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Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Twice in as many "attempts" I've ridden up Mt. Diablo without summiting.

This is actually quite an achievement - not a failure. My poor beaten and burdened psyche is plagued with unreasonable and frequent obligations. Obligations self imposed. I'm often setting myself up with self directed phrases like "die trying" and "quitting is not an option." No doubt my wife could pontificate an opinion from her safe distance.

There was a point where I told myself I would never ride the mountain without forcing myself to go the distance. A rare occasion when I had a specific route planned and an extraordinarily good reason for skipping the summit, might be my only exception. Starting out with the thought of reaching the summit and not arriving was "not an option."

I've been commuting to and from work once a week for some time now after a sabbatical resulting from an overambitious schedule, the birth of our second daughter, and a myriad of additional excuses to stay off the bike at 5:30 am on a week day.

The route has been varied to add miles. Other opportunities to ride, run, or hike have been dwindling, so my return to commuting has become my singular athletic outlet. The score of miles each way isn't enough of an outlet, so I've been adding around 40 miles on the evening ride home to push the typical 20 closer to 60.

It's not really all that hard to accumulate 60 miles. There are great roads for cycling here in the Bay Area and a little creativity can map a route of just about any distance desired. From Richmond through Orinda and Moraga, and then over to Mt. Diablo and home makes a route almost exactly 60 miles. Well - if I don't summit and just ride to the Ranger Station and back down that is.

And so with some minor variation, that has been my route twice and may end up being thus again. I didn't push for the top the first time because of dwindling daylight, and the second time was nothing more than I just wanted to go home. I knew I would have 60 miles and I was ready to be done. After all, a 20 mile ride in the dark was waiting for me the next morning.

I consider my choice to abandon a victory. That works for me. However, I'm afraid if I allow such excesses too many times, I may be forced to bolster my bravado with some random adventurous excess.

I must use caution.