Things for small minds to ponder - Heidi Ho - CycleBlaze

July 3, 2012

Things for small minds to ponder

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I don't get people, or at least, I don't get Some People.

I have a t-shirt that says "half full" and has a half full glass of water on the front. Leo likes the shirt. But I wasn't trying to make a statement. I bought it for the trip because it is soft cotton and a dark color that won't show the dirt. Perfect for the evening, or to sleep in, after a long day of riding, when all I want to do is get out of my polyester riding clothes and be comfortable.

Recently I met a woman cyclist who seemed to be chronically half empty. When I told her I was planning to ride up Gottered pass she came up with every conceivable reason why I shouldn't make the attempt.

I'm condensing the conversation somewhat, but all of these questions were asked, at one point or another, some in succession...

"That's a long climb!" she said. "Are you sure you can make it?"

In fact, I wasn't sure. There are no guarantees, after all. "I think so," was my best response.

"How long is the climb? What is the elevation...."

Well, I didn't know that either, or much about the climb at all, except that it looked cool in pictures, with a lot of switchbacks and cobbles. That was what motivated me to climb it. It looked interesting. Though it was also on my route, which made it necessary.

My lack of knowledge seemed to confirm her suspicions that it couldn't be done, at least by me, that I was so ill prepared because I hadn't researched the particulars.

"I've done plenty of climbs before though." I added. "I rode across America, I'm sure I can handle it." I said, starting to feel defensive, and trying not to sound aggravated by her persistent "attitude."

"How do the climbs in America compare to this one? Are they similar elevations? This pass could be higher. Have you considered that?"

Again, I didn't know the numbers, and then there is the problem of converting feet of elevation to meters, and miles to kilometers. I didn't have a calculator handy, and didn't know the exact conversions anyway. While I ran the comparisons in my head she continued...

"What if you can't take the altitude? What if you get tired? What if you run out of water, or food? Do you carry enough food? What if you don't make it!? Are you sure you want to do a climb like that...."

Really, I hadn't thought about that at all. But by then I was tired of it, and it must have showed. "I'm going go climb it. I'm sure it will be fine," I said in a way that was definitive and that the discussion, or at least this line of questioning, was over.

To which she said something along the lines of, "I think it's great that you are climbing it, it's so brave of you, good luck...." and all kinds of other things that were inconsistent with the original statements.

But I thought about it later, and wondered why some people look at a challenge and only see problems?

If I can't make it to the top I can get one of the ubiquitous buses that roam every road in Switzerland, always available to pick up tired cyclists who have underestimated a climb. If I run out of water I can flag down a car, or find a spring, or simply suffer, justly, for not planning ahead. Heck, if I'm desperate I can turn The Trucker around and roll downhill to the start town and find a campsite, or get a hotel.

Some People are negative. They are not "half full". But if you live your life like that, you might as well just sit on the couch and wait to die.

It's curious? Maybe it's just fear? But I guess that's for small minds to ponder.

Today's ride: 118 km (73 miles)
Total: 2,265 km (1,407 miles)

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