To climb, to reach, to strive valiantly…to come up short again and again…to push yourself to your limit and hold it there, balancing on the precipice of sanity and cruelty, to exercise your demons and blast away your fears of death and challenge the almighty to take you if now be the time, to go into the void of your soul and find a way to keep pushing when nothing in you wants to continue. To give everything that you have, and watch as others dance by and take the prize from you without effort or toil. Then the next to find you have the grace, the gift, the favor to be the one at the front, setting the pace, driving the machine toward the summit and able to respond and then push back on your limits again and again to a place beyond your mind and fly with the Angels toward the heavens and taste the heat of the sun as Icarus did…and yet not be burned…to fly, to be free of the chains of this devilish coil and taste the sweet refreshing dew of the high and hallowed mountains, having bent them to your might and courage and resolve as you scaled heroically the peaks on your life on a bicycle.
Hmmm, I get kinda emotional when I think about climbing, what it really means to me. I just finished our first night of Hill Climbing boot camp and I am reminded that I was fortunate to start my riding career in Steamboat Springs, where climbing was what you did on a bike. When you live in the mountains, you learn how to climb. I remember my first time getting to the top of Rabbit Ears pass, I felt like I had found a new world, the summit meadows of freshly melted of snow, the quiet deer grazing and still little ponds of pure mountain water, it changed my soul and MAN do I miss it!
I usually make the climb from the Crystal turn where we park up to Sunrise or Chinook or both, but for me Chinook is the best climb between here and Colorado.
Epic is the only word to describe it, if you are lucky enough to have it on a clear day with Mt. Rainier next to you like a brother as you taste the cleanest air around. OK, that’s it, I am planning my next trip up there for the end of May, we will be back from Chelan camp and rest up a bit and I will be ready, stay tuned for the invite, I am soooo ready to recharge myself with a soul ride in the high mountains.
The shorter climbs in Seattle are good workouts, but now that I think about it, to be truly inspired to climb it might take *really* climbing epic mountain passes and high roads through the wilderness. As many times as I have climbed Cougar, Squak, Norway, Constitution, McNeil or Holmes Point I am not sure anyone would ever develope a love of climbing by doing them. To get onto a big climb, one that humbles you and forces you to settle into a grind that lasts hours and forces you to find a rhythm and pace that only happens after 30 minutes, is what I highly recommend to anyone wanting to really know what climbing is about.
In our bootcamps, classes and trips like Chelan we coach you on how to climb. How to sit up and breath deep into your lungs, how to turn circles instead of squares, how to harness good emotional energy, how/when to stand up, how to pace and find the right gear and then how to ride the downhills and enjoy the thrill with confidence and developing mastery in becoming one with your bike. All these fundamentals lead to good climbing and even short hills are find to practice on. I hope this season you will find a way to join me, or sign up for something that takes you into the big mountains like RAMROD or just a day with a few friends where you make the pilgrimage to our Mecca, the high mountains and the roads that pass near them.
C U on the road,