Saturday, August 12, 2006

burnt offering

it's been that kind of week.

sunday after church i thought it would be nice to go for a ride; something easy after saturday's hard riding. so i thought i would just get on my bike and ride out from the driveway.

i live in west bolton. for argument's sake let's say i live right downtown. in truth, i live a little ways from downtown, but close enough for government work. the post office considers it to be jericho and the phone company considers it to be richmond, but it is not.

it is west bolton.

bolton is one of those towns whose borders don't really match up with the landscape. most of it falls on the north side of the winooski river and up and down the surrounding hills.

outside of bolton proper there's that little bit hanging on to the south side of the river, which is sometimes referred to as "bolton landing" and there's our little corner of it up over the mountain, by either notch road or stage road. it used to be a real town with mills and stores and churches. used to be you could stand on the steps of the baptist church and look clear through the notch.

you can still stand on the steps of the baptist church, but that's all that's left of it; it's only a cellarhole now. and the trees have grown back, so you can't see past cemetery road, let alone into the notch.

most of the structures and livelihood of the town were swallowed up by the government for the installation of the firing range.

but anyway, if you leave my house you either go up or down. there's going to be a climb. you can defer it a little while by going out nashville road, but once you get out to brown's trace you can downhill or downhill. no matter how you slice it, you're going to climb on the return trip.

so i figured i'd take the gradual rollers of nashville road on my way home. go down stage road, maybe tool around on the river road, come back up by skunk hollow or barber farm. here's a version of the supposed route.

stage road is almost entirely unpaved. and it's steep. and there's a lot of gravel and some washboard and some washout, so you can't afford to go all that fast.

but there's this thing about gravity; suppose for a moment that i am a fairly heavy little woman (not a big stretch of the imagination) riding a bike with narrow tires and fast hubs. at some point there's just no stopping, because the force i have to apply to the brakes exceeds the ability of those two little patches of rubber to hold their position on the road.

so it's slow going. and i have to be careful of how much braking i do, because there's always the possiblity that the brake pads will glaze over, or the tire rims will overheat and a tire will pop.

and if that happens to you on a steep descent, you learn to fly.

and then land.


with much debriding to be done.

incidentally, the reason men in the cycling world often shave their legs is not because it makes you more aero; the benefit is negligible. the real reason is because when (and you will note my use of the word "when" rather than "if") when you fall, it is much, much easier to debride the resultant road rash.

a while ago i was rollerblading on route 100 just south of waitsfield and i was trying to gain speed coming downhill and caught an edge. i got road rash on my left calf, left thigh, and right thigh. deep enough to bleed freely. and i got to keep skating, because i fell near the bridge, but my car was parked at the laundromat.

i got a talking to for coming home late, too, which seems kind of incomprehensible.

the worst part was that after i got all the gravel and dirt out of the wounds, i had to apply a dressing, cover that with make up, pull on nylons and get down to the theater. oddly, while onstage i did not feel the pain.

but it was the first week of july (does july ALWAYS suck?) and that puppy didn't scab over let alone heal until sometime in october. talk about insomnia. and it was a hot summer, too. it's been fifteen years and you can still see the scar.

uh, anyway.

by the time i got down stage road my hands were tired from judicious application of brakes. the plan was still to take an easy, casual ride.

so it's a bit of a mystery to me how i ended up crossing the river and heading up wes white hill. i remember going up it a couple of times on a mountain bike. maybe you know this and maybe you don't, but the gearing on a mountain bike is a lot more hill friendly and i did not remember it being quite that painful.

but i did it. and then since i happened to be in huntington, i took hinesburg hollow road over to -duh- hinesburg and then came back home through richmond. so much for the easy ride.

got back home just as i lost the light.

and then monday i went out to catamount for their monday treasure hunt and ended up on a trail i haven't seen but once or twice. which is odd, 'cos that place is kind of my second home. i know the trails pretty well. and i got a brand-new water bottle for my trouble.

i spent some time practicing some of the technical passages that i've either lost the ability to ride or never had the ability to ride. i fell some. nothing serious.

and tuesday night i took four minutes off my best time on the run. i felt fast out there, too. i started to run and i simply handed each step over to bob. it's been a tough week, and riding or running i just decided to turn it over. every step, every pedal stroke.

the stress of the week takes a toll on me. the length and steepness of the rides stay with me; my muscles are tired. but i run hard on tuesday, ride hard on wednesday. and in yesterday's time trial crashco and i rode at an average of 18.55 MPH. he had to pull me all the way around, but he's in good shape and he has that spiffy new bike. but he's a dear and he not only does all the work, but he recalls last year when i had to pull him.

but i am toast. burnt up. but each night i come to sit in prayer and no matter what each day has brought me, i am thankful in spite of myself.

courage, i ask. give me courage to endure. put your strength in my hands. let me carry your Light.

maybe i'm asking for the wrong things. i'm still asking to be made a good servant rather than for pain abatement. i ask for blessings on (proper name) and (proper name) and some others while i'm at it.

i'm thankful that i've been able to read. i have some rules about reading scripture. here's what i wrote rumblestrip:

according to the rules (which i make up) i am not allowed to read scripture when i am drugged, overtired, distracted, or otherwise too bunched up to give it my full attention. given these rules, it's fairly amazing that between october and january i read the entire KJV. yesterday i finished exodus and read most of leviticus. since i start wtih the NT and then cycle around to the beginning, this represents pretty good progress on the NLT.

but somewhere along the way i had a talk with bob about obedience. and i realized: reluctant obedience counts. faith in the context of suffering has meaning. there aren't any special prizes for it, and you know for certain that Grace is a gift. it is not earned. you cannot buy it, not with any amount of suffering and yet every step, every new breath is a triumph.

i have this ongoing fantasy in which i run a race that is difficult and painful. i don't win it, not by a long shot. but the people present know me and know what it takes for me to cross that finish line, and they stand and cheer, calling my name.

it's called tuesday.

and i know to whom it belongs.

"place me in your heart so that others may see."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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