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The "Crank"





Welcome folks to the first group ride report of 2015 under the Telluride Cycling Club banner.  The conditions were perfect with most of the day being fairly clear and warm.  But as the hour of riding was approaching so did the clouds. Curious thing, but it seemed to me that Mr. Time and Mrs. Weather had met earlier somewhere in New Mexico and with all the formalities out of the way, they decided to fornicate right above our little town of Telluride at precisely 5:30pm. 

As typical to such activities of passionate copulation the byproduct of their actions dropped from the sky in the form of wind, rain and some sleet.  A heavy cloud blanket kept their actions somewhat hidden from our mortal eyes, but we all knew what was going on up there.

Ohhh goodness, if this isn’t what we live for.

Under cold and windy conditions we headed out, Travis being a good host, led us out on his cruiser and wearing his shop apron.  Valiant indeed! I felt like we should be screaming “SPAAARRTAAAA!!!”

The group, although small was brimming with cycling essence and was formed by Tim, Oz, Amie, Becca and myself.  I have to say, I am so proud of the girls braving this one.  By this display ladies, your foot has crushed the neck of many men (that didn’t show up and shall remain nameless).

Lawson, or better known as “Suck Hill” for a number of reasons, was still there and had to be climbed.  At the top, the rain came accompanied by a strong head wind.  This brought a smile to all the faces and so it went all the way to the Alta turn off.    Here we snapped some photos, put on the rain flys and continued on as the weather conditions got better (worse depending on which way you look at it).

The “Beauty of Embracing Adversity” is something that has become a riding principle for me and this has come to me when either on the bike or motorcycle but mostly on the motorcycle.  Terrible conditions tend to make us retract, but I found that there is beauty on the other side of the dark clouds. 

I typically try to do a cross country motorcycle trip each year, and it never fails that I end up in some horrible weather conditions with no way out.  Rain at 65 mph across the Dakotas feels like being shot in the face with crape shot.  Pelted by hail on Highway 50 across Nevada makes you wonder if you’re still alive or if you have moved on to that place above of harps and angels.  Many of these external conditions seem anything but pleasant, and are generally outside our control.  The only options are to pull the plug and quit or stay in it and find some inner strength to keep going.   When choosing the latter, something funny happens.  In my experience, I seem to transcend whatever I am physically going through and turn inward to warm thoughts of love, pillows and polenta with feta cheese (a Romanian favorite).  I think about my wife and kids and realize how much I love and miss them.  I realize what a gift it is to be healthy and have the opportunity to feel and experience life.  All these thoughts tend to have a very grounding effect and all of the sudden life is simple, beautiful and I’m standing on the edge of paradise.

Well, back to earth and the ride at hand, the descent into Ophir was wet and although wearing booties, my feet quickly became goldfish swimming in Sidi fishbowls.  The climb to San Bernardo was a welcome engagement of leg muscles and hopefully some warmth.  No such luck as I was plagued by some chain issues, and so we stopped got more soaked and cold and so on.  As the saying goes “When it rains it Pours” was applied here across all possible dimensions.  Good enough, we got to San Bernardo and decided that avoiding the descent down from Lizardhead was a wise choice, Beauty of Adversity or not.  Well, we just hammered all the way back, more from a natural desire to keep the body temps around 42 degrees, the safe temperature for keeping meat from spoiling.  Not much was being said at this point, for me because I was dropped and had no one to talk to.   We plummeted down Lawson, where I believe all joint lubrication was now completely frozen, our only motivation was the thoughts of home and hearth. 

Rolling into town and knowing that salvation was within reach, there was renewed strength enough to sprint up the Butcher Creek Hill. 

After the ride text messages expounded on the toll the ride took and stories of passing out and crying made it seem like it was hard.

That was nothing!