Sunday, October 03, 2010

the definition of flat

It’s straightforward. Merriam-Webster offers this: being or characterized by a horizontal line or tracing without peaks or depressions. Flat.

Such a beautiful day. Cool initially, but in a good way. And if you place yourself in a sunny spot, you forget that we almost had frost  last night.

We clean the condo in the morning. It doesn’t need it really, but it’s what I do on Sunday mornings. It’s a small place and even though we go to great bother and even take down screens and flush them clean, we are done by noon.

My bike is at the farmette, where it had been placed for the much needed repair work. Ed had replaced broken gear parts and today I am to ride it back to town.

In the alternative, there is a lovely little ride from Fitchburg (the place of Ed's farmette) to Paoli and back that we can take... Ed had done this loop on the back roads with his biking group last Wednesday and he's thinking I may like to give it a shot.

 It's flat. Really it is. A few gentle hills, but basically flat as they come.

He says this because he knows I am wise to the Wednesday night rides. They are damn challenging. I can do hills alright, but not their hills. These people seek out ascents that'll put them in good stead for the Tour de France. Or some such.

Flat? No more than a few climbs?
I can't even call them climbs.

We set out.

What can I say -- it's a beautiful ride!




But the man is prone to put a good spin on most anything. And he can shamelessly lie, too, if it'll get me to do something he thinks is good for me.


I admit, you always get the best bucolic loveliness when there is texture to the ride. Flat is boring. Hills give a layer of excitement. Every mile is different. From ridge to river, then back up again...





...And then down once more.


I should have known. We had done rides to Paoli before. They all had quite a few heady hills.

You deliberatly mislead me! I say to Ed, panting on the next to last hill for the day.
Would you have gone otherwise?
I would have been prepared! say no?

Eaten a bigger breakfast maybe...

Who am I kidding. I would have stalled and the day would have disappeared behind a night sky. I also know that, in fact, hills are what draws Ed to bike riding.  And he assumes that they must be a visible blimp on a radar screen before they can be called "hills." He still can't quite believe that I approach long uphill climbs with trepidation.  I remember the week-long bike ride he and I took in the south of France. I paused maybe ten times during a particularly long and strenuous climb up a mountain. He did it without stopping once. For him, if it's easy, it's not nearly as much fun.

Often times, I do accept the premise that hard is ultimately more gratifying. On this day, too, Ed asks (as we approach the last big climb) -- you want to veer off and head for the level path? And I answer truthfully --  No, I want to do it right. Hills and all.  I say this without hesitation. No, let me be honest: without much hesitation.