August 22, 2013: A Little Push
Garrett mentioned the previous night that we'd be climbing Bachelor's Gulch. Having skied this area, I had a good idea the vertical gain that was entailed; but this time without the benefit of a ski lift. The graph below depicts the climb starting with the bottom highlight on the left and ending with the highlighted "Bachelor's Gulch" on the top. I'm glad I didn't look at this visual before riding it. Some things are best left for the imagination.
Following a ride from Edwards to Beaver Creek, Garrett and I joined a couple of friends for lunch in the village and then hopped on our bikes to take on the climb. The first hint of the difficulty level was the first sign marking the route. With an arrow pointing up, the words on the sign read "KOM-King of the Mountain".
The enormous houses, landscaping, and views were stunning; especially the stage between the highlighted markers below. What started as a relatively mild climb quickly took a sharp turn straight up. Our goal was to reach the coveted spot at the top to watch the pro riders later race past at wild speeds.
I knew I was nearing the end when I heard music. Saturday Night Fever was blaring in the distance. The sign indicated 1K left. My heart was pounding out of my chest as I stared at what had to be the last steep climb to the top. As many of the bikes beside me did intermittently up the course, I decided to stop and catch my breath. Determined to finish, I knew this was a necessity in lieu of either toppling over or having a heart attack.
Garrett had turned back to cheer me on and encourage me to finish. He knew this feat was a huge challenge to me. After a brief rest and some encouragement, I was ready to tackle the difficult finish. I quickly surmised that starting back on a bike going up hill (a BIG hill) is not easy. Even with Garrett's coaching to follow his lead, I was struggling.
That's when a Good Samaritan couple came to my rescue. An older couple walking on the roadside with their pop-up chairs, spotted my dilemma. The woman assessed my upward challenge and turned to her husband. "You need to help her, John."
John immediately offered his assistance. "I don't mean to be oppressive, but I would be happy to help you on your way."
I welcomed John's offer with no hesitation. Like a girl learning to ride her bike without training wheels, John held on to my bike as I steadying myself and clipped in. And then he ran a few steps by my side and gave me a big push up the daunting hill.
This push was just what I needed. A great start to my last big climb and a boost to my spirit. My heart stopped pumping in overdrive. Instead I lit up, inspired to finish strong, as my new friends cheered me on. I could still hear their chants as I made the last turn and eyed the finish line.
It's amazing what a little push and encouragement can do for a human in need. A great day with the help of some friends, new and old.