Thursday, April 7, 2016

Coasting to Glory

San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm, near Palm Springs, CA
Some days, trying to write seems like pedaling uphill into a headwind. I've had a couple of those days this week, time wasted battling computer apps instead of getting words on the paper.

Then comes a great day when all the apps just work, the words come easily, and you seem to have a tailwind pushing energy into your tired fingers.

The following story from Kenneth Cummings' Meant To Be Here might have been custom-written to illustrate this kind of day: 

The finest downhill run I've ever ridden on the bike was from Beaumont, California to just west of Palm Springs. My 26-mile descent took in a couple of miles on the Interstate 10 shoulder, a couple of miles of highway frontage with a bit right on CA Route 111, and a whole lot of a semi-abandoned frontage road used only by cyclists.

The route dropped half a mile from San Gorgonio Pass to nearly sea level in that 26 miles. With a 40-plus-MPH tailwind powering me (the same way it does the turbines on the area's extensive wind farm), I covered the entire distance from summit to the edge of Palm Springs in one hour exactly.

I kept my feet propped up on the bottom bracket of the bike to maintain the purity of the run. A couple of bicyclists, their bikes on a car-top rack, spotted me from their car on the highway, and slowed down on the Interstate shoulder to give me a rousing cheer.

On the other hand, the return trip pedaling a fully-loaded touring bike uphill into the teeth of that wind would be next to impossible. I happily accepted a ride back up to the summit of the pass from a young pick-up driver. 

Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? I got to ride downhill both ways!

When you get your mind into the right place, it can be easy to write, speeding along to the cheers of others, relaxed and happy, and full of momentum. The secret, as Ken pointed out, is to accept help over the tough spots, so you can coast downhill, both ways.  

Word Count: Day 7 Session 1: 1550; Session 2: none so far
Word Count Total: 30,866 words