After being told we were part of something that raised $20.5 Million to help cure cancer in our lifetime, 5,044 of us got on our bikes and began a ride 219 kilometres over two days.
As the motivation of being part of something bigger than yourself starts to fade and the riders thin out, you settle into a rhythm as you make your way along the route. There is always someone around you... another rider or someone on the side of the road cheering you on, but ultimately you are left with your thoughts as you pedal — Pedals always turning.
The road is always in front of you; straight away; turning; rolling... and It inevitably brings you to that steep hill, because there is always a steep hill it seems.
You see it. The other riders see it. Every rider prepares for it in his or her own way. If you know it is coming you may be able to get some momentum and optimize your gearing to get the most of it. For those not so fortunate, you see the hill for the first time and have to react as quickly as you can to determine the best gear to get through the climb. Ultimately, all must commit to a gear — Pedals always turning.
With head down, you focus on pedalling until you are either at the top of the hill or until you are unable to pedal anymore — Pedals always turning.
You can hear the sound of riders trying to gear down to ease the strain and fail; can hear riders cursing because someone can pedal no more and stops in front of them; can only watch through the corner of your eye those riders who surrender to the hill and start walking — Pedals always turning. With progress being made, lungs gasping for air, legs burning, and the spectre of simply stopping in your ear, you continue — Pedal always turning. It becomes simple willpower that keep the pedals always turning.
And then you are at the top. You made it. It is enjoyable being on your bicycle again. You continue the ride knowing the hill is behind you and you are better for climbing it.
Pedals always turning.
A shoutout to my riding buddies John and Kevin, I appreciate you guys riding up the hill with me. Our honorary captain Mike got sidelined this year, but I know he will join us next year because his pedals are always turning.
PS: As a final note, hills have nothing on the fuckin' headwind.