The closest thing to heaven, cycling, sex and writing. The 2nd closest thing, the feeling after a long bike ride. While the ride itself is amazing, especially with the spectacular views of nothing but mountains after mountains on a perfectly sunny day, it wasn’t without effort.
I rode 130km and had to climb over 1,300 meters uphill. That’s about an hour or so of straight climbing. This is not an easy task, nor for the faint of heart. It’s grueling with 8-14% grade steepness. There are times your mind tells you, “What the hell are you doing, this is not normal.” I push that aside and plod on, weaving back and forth on the road to lessen the grade of pavement making it slightly easier to continue.
I was never a natural climber, my body type is more towards flat and fast, but I have come to learn to enjoy climbing. It is a form of mediation, with each crank of the pedal moving forward, I time it with breathing from my belly as it moves up and out my body. I get in this groove, and what at first seems impossible, with each passing moment I get closer to the top.
Last year I had some knee problem and went to physical therapist in the neighborhood to get it fixed. During the assessment he asked what kind of sports I did. At the time I was cycling 3-4 times a week, hitting the gym twice and jogging 1-2 times. When I explained it to him the look on his face was one of disbelief – as in this is not normal. He went on to ask,”How far do you ride a week?” My reply, “Between 200-300 kilometers a week.” He was speechless for a few moments. All this was in Japanese by the way. He said, “This is not normal you should not do this so much.” I laughed. He didn’t. He went on to work his magic over the course of six weeks and my knee pain went away.
Now, with so much time on my hands, I am back over the weekly cycling kilometers and still with plenty of time to write and hang with my son. It has been a wonderful and fruitful time that is now coming to an end with online classes beginning soon.
I guess maybe this is why the feeling after a ride is so sweet. Famished, I enjoy a plate of Japanese style Taco Rice and an ice coffee while I write about what I am experiencing.
Video from the top after a grueling climb.