Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Uphill


Tómas Guðmundsson is a well known Icelandic poet and writer (well known in Iceland at least).  One of his poems (Fjallganga or Mountain Climb) tells a tale of a young man scrambling his way to the top of a mountain. It's funny, but only if you know Icelandic (I'm not aware of an English translation).

A line in the poem says something along the lines of "landscape with names is so much more interesting than landscape without" - so true.   I was reminded of that yesterday when I joined two friends on a cycling trek to Clermont, which can only be described as the "Florida Alps". The hills might not be huge, but they are many, and nothing is flat for more than a tenth of a mile.
For 3 neverending hours we rode up one hill and down another, rinse lather repeat.
I kept asking Sue (the ring leader) the names of the hills, because to me they were big enough to be worthy of names. She kept replying "nothing" so I decided to name a few.
The first one I named Three Hump Camel hill, fitting because it was sort of 3 hills rolled into one. Next one up was Buckaroo hill, named so for the uneven pavement patchworked in a semi straight line.   Then there was Sweet Jesus hill, named after a sign close by. I liked that one because it was pretty much all downhill.
Sugarloaf Mountain was already named, and the picture of me with this post is taken just before I attacked was attacked by the hill. Oh how I wanted my good old Cannondale with a triple chain ring on the front when I was about a third of the way up.
Sugarloaf happens to be he highest point of Florida peninsula, standing proudly at 312 feet (95 meters) above sea level. It seems so very little when you type it out like that, but oh-so-very-much when you are standing at the bottom of that hill knowing you have to balance on two wheels and self-propel your ass up the thing.
The final hill was one in a quiet neighborhood named Skyridge or something like that, and there was this demon of a hill.  After struggling up that beast 3 times (not even ashamed to admit that I zig-zagged like a drunken sailor) I named that one "I-think-I-have-Asthma hill".
Thankfully it was mostly downhill back to the cars after that.  All in all an excellent workout in great company, on a beautiful day.
Unemployment doesn't get much better than this.

1 comment:

Kolbrun DeLux said...

Þú ert ótrúlega dugleg! Will Vote for you as my Idol in training!