It was one of those days when you know that something is missing, but you miss that to find it out. It’s just that elusive thought flitting around and hides our consciousness before we can approach it.
Even so, I set the ride too early, and this time, from home. A transit of about 40 minutes, before actually reaching the trailhead that Saturday. I have the intention to make the long road trip to the Tower 3 (about 60 kms …). Although I did not know because I was not convinced of it. Until at the middle of the climb to 8 ½, I calculated in my personal GPS, the route that at least minimized my discomfort. Would make the long route, but in reverse. Instead of taking into the “Obsidianas” downhill (a drop of ~ 30 minutes), and then making the long climb from the lowest part of the forest to the Cerro de San Miguel, where the tower 3 stands.
So, instead of addressing “Obsidianas”, kept me long for the “broad way” to call green door (about 13 miles of the starting point), hence begin a steep but short climb to the solid formed by several hills that crown in tower 3. I was going pretty well, much quieter and with that “cricket” and at times silenced by the beating of my own heart, that was certainly a frequency about eighty to eighty-five percent… I noticed it when I was riding in one of the rocky sections, ran into a stone, skidded and had to stop … “pup-pup, pup, pup, pup, pup, pup-pup” …. I listened, I thought someone tapped on my shoulder, but in a split second, I returned to my reality and my time, in the half of the climb, in the woods, it was unlikely that someone was trying to give me a drum rhythm to pedal . My heart was pumping at full steam, supplying the most of my muscles. At the end of the climb, has not yet reached the top. Still be missing some two or three miles, to reach the goal. When we finish this hard climb, it comes the “rest” of ride on the back of a couple of hills before “attacking” the last climbing effort. Is there, riding over of Cerro San Miguel, when the silence begins to surround one. It is a silence that overwhelms you, not scare you. There is a blanket silence that envelops you in tranquility and to some extent in their own expectation. These listening to the delight of the wind caressing the bark of trees, the elusive whisper of an animal hiding in the bushes, or just the planning of a leaf right when it decides to left its tree and starts its own adventure to the bed forest.
Surrounded by those thoughts I was got to the intersection that we call “the tree” (if, for the “uninitiated” sounds absurd that in the middle of the forest, there is an unmistakable junction called “the tree”, I invite you to know this place, you will understand and your life will make sense, lol). I spent as this crossroads where one can start down the other side of the hill to the village of Tala, eleven or twelve miles to the east and about a thousand feet below, or to the famous climb followed by “Obsidianas”.
At this point my goal was not down, but conclude the climb riding the last few miles. I was with that goal in mind when I saw to a quartet of runners, surely preparing for an upcoming cross country, they would be lost on my back when I heard the ominous sound “psssss …. pssssss …. pssssss “punched! … and my tire is not sealed, that meant or that flat tire or was not “tubeless” or simply had no liquid sealant, I stopped and confirmed that, indeed, the tire should be repaired …. Apparently my plan to return by “Obsidianas” would have changed since I bought no more tire patches and only brought a spare camera. I could not take the risk of another puncture riding back by “Obsidianas” trail, ten miles from the nearest point of support. Anyway, I began the task of replacing the punctured tube with the new, but not before to thanks myself to been bought metal clearings (tools to remove the tire from the rim), with which I could remove after a few minutes of sweat and bruises on fingers the tire from the rim. I removed the failed shining new camera and put the new one in place and oh surprise! … my personal cricket, my discomfort came galloping with a laugh on my shoulders when I discovered what I had missed … my air pump! There, about 14 miles from my starting point, about two or three miles of the tower 3, without knowing for certain that the tower had a guard or it would be provided with pump to inflate my brand new camera, there, I found myself, standing, watching my aluminic with only one rodable tire, my conscience reproaching me because I’m find myself in that situation. But the silence was my friend, and shut myself up. I found myself there again, just me, my bike, and no air pump. As they say in the computer field, rebooting systems, weighing alternatives, working your way up? That would be, 40, 50 minute walk up to the tower? what if there was no air pump there? Would be any other biker up there? Or may I gone to Tala town? Uhm, no, too far away and would only come and take a bus, I would return to my city late afternoon. Back where I come from? It sounded the better option, I could face other cyclist by that way, or maybe even a truck that would take me back to starting point…
So I would take that option, I thought, come back, it was after all a long way down, and arriving at wide road could jog back up my defective tire. So I headed for the back of the hill of San Miguel undertaking the return this time without reaching the top of the tower 3. Fortunately the forest itself is my greatest ally and prevented my own negative thoughts hurt my optimism and bombed me with guilt. To walk through the forest was not always a joy to have. I was walking with my bike to the side, trying to hit the rear tire not too hard on the stones and at one time I loaded better, seemed like it could go much faster if carried it on my shoulders. I was in that way when I heard the crackle of a branch; I stopped and took my camera, perhaps that even this failed venture could give me the vision of a deer, a raccoon, a fox or coyote crossing the road, but no. They are very good these critters to hide in your land. Still, I continued with my camera ready on my way, and see that it was a happy sight that I had to get to the next bend in the road … a couple of cyclists coming down the road … “Hi there!, would you bring an air pump?” – “Here we go, yeah, of course”, and immediately one of them dismounted and lent me his air pump. I started to inflate my tire while we talked about forgetfulness and luck. Approached talked how good was that they begin later his ride, how their companions had not come that day, so they decided to do a long route, but they were already late. “Lucky for me,” I thought to myself. What a pleasure to know that today you can still count on others, they relied on an anonymous asking for support and I could count on their help in a place where there are usually no people for miles around. To say goodbye and thank you, get your good vibes and restart my return, riding again caused completely banished the anger and guilt for forgetting my air pump, but is something that I must take better account for next, I won’t stuck in there… I need to re-made all the negative, and turn it into positive, give it the value of the support that comes from still unknown who share a taste for riding, confident that help is on the way, and we just need to walk towards it instead of staying stopped lamenting, not get mad, or not to stay in the “angry mode”, but accept the consequences and take way, taking the lesson and keep it in the bag, I think that’s what it was worth on this occasion, and it was that gave more value to the unfinished trail to Tower 3.
So, as I said, I restarted my return, with much attention, as my two colleagues had continued their own way to the top, and I had no intention to punch again. I reached the broad road and taking care not to hit squarely on a stone (not to “sneaking bite” the new camera) I gained confidence and speed … I was approaching busiest routes, up to “Estacion bicicleta (bike station)” (which in turn deserve one or more blogs …) a new site that seeks to make us see that we can enjoy the forest, to share with it without having to destroy or indelible trace of our passage through it. Anyway, there was an oasis really. There were many cyclists who were terminating their own trails, then take the opportunity to ask again for an air pump to inflate entirely my tire and at last, and why not? Enjoy a tasty coffee pot, there among the trees beside the road, energy recovering for the last miles of the return.
That was how I rode that day, at the end the balance was positive, perhaps much more than I ever thought. Rode nearly thirty miles in the woods, about fifteen more in the city, I walked from one to two miles in the middle of my woods, I met new people, I asked for help and I offered my help, I rode alone, but together. Because thanks to the company of other cyclists it was that sooner rather than later I returned home.
So: to keep riding!