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Monday, March 5, 2012

"Bicycle Dreams" Submission - Joshua H.

My most grueling day in the saddle occurred while on a trip this past september to Austin, TX from Columbus, OH. I awoke at 6:15am, not unlike most days during my trip. It was 62 degrees out, partly cloudy with a 50% chance of rain throughout the morning. I spent my last day in Kentucky, riding up and down through the rolling hills with a feeling of completion and satisfaction the day prior. Originally planning for a 100 mile day, I packed up camp quickly, stopped by a local grocer for an egg sandwich and was on the road by 7:30. The first 25 miles weren't so bad with a light rain and wind pushing me from behind. I remember thinking to myself that the only way this could be more perfect was if I had people to join me. Then came the struggle. I reached the top of a pretty decent sized hill after only climbing for a little over an hour and there she was, a pit bull with no owner in sight, waiting for me to arrive. At the top of this hill, there was about a mile long plateau before I had to climb yet another big hill of the day. The pit bull sees me, looks as though she's going to turn around but after a single bark, she's off after me like a lioness after her prey. I stand up in the saddle, and start crunching as hard as I can to get away from the beast. She caught up to me in no time and continued chasing me while biting at my legs. She doesn't give up for a moment and before no time at all, we reach the base of the next 600 feet of a climb. She continues chasing me up the hill and it gets harder and harder to continue. She eventually gives up about half way up the hill, having protected her territory and I have no choice but to keep on pushing. It ends up, that my first full day in Tennessee, after doing 90 miles, (just a few miles short of my original goal) that in total, I climbed almost 2 Mount Everest's. With the combination of the cold rain, the dogs chasing me and the hills, I set up camp and went straight to sleep. Only to do it all over again the next day. Now, for someone who has averaged around 4,000 miles a year for the past 6 years of my life, having done multiple days of riding over 100 miles and having spent hours riding people around on my pedicab, this day was still by far the hardest day of riding in my life. To get up in the morning and do this all over again the next day is probably the hardest thing I've had to do ever although the reward of completion, the reward of seeing the elevation passed, was worth far more than anything I could've imagined to achieve. 

Joshua H.


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