Let’s start afresh…

posted-in-hiking-night-hikes-2-comments500-x-331-76-kb-jpeg-x

In the recent past, this blog has gone black for multiple reasons, most of which I plan to rectify. It is not that things have not happened worth sharing, but I seem to have that desire to always wow, always sound “deep” and profound resulting in superfluous, poorly edited posts. So, henceforth there will be many posts on personal muses and random brain cobwebs in an effort to keep this blog fluid and alive. I hope you stop by.

Today’s thought is “Darkness!” que scary movie sound effects. I know that sounds grim and “unchristmasy” but stay with me. Last night, in lou of the eminent Christmas caloric gorging, I went for a hike to at least make a dent in the upcoming gut distention. Rocky gap state park is one of my favorite places ever, it was there I first mountain biked, Kayaked, camped, did a triathlon, hiked to name a few, so it has a soft spot in my heart. As expected during this time of the year, it was already dark at 5:30pm when I set out. I had my down jacket, insulated gloves, beanie, headlamp, and Eureka 300lumen flashlight. It was spitting rain and mist rose out of the lake, which the trail circumnavigates.

Getting on the Overlook trail, I was immediate accosted by a thick fog, the beam of my headlamp was obscured by the haze of moisture in the air. I could actually see better with my lights off, so I turned it off and walked in darkness. My eyes slowly adjusting to the darkness, I am a little afraid but I also experience a mixture of heightened awareness and ease slowly wash over me. My mind begins to open up, thoughts unravel, it seemed the woods are alive and they listen in, old tree and I, we listen in. We now seem parts of the same mechanism in fellowship together before a sleeping sun.

Surprisingly I recognize he familiar feeling of nostalgia, I have felt this way before. I felt this when as a young boy I would go the village in Imo state, Nigeria with my family for Christmas. There was always something different about the darkness there, something more natural, more inviting even. It was not just darkness that came with the decent of the sun beyond the horizon, it was darkness that was born out of a palpable powering down of people who had done all they could do for that day. It was a more peaceful darkness, one peppered with soft voices of neighbors, ancient distant lullabies, and occasional cacophonous ramblings of the village drunk. Darkness in urban settings seem to come with a forced edge to it, it seems artificial…expected. It is expected that by 11 all lights should be turned off, children tucked in, music turned down and gates locked. Darkness does not seem to bring about a gradual unwinding rather it commands a shutdown. Today’s darkness brought with it, the chatter of birds bedding down, crickets creaking or rodents rustling.

I walked quietly, lost in thought, being one with the trail and welcoming the darkness.

Got Any Gears Left?

Killer Miller is  a climb about half a mile long and has about three levels, it kicks up then gives you a little break, kicks up again, gives you another break for about 15 yards (just long enough to prevent your heart from exploding) then it serves the final segment which is a solid 17% grade where most resort to slaloming just to not have to walk. At the top you are not sure what to attend to first: your heart feeling like you are about to have the big one, your lungs convulting like an accordion playing a Sicilian tune or your leg muscles which feel about twice its original size. On the last lip I honestly would have been thankful for a triple crankset or a 11-36 cassette.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA7-632x421[1]

I have always wondered what to do about gear selection on big climbs, like every other rider I have tapped that shifter a couple times in the middle of a climb begging for an extra gear though I am fully aware I am in the tallest gear I have but we all believe in miracles… we all pray and hope somehow we forgot to or didn’t needto go to our easiest gear till now. .. alas there’s never any extra. This is one of those things I have always wondered about…. When starting a climb do you immediately go to the easiest gear you can push or do you save it for when you start hitting the Redzone? Some think you always save that for when the pain comes other claim maybe if you ride in the easiest gear, the pain will never come.

cropped-p5030004.jpg

In life it is pretty much the same dilemma we get to contend with…Isn’t it?  Do we do it our way till things are as bad as they are going to get then go to plan B or do we just go to that granny gear (God) and ask what his will and plan is. We ride life like we do our bikes we do not usually think about the distance of the ride or the consequences of starting out too hard. I happen to be one of those guys who would make a great domestic, I would rather ride hard and go fast and then bonk in the last 10miles than sit on someone’s wheel the whole ride and have someone else dictate the pace all in the name of energy conservation. I might finish last but I know I had 90 miles of fun (I know! I stink at racing). Someone told me you want to start every climb in a gear you can complete it in, easier said than done especially when you are in a group ride or running strava.

stelvio-pass-hill-climb1[1]

The thing though is life is not quite a group ride, its more of a marathon you don’t gage your performance by the HR monitor, power output, cadence or speed of the peleton, you go at your own pace with focus on finishing strong and not have a coronary…

share: Do you ride save the easiest gear for when you need it or do you start a climb in the easiest gear so you do not have to need it?