i hit the base of legget hill some time in the middle of the day, after forty miles mostly along 101, sun hammering overhead, curves hills and miniscule to nonexistent shoulders. my legs burning and cars coming past so fast (jay-z running through my head with each shoulder hugger windwhip: "thats so unnecessary"), the sun hitting 100 and me in the beginnings of sun exhaustion delirium am starting to see the shoulders accompanying neck and head ghostly, a giant bald rodin head gliding along the freeway next to me, slowly turning and winking sly while no one else is looking. weird. right before legget took a stop in a swimming hole, preparing for the pair of hills that both of my maps refer to as infamous: legget, a five mile 1800 foot climb up winding CA1, then a screaming descent abruptly stopped by rockport, a steeper grade 700 foot.
legget up is actually a total joy: just remembering the inevitability of the end allowed me to simple keep pedaling, lowest gear and just every time one leg goes down do the same with the next leg. over and over, forever and ever, but not: cause it ends. nothing is unedurable when you know when its going to end. only the sun threatening my morale, blinding burning patches aaaa, so stand up and push through to return to the shady shade. sweat staining my eyes, wipe it away, constant, annoying, lord, breathe. the summit itself snuck up on me, a smooth leveling out and then a half mile or so of winding about on the top, simple, trees, simple.
its on the way down that things started to get trippy; my sinuses going crazy, drip drip and my face burned, and then the ride down wind and down down down fast so fast so fucking WIND! the wind is hitting me in the eye, already stung with sweat, and maybe my eyelids are burnt?...because what starts to happen is i start crying, and the tears are burning my eyes. i wait and cool down and make sure its not sweat, and its not, its the tears themselves, tiny alcohol razor tears bring my eyes to a burn as i ride down fast fast fast wind and goddamn eye sting ow! what the hell. maybe the sun has actually sunburnt me unformed tears? i hit the bottom and lay in the shade with my last roadside nectarine, watch the sticky sweet run down my hand and realize that my right hand is almost completely numb. my senses kind of swirling together as i sing "nature boy" to the sight of impossible colored sun coming through the trees.
then back up, and relentless california right back at it with the second hill, shorter but steeper, and my mind is all over the place, the burn in my eye leaking into my thoughts mesmerized by my shadow against the white highway line. and never the top, but keep pedaling and no single moment is unendurable. nothing is unedurable. it starts to get cold, i think, but i cant honestly tell, so confusing the wind and sun and shade and sweat. this: is: exhaustion, delirious, and let out some screams and some coughs involuntray noises out of control body shaking. just like an intense ecsatsy roll, i swear. one eye seared shut with tearbrun, lungs lunging, but okay, just slow and steady and now some awful minor bass line is running obssessed through my head. bum bum bummmbuymbmb.
until: the top, again, and down, this time even fassssster scary down wind hoooooooooooowl, and thats great so high so high.
and then the bottom of the hill, one last curve around and vision is
~the pacific ocean~
sudden, waves and rocks crashing eternal. SLAM! a wall of sight. rode along so slow aching wonderful, watched the ocean energy gone smiling.
finally stopped in westport, 75 miles, stopped and treated myself to a motel room with an hour long shower and red wine with the cork pushed in. and 50 issues of "people" neatly stacked on the bedside table, and katie and tom are happy too.