Monday, February 22, 2016
The After Hours
______THE MOUNTAIN is home to a formidable road with a terrifyingly steep climb on one side, and a long, winding climb on the other. I had heard rumors of cyclists adventuring their way up and down this epic landmark, but had never imagined myself being able to tackle such a challenge. To me, it was mere folklore: I heard whisperings of it but did not necessarily believe it to be real.
______That being said, when the local bike dads decided to take a naive little Ali up it one day, you could say I was rather wide-eyed when I saw it looming in the distance.
______As we approached it, the clouds became heavy and dark, lightning cracked across the sky like a whip, and an eerie witch's laugh echoed from the top of it. The blackest crow swooped before us carrying the limb of a man, cawing menacingly as it disappeared into the forested edges of the road. I glanced to my left and saw "REDRUM" carved feverishly into a tree. A suffocating fog began to permeate the area...
______Totally not exaggerating. You should have been there.
______The five of us approached the hill, ignoring the sinister skies and symbolic foreshadowing that only I apparently remembered. We were ready. Or maybe we weren't, but we had no choice at this point.
______And so the journey up THE MOUNTAIN began.
______One of the bike dads mentioned his need for motivational music to cycle his way up THE MOUNTAIN: specifically, jamming out to the Rocky theme. This bike dad is who I like to call Papa John's, for the first time I met him he donned a white, green, and red bike jersey that screamed "Italian carb wheel." Pizza stylin' to the nth degree. In his younger years, dear old Papa John's ran carrying the Olympic torch, and because of that I feel kind of terrible demoting such a patriotic citizen to a chain pizza joint.
______He's even got a tattoo on his arm of a torch. Hashtag just dad things.
______Traffic Cone was following Papa John's in another one of his terrifyingly bright neon jerseys, and the Terminator was huffing and puffing right next to him. The Terminator was aptly named due to a tiny mirror that stuck out from one side of his shades, almost as if it could be moved over his eye so he could see through walls, zoom in on enemy targets, and shoot lasers to heat water and prepare pasta al dente. I like to think it's used for good. Good meaning pasta.
______So there we all were: me, Northern Lights, Papa John's, Traffic Cone, and the Terminator. Cycling pals for life.
______The base of THE MOUNTAIN is likely the most strenuous, not only because you know you're about to bike up a most dreadful hill, but also because the hill starts on a flat surface and immediately rises to an incline, giving you no momentum with which to begin. After climbing up this initial incline and managing to cycle around an awkward road curve, the grade gets a little less steep and you've got one thing in your mind: just keep peddling.
______For a solid two miles. Your legs burn like they're being pricked by hot needles on the inside, your shades get fogged up from body heat, and you intermittently stand up and sit down so your rear end doesn't go numb. You become interested with the trash on the side of the road as well as wondering the story as to how a couch became wedged in a rocky crevice. You look at your speedometer and note you're going a wimpy nine miles-per-hour; the recorded distance increases in sluggish increments of 0.01 miles.
______But eventually you reach the summit, de-mount your bike, and stretch your jellied legs: the hill overlooks a valley of trees, homes, and even part of the city. You admire the view while adrenaline rushes through (what feels like) your ripped calves.
______And then, you have done it. You have evolved into a true MOUNTAINeer.
Jacket: Forever 21 (similar)
Top: Charlotte Russe (similar)
Bow choker: Valfré
Heels: Jeffrey Campbell
Studded bracelet: Charming Charlie
Rose Earrings: Charming Charlie