Friday, June 12, 2009

the road less traveled

two roads diverged in a deep green canyon, and sorry I could not ride both, and be one rider not long I stood and looked down one as far I could to where it bent and climbed away . . .
I chose the left, the road less traveled, and yesterday, that made all the difference.

(with deep and genuine apologies to robert frost. I had to memorize that poem back in high school and have always retained deep affection for it, though you might not believe that, seeing as how I butchered it just moments ago.)

last evening I rode in the rain. I'd been itching to get out all day, but circumstances kept me from doing so, and finally at 5:15 when my responsibilities seemed to disappear, I donned my gear and turned my mindset to ride.
it had rained off and on all day, and the pavement was still dark with moisture. some gutters were full of gently flowing water. and yes, there was moisture falling down from above.
I thought it had lightened and perhaps even stopped, but as I rolled my bike out to the driveway and paused to shut the garage door, it was apparent that this rain was committed to making its way earthward.
I was mentally prepared, and even partially physically prepared, and I set off on my usual route. and now I can condense the next part of my story to this:
I rode, I got wet, I kept riding, I got wetter, I thought about turning back at this point then that point and then, well, maybe if I just get to this point . . .
I kept shaking my head like a dog, trying to dislodge the water pooling in my helmet's chasms. I wiped my cyclometer's screen, and that of my heart monitor. my feet were wet, but not yet squishing.
and throughout it all, I was giggling with the ridiculousness of the whole event. geez, susan, take the day off!!
but as I passed Sun and Moon Cafe and set my next turn-around point as the old Pinecrest bed and breakfast, the rain's intensity seemed to lessen. a bit. I thought.
as the Cafe had been my 2nd potential turn-around-and-call-it-quits point, I was determined that Pinecrest was my limit.
I cruised past Pinecrest and thought, well, just a little further: it's been so long since I've been up this way, and it's so pretty, and a good climb and no one rides up here . . .

this is the road less traveled, and I don't really know why. the road winds deep into a crevasse and climbs up and up, at times quite steeply. there are a few homes, then fewer homes, then none for a while, then a handful pop back up. the road narrows even more, and continues twisting and climbing to a point I have never reached: I've always (okay, both times I've been that far up) called it quits before the road completely petered out.
it's a more challenging climb than to the Emigration summit, and I've never understood why more cyclists don't head up that way. it doesn't give you the wide sweeping views you gain at the summit, nor the ability to take in little dell's resonance, nor a path to another climb, but still, it seems that at least a few people would be drawn to the winding, climbing path that reaches deep into the gorge between these hillsides.

so I was alone, riding in the lessening rain, pumping and breathing heavily, listening to the rushing creek and the determined birds who cared not that the air was wet and heavy. at last I turned, and began my descent, wet and cold and cautious with my drenched and gunky brakes. soon my shoes were drenched as well, my toes squishing with each rotation. the rain ceased, and only kickback from the sopping road added to the wet I had collected in the past hour or so. it still brought a grin to my face.

and although the letters I had earlier in the day penned across the knuckles of my left hand were faded by the time I reached home, I could still make out a faint f - a - i - t - h in wiggly black ink, and I knew that the road I had traveled in the rain was the perfect one for me at that perfect point in time.

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