Monday, June 23
Estes Park to Granby ...continued
He seldom reflects on the days of his life...
So, what was it like, sitting on the top of the world? This was, and may well forever be, the top as measured in feet (or meters) for me and my bike. While I'm not necessarily the reflective type, it seemed logical to pause and reflect a bit at this point in my riding career.
As noted previously, pausing at the top of Trail Ridge Road wasn't as convenient as I would have expected. Recall that this is the highest point on the highest paved through road in the U.S. Yet there is nothing to mark the occasion and no place, save for the narrow shoulder, to stop and ponder what has just happened. Or, what comes next.
Let's be sure about one thing ~ there are MANY things more important than dragging a bike up to the top of a mountain. Faith, family, friends, mission work in the Dominican Republic and Uganda. There is a long list here. Nonetheless, the feeling of accomplishment upon arriving at this point in the road was intense. Here's what I wrote in my journal that evening in the gym in Granby:
I stopped, unclipped, took out my camera and shot three pictures: one to my left from where I had come, one to my right looking on to where I was headed and one of my computer, reading 12,183 feet, the altitude at the point where I was [click here to see the pictures]. Then I repeated the words I said to myself last year as I rolled into the University of Montana campus in Missoula, "I did it."
Happy, ecstatic, exhilarated are all perfectly good words to describe feelings of accomplishment. But they just don't apply here. The feeling was more one of intense personal satisfaction. No fist pump, no high fives, no big grins; just, "I did it." Said to no one but myself [and now shared with you, of course]. Because this was a personal thing. Not a race with the other riders. Not a contest with the mountain which is, after all, just a pile of rocks. A BIG pile, to be sure, but just a pile. I just felt satisfied knowing that I could work hard enough to prepare for then complete this part of the ride.
Perhaps another reason for my reaction not spilling over into the more open displays of happiness mentioned above was that, unlike the arrival in Missoula, I was far from the end of this tour. Far, in fact, from being finished with this day's ride. There were still 40 miles to go. Reflection time over, I clip in, start shifting up into the bigger gears (you know, the ones that hadn't seen the chain all day) and head down.
To be continued...