Events: Rapha Rising – Day One
Climbed: 2,960 feet/ 12,140 feet remaining
(2017) I should have been a downhill mountain biker with my exuberance toward going down a hill by bike. It would solve that whole gravity problem for me. Yet I couldn’t quite get past the time for preparation. Imagine how many road miles could be put in in the same amount of time it takes to drive to a downhill resort. Then there’s the whole taking a chairlift to the top. Living in the east doesn’t bode well for my downhill dreams. So I guess the road it is. I do not look forward to the climbs on rides.
That fact alone made my alacrity to seek out hills on the first day of Rapha Rising so confusing. Rapha Rising is the current challenge from the cycling apparel company to climb 4,600 meters/ 15,100 feet from July 1 – 23. I found myself considering road combinations I would have previously ignored. I caught myself scanning the mental maps of Bucks and Hunterdon Counties for potential climbs. Could it be that this ridiculous challenge has me focused on a goal again? I rode amongst two states, two counties, and bounded over one river twice.
My ride took place in less-than-ideal conditions. The area was besieged before, during, and afterward by hot muggy and unstable weather. I mention this because I would have pulled the plug early in the ride or opted out of the ride completely. But that 15,100-foot goal was out there for me to block together one foot at a time. I dealt with ominous clouds, damp roads, and regular bursts of rain. Each time a climb came up, I uttered the fact that each foot got me closer to my goal.
I ignored several vices on today’s ride. I buzzed past Homestead Coffee (I would drive back later) where multiple cyclists were sat out back. I purposely ignored any segments with the hopes of having a steady effort. I buzzed past Early Bird Espresso where more cyclists were gathered as well as The Bridge Café that was packed with more riders. I was on a mission. I wanted to take a huge chunk out of my total on day one.
The ride was not without peril. Early in the ride I managed to avoid one groundhog while nearly hitting a second that ran close behind it. Moments later a rabbit ran out. The animal kingdom wanted to test me. In Frenchtown a woman stepped out from behind a car with her Newfoundland grizzly bear in her attempt to cross the street. I had to lock up the brakes but we both went on our ways peacefully. I got to witness someone getting baptized in the Delaware River – something I’ve never seen before. Oftentimes I questioned my decision to go so far from home when the skies looked angry and menacing.
When I returned home I was greeted by my climbing total but also by a strange fact. The Rising was not the entire month of July like I had previously thought. It was only the first three weeks of the month. I got more work to do now. But I think I have the time to get it in. After all, there are plenty of hills outside the doors of the creakybottombracket office. I don’t need to take a chairlift to get my runs in, though the thought of a bouncy chairlift ride to the top mid-ride does sound quite peaceful.