When things are going well all the higher functions come out to play. I breeze along on a warm day feeling gratitude, wonder, love, a sense of unity, a sense of peace, and a sense of well being. Today is not that day. Those higher realms of pleasure are stripped away by the cold gusty headwind and hard rain, and the effort of climbing 2200 feet in those conditions. My inner clothes are soaked from sweat and my rain gear is soaked from rain. Stopping for more than two minutes is not an option because I start shivering.
I keep going because I have no other options. The reality is survival. Hypothermia is a 10 minute rest away. I struggle to stay clear headed and to balance pace for body warmth with slowness for endurance. I cannot mess up.
The old road becomes so steep and the headwind so persuasive, that for 5 kilometers I push the bike uphill, achieving small goals with a minute rest reward.
At the peak is an albergue. It must be open, and thankfully it is. But I cannot decide if I should bring the bike inside or just walk in. But should I walk in all wet or shed wet layers outside? Can’t decide. Can’t decide. I know what is happening so I just do something, walk in. Water streams from my clothes- inner and outer- and onto the tile floor. My numb fingers fumble with the soaked currency, almost everything is soaked.
I’m better now, a hot shower and some food later. I dry everything while sitting on top of the clothes dryer for warmth, and singing for attitude.
No photos. Today was too real. The camera crew quit. The wind howls around the albergue now, shaking the windows and making the doors rattle. The human animal survived and withdraws until needed again. His home is dark and hard to see into, but I know his name.