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ConquerMountains.com

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I got the message

Posted by johnnieraz on October 3, 2020 at 3:15 PM

By John Rezell

     My true belief is that people think too much. We spend too much time with the past or future flooding our brains that we sometimes miss the value of the present. This is especially true when messages come our way.

     Take my latest ride. I have this wonderful course that's great for 4-5 hours of riding. It's more Gravel Grinding on logging roads than anything, and of that time I'll spend less than an hour on a paved road with traffic.

     Mother Nature seemed to be in a sharing mood, giving me entertaining views of a huge wild turkey running across the road (seriousy, standing straight up it was at least 4 feet tall) not to mention a tiny, yet very perturbed bird chasing a grand red-tailed hawk that soared easily ahead of its nuisance as it swooped into the woods.

     I yearned to add another serious hillclimb to my menu, given my Covid-19 unemployed inspired fitness. As I turned to chug up toward the top of the mountain, I saw three piles of Cat Scat in the first 100 yards, and quickly decided to save my climbing for a more appropriate spot.

     Then, in the same place that I saw an owl glide silently over my head four years ago, I saw another. This time the owl swooped and perched in a tree, not 30 feet from where I paused to savor the view. I've seen owls flying in the wild before, but never one perched. And never one that turned its head 180 degrees to look me square in the eyes.

     Mesmerized or a moment, it moved me deep inside, as most nature encounters do. As I reached for my cellphone, the owl moved on, across the road, into the woods. Before I remounted, another zipped past in playful pursuit. This one stopped across the road, some 50 yards into the woods, but where I could get a clear silhouette view.

     About an hour later, after some lunch, I decided to add a paved 3-mile climb to satisfy my need to push. About a minute into the ascent, I felt a burning sensation on my right index finger. As I lifted it to examine, I see a Honey Bee perched on the tip. I whip my hand around and look again. Now I see some bee innards as well as a stinger lodged in my finger.

     You can imagine the countless thoughts that could come to mind as I belted out a string of inappropriate language. Yet, my first clear thought was this as I looked at the heavens to my Guardian Angels, always on watch. "If you didn't want me to climb that hill you could have let me know some other way because this hurts like )*@$%*@#(%&!!!

     I spun around and headed for the nearest market. Bought a cup and filled it to the brim with ice and topped it with a little lemonade to get my money's worth. Then I plunged my finger into the ice.

    For the next two hours, instead of pounding home with a strong pace and flying down hills at dangerous speeds, I sauntered at 5 mph, riding one handed with my right index finger in ice.

     Just when I planned to ditch the ice and hammer home, up and over a paved hill that I'd hit 35 mph easily on the backside, something felt weird. I checked my back wheel, and found a significant crack in my rim. One that, had it completely blown at 35 mph could have spelled disaster.

     I looked up again and said, OK, I get it.

     Life can be interesting, if you pay attention.


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