Climb

Climb
Most places, the minutes stream by unnoticed. Not
here. At the base of the hill, I shift down to a lower
gear, thankful the bike is light and so am I. Out
of the saddle, hot sun on my neck, I stand on the pedals
and haul myself up by driving them down. Here 
you focus on the moment, not how far, how steep.
Halfway up this sloping span of road, I feel a sudden
jolt of jitters when the front wheel slips slightly 
sideways on a narrow strip of softened tar. Then the road 
curves right and rises relentlessly, and though it's not
the Galibier, it's enough to leave this would-be grimpeur
panting. I wind the steady tick-tick-tick of legs thrusting
down hard on pedals, inching toward the granite
slab that marks the peak. Here, every second 
breathes along with me.

Copyright 2007 by Brian Dean Powers

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