Sunday, September 2, 2012

Riding Above the Clouds

It was the final day of my final Summer Micro-adventure.  The day dawned beautifully, sunny skies and temperatures in the low 60's.  I was slow to get out of bed.  These were perfect sleeping conditions.  I turned my head to the right and looked out the window of my camper.  Nothing but trees and sky atop the mountain upon which I chose to make camp.
Check out time was noon and I still had a bike ride to get in.  After 2 quick cups of coffee and a muffin, I donned Lycra and mounted my trusty steed.  I shot down the mountain to the Skyline Drive and headed North.  I glanced at my watch and realized I had a scant 2 hours to ride, a woefully inadequate amount of time on such a gorgeous day amidst such stunning scenery.  Then I looked on the bright side, I could be at work right now.

How far did I ride?  Uhhhh - I don't know.  What was my average speed?  Don't know that neither.  I didn't even bother to turn on my cycle computer.   Today was not about distance or speed or cadence or heart rate or power.  I stopped at every scenic overview.  I took pictures.

At one scenic overview there was a Sign that indicated that on only 10% of days in summer was it clear enough to see 48 miles and the mountains in West VA.  I saw them clearly.  I hit the one hour out hard stop far too fast and was forced to turn around.  I was back at the base of Loft Mountain before I knew it and was forced to climb the hill that earlier I had shot down.  It was long, it was steep, it was ecstasy.

As I slowly rode upward, I noticed something black just off the side of the road and a few feet ahead.  Then that something moved and I realized it was a black bear.  I startled it as much as it startled me.  It took off running into the brush just as I stood on the pedals and hammered uphill.  Realizing neither of us were a threat to the other we both stopped and looked at one another.  Then the bear went its was and I continued riding to the top.

It was a simple, but epic ride.  Perfect weather and breathtaking scenery and close encounters with wildlife.  What better way to celebrate and remember it but than to toast it with a pint of Ordinary Bitter and put it into words.
Two days earlier I hiked the Appalachian Trail for 13 miles and to quote Karle Wilson' "...I have grown taller from walking among the trees.". 

Today I rode on the Skyline Drive and to quote myself, "...I have grown taller from riding above the clouds."

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