by Old Bone Machine
Sunday morning I rode 100 kilometres and climbed 2300 metres. I decided that my route would include seven repetitions of the iconic climb the 1-in-20. The climb is steady and even, it rises one metre for every twenty traversed and thus has an average gradient of 5%.
Repetitions I figure will make my legs and my spirit strong. So much riding is done in the mind.
At 7am the mountain road is wet with dew and the gum trees are shrouded in fog. My fingers are numb. My nose drips snot. With each repetition though it all changes, slowly and almost imperceptibly. A time lapse film of a seed sprouting. The air warms. Light fills the forest. Yet my mind questions itself as my body weakens.
Time goes slowly, time goes quickly.
On the seventh repetition, two kilometres from the summit, I am passed by another rider. Instinctively I take his wheel. His pace is one I could normally maintain but now I am weary. I’m cast adrift and he moves ahead ten, twenty metres. The mind then proposes an idea, a notion. This is the last repetition. You will ride home once this is over. This is the last. And so I surge and my legs are strong. I reach the other rider, recover and then leave him in my wake.
So much riding is done in the mind.