 3 miles left and I found myself in 1-1, the battle raged on.
Little things kept me going along the way. Sheer stupidity. Passing cyclists telling me I was crazy as they ventured forth at speeds unreachable to me. The first views of the snow capped Alps. All the random people that gave me crazy looks of awe as I inched my way up.
There! The summit was atop 4 more switchbacks and I had only 2 miles left! My breathing ragged and my heart pounded my veins with blood. The beat pulsing in my head as sweat dripped from my hair. The last turn came and I knew I had made it. I got a small amount of clapping from some cyclists at the top, the ones that passed me and were still up there. It felt good. My legs were numb and the climb was so hard an old wound on my right leg opened up and was bleeding even though I hadn’t hit it on anything, my blood was just pumping that hard. I felt accomplished and both literally and figuratively that my head was in the clouds. I was on top of a mountain and felt like I was 5170 feet tall.
Ignorance is powerful in the sense that it pushes me toward knowledge. I now know what a pain 5,100 feet in 12 miles on a bike is and know that it will be awhile before I try something so eager again like that. That was by far the hardest day of cycling I have ever had. In total I went a little more than 32 miles or 54 kilometers and gained 2,300 meters or 7,500 feet. What knowledge have I gained? Well, I haven’t found a limit yet so next time I know I can go bigger.
I want to say thanks to my Mother because its mothers day. You made me who I am. I love you, mom. Also, a big thanks to all other moms out there, keep momming. Cheers to my Aunt Marilyn as she just did the Walk to Cure Arthritis Detroit. Thanks Marilyn for caring! Thanks to all of you who read this, I know there are not to many, so you all rock.
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