“If it’s not today, it’s tomorrow.”
I kept repeating this phrase to myself to keep me going. It’s all uphill from here– there’s no telling how fast I’ll descend the other side, or how high and how far I’ll finally be done climbing. San Diego sits at the other side of the tail end of the Santa Ana mountains– just 100 miles of mountain lay between me and nirvana.
One-hundred and six degrees, no wind, 13% humidity. It’s so hot. I’ve never experienced such an oppressive, overbearing and heavy heat in my life. It’s humid and dry at the same time, with a sticky layer of sweat and sunblock soup insulating my body temperature ever higher. The sunlight stings on top of my leathery red skin. A reassuring cool breeze that would regularly chime in on other days wasn’t here– today was the transition day between Spring and Summer, the day that marks the beginning of the no-bicycling season. I’m sure to be one of the last Westbound arrivals in San Diego.
I have never sweat so much in my life. I’d look down and see a stream sweat drops fall from my cheek, leaving a trail of my own bodily fluid up these final mountains. Flies and crows crowded around the only source of water in sight: sun-bleached barrels of dirty radiator water meant to cure an overheating car. Bicyclists don’t have such luxury.
At this point, I’m willing to do anything to get to the other side of these mountains. At this point, I’m also realizing that all I have left to invest is time, and this realization is overshadowing all other concerns. I don’t feel fatigue, exhaustion, hunger or thirst. Water, food and rest: all these concerns are accessories to time, the only thing that I can’t refill at a roadside gas station.
I’m biking sunup to sundown now, and I still don’t have enough time to bike as much as I want to. There’s a fire burning in me to finish this, and nothing is going to stop me. I’m putting my body through the workout of a lifetime and abusing this bike far beyond its intended limits of use, but I don’t feel a thing. I have to keep going.
Even after another flat tire and a wheel knocked out of true, I kept pumping upwards. Up and up and up, 3,800 feet above the ocean on the other side, slowly squirming my way into a mountain range and finally penetrating into its peaks.
I dribbled out the back of the other side sometime when the sun cracked underneath the horizon, flying downhill at the speed of gravity. The route put me on the interstate. I broke speed records and won a thousand imaginary races in my head, carefully jiggling and skipping over small rocks that were deadly obstacles at such a high velocity.
Right at this crest of the climax, at the very begenning of the end when my rollercoaster just started to fall down the rails, I had to put it to bed. An RV park on native land nestled just off the next exit– perfectly suited to stop my uncontrollable descent dead in its tracks.
How does one sleep on a night like this? At the cusp of a 24 hour climax? I’m set to explode into an unimaginable mental orgasm in just a few hours. My whole social and physical essence is a ticking time bomb, waiting to feel this monumental release of my fully-realized true human potential. I biked uphill for nearly 11 hours straight without wanting to stop for a rest. Now, I don’t want to sleep.