Otto Miller – March

Each month when we do the Otto Miller ride more and more people show up. We started this ride on a whim for the purpose of getting to ride with others, for the excuse to get out and ride our bicycles more. They hear about it through friends, they are excited to come out and ride with a great group of people. And a great group of people it is.

There is something that happens each and every time we start climbing. Silence, or at the very least human voices replaced by the crunch of rock under tires. How quickly a chatty ride full of laughs and jokes takes a left and becomes a quiet plod for the top. Conversations and catching up can and will be done when the common goal of a peak is reached.

But knowing all this is futile because at some point up this climb your thoughts will be broken by this statement:

“How much further to the top?”

It is a valid question coming from someone new to the ride. Otto Miller Road is almost 6 miles of dirt road going uphill. This past week the words were uttered by J. Crow and it was the only time I’ve felt a pang of compassion for the person who spoke it. Only for a second and only because he had one gear. But the moment passed as soon as he stood up and rolled away from the rest of the geared cyclists.

“How much further to the top?”

Other times the statement comes from the seasoned veterans, rhetorically spoken to break the curse of that never-ending road. Usually it is followed by a little chuckle or sly smile as they effortlessly slide past on your right. It is easy to round a corner thinking that it will be your last and have that not be the case at all. The dense tree cover combined with the roads ability to snake its way up the side of the hill make it difficult to judge. Multiple trips up do nothing to help with this disorientation.

“How much further to the top?”

More often then not this statement comes from within. A mental checklist comes up of the places that you have been, slowly eliminating each one and thereby placing yourself closer to the top. The spot where the dog chased you last time. It dips and then jumps sharply up at one section. The flat corner with the house offers a moment of respite, and that is about half way.

It is easy to forget the pain of the hill once you reach the top. More than a few people that have struggled up that hill, myself included, and have then ventured forth that they never want to do it again. And more often than not we find these very same people standing in the sunshine outside our door when that time of the month rolls around. How easy it is to forget how much it hurts.

The next of the Monthly Otto Miller Rides happens April 21st – 12:30pm.