Charles Agar: It’s Rainbow Season
Grand County, Colorado
Well it’s rainbow season again. At least that’s what a friend called it recently when she overheard a group of us whining about these weeks of rain.
“It’s all how you look at things,” she said of how monsoon storms might spoil a few picnics but leave Technicolor trails in their wake.
And rainbows are just one piece of a summer that’s already been memorable, including great after-work cross-country bike rides, gnarly downhilling at Trestle Bike Park and paddling the little Fraser River from Tabernash to Granby.
But something had been bothering me as the days grew warmer. I kept seeing cyclists spinning their way up Berthoud Pass and felt like I had to do it. Not so much to conquer anything but to understand where I live, to put this valley in perspective, or maybe to see what it was like for early settlers who first slogged over the hump from Denver.
My first mountain bike climbs of the year had me wheezing like a tuberculin Doc Susie, though, and I huff and puff after the few flights of stairs up to the office every morning so I wondered if I could make it.
This week I ran out of excuses – not that I didn’t try them all – and joined my friends Dane and George for the big climb.
The ride took me through the five stages of grief, starting with denial: I’m not going to make it, I told myself on the long, slow grade from Mary Jane to the first switchback.
Then it was anger: Why did I get myself into this? Then bargaining: I get a PowerBar if I make it up this next section. Then depression: Nobody knows how I suffer. And lastly acceptance: Life is painful, just keep it in granny gear and don’t stop riding.
The guys left me in the dust on each climb but were kind enough to wait every few switchbacks and we celebrated at the top with photos and high-fives by the big Berthoud Pass sign (only to be humbled when another rider crested the ridge behind us as if she’d climbed a few flights of stairs).
I got going fast enough to pass cars on the downhill and my little bike felt like it might shake to pieces.
Then back home, exhausted, I raided the kitchen for every morsel of food I could find (cold cuts and Cheerios anyone?) and sat back to watch a symphony of a thunderstorm followed by a rainbow spanning the breadth of the valley. I thought I might see a Care Bear come sliding down it any minute.
Keep your complaints about the weather, Grand County, it’s rainbow season and I’m going to make the most of it. Next up Byers Peak.
– Charles Agar is training for a September triathlon to prove that he is not pushing 40. E-mail him with training tips or words of discouragement at email@example.com.
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