It wends up from the ragged edge of the city, this black ribbon of asphalt, into the heart of the mountains. Rising from river bottom, across chaparral slopes, through stands of sycamore and alder, touching into communities of pines and cedars, and grasping at barren, rocky peaks just beyond reach. To travel along this road is to be participant in an act of theater, manipulated by light and shadow. To ride this road is an act of defiance and endeavor. To ride this road is to challenge what passes as normal, to disavow convenience and comfort.
To ride this road requires a focus on determination. Determination. Tenacity. A butterfly passed me today; momentarily, it was caught in that eddy of air that is created, during brief perfect moments, between my outstretched arms and body hunched over this bike. It was the shortest fraction of time. And then, seeming to benefit from some unseen force of resolve, it was propelled forward and away. White-spotted wings fluttering with a grace my legs, at this moment, seemed incapable of matching. Determination. Tenacity.
And then focus returned to the road, determination to my legs. I know this road, its curves and switchbacks, its rises and falls, its distant views and those up close. This road is familiar to me; I have sweated every inch of its upward climb, shouted away fear at its rapid descents. Its curves shelter old memories as much as they incubate future potential. The challenge of this road is inseparable from a life worth living.