Fatigue Limit – 11

Same location since 1852, Alpine Road and Arastradero Road.

The view inspired, and gave me peace of mind after the near miss. Puffy white clouds and blue sky made this experience an occasion upon which dreams are made. As much as the rides hurt during the climbs, seeing the valley’s sprawling fruit groves erased those thoughts on the way down. This road offered serenity to cyclists who mastered descending.

The racers focused on the road ahead and not much else. Even on the twisty turns, Gary stayed on Carl’s wheel. Other riders followed close behind as they chased for honors as best descender. I trailed the pack. I didn’t want to encounter another wagon going up the mountain, but obvious hazards did not concern the racers. They owned the road and nothing slowed the scorchers.

At Searsville Road [Arastradero Road] we turned left after everyone rejoined. Carl finished right behind Gary, who blew by on the flat section before the junction. Enlivened by the hair-raising plunge, the riders returned to being their sociable selves. They relived the descent while taking on the last climb to the turnpike. We rolled up to Chepete’s to enjoy a late-afternoon beer. Those of us who didn’t drink would draw down a sweet sarsaparilla.

Carl downed his brew in several gulps. He wiped his mouth of foam. “Gary is a strong climber, but he’s still learning on the descents. He’s going places.” Carl opened up after a few beers.

I drank my soda. “There’s a seven-day race in San Francisco coming soon. Gary should enter.”

“I hope not,” Carl objected. “That wouldn’t be smart.”

“Why not? He’s got speed.”

“He’s too young. He’d fall apart. Besides, those races are gladiatorial fights to the death. Last man standing. Fighting lions. These promoters disrespect real racing. Not that I love the sport. I had my fill of racing on my penny. Everyone is a cheat when they’re racing.”

Fatigue Limit home

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