it's a week of barrier-breaking.
as many years as I've ridden, as many hills I've climbed and summits I've reached, as many thousands of miles I've pedaled, I still, at times, question my abilities to reach the top of the hill.
I place little barriers in my mind, rectangular things with signs on them that say, uh-uh, not sure.
it will hurt.
you'll barely make it, if you do.
you're probably not ready.
it doesn't matter how many times I've climbed a hill: each new season brings a slew of barriers and---oh, I so hate to admit this---doubt.
I want to be the person who is so full of faith and certainty that nothing deters her, the person whose lexicon does not contain the word "doubt."
so this week I've been tackling the "first time up this season" barriers. on sunday, I climbed millcreek, and this morning I climbed little cottonwood. neither canyon softened or lessened its grades over the winter, but I made it all the way to the top of each without either dying, stopping, crying, or falling over as a result of my (lack of) speed.
and now those firsts are behind me, where they can now hang out with that nebulous, insidious, clammy thing called doubt.
by climbing those canyons I receive 2 gifts: first, the certainty that I can still do it, and second, the rediscovery of the incredible beauty surrounding me the entire time.
sunday morning I left my home at half past six, and the road up millcreek was lightly traveled and damp from the previous night's rain. sun rays threw themselves upward from far behind the hill as I headed east, and the light filtered its way down and rested gently upon the trees. the creek, boisterous and frothy, spread mist for twenty feet above and beside it, where it hovered, sparkling, in the light that sat in the narrow valley of the canyon.
the descent---oh the descent!---was everything I'd forgotten: unbelievably fast, carving it's way down, cold, green walls ebbing and flowing, runoff splashing beneath my tires, the day coming into its own.
today I was on the road at 5:40, hitting the mouth of little cottonwood just before 7. the pinkened clouds of sunrise hovered, teasing, as I journeyed south, and the canyon was well lit by the time I began to climb. huge boulders balance precariously throughout the 8 mile climb, the walls steep and rocky. a shockingly white waterfall streaks down a southern wall, and the relentless climb leads to a lush, green ending where fat wallows of snow still sit, dirty and thick, awaiting just a few more weeks of summer sun.
this beautiful world exists with or without me, but it is only by breaking through my barriers and climbing these canyons that I am able to immerse myself within it and glory in the magnificence of this place in which we so amazingly are blessed--yes, blessed---to live.