Thursday, March 11, 2010

Going to the chapel...

A lot of people think it was Steve's idea to get married at the end of a 100 mile, mountain climbing bike ride but in was mine. It was so poetic - the hills, the valleys, obvious metaphors for the shared lives of marriage. I loved it; I was so caught up in the metaphor that I totally neglected to think about the reality. Which isn't really that unusual for people contemplating marriage. I think most everyone tends to be somewhat starry eyed and in love or why contemplate marriage in the first place, right?

Me though, I wasn't starry eyed about marriage, I was starry eyed about my metaphor. My century, 11,000ft of climbing -bike ride. It wasn't until the night before the ride, as I lay sleepless for hour after hour, did I realize that I was insane; insane yes, and stupid. Steve lay snoring next to me; content probably in the knowledge that he'd not only done this ride before, but he'd ridden in the alps, done three ironman races and countless century rides. There was no sleep for me....

I had only done one century, and it didn't include 11,000ft of climbing. Our marriage century was called Mountains of Misery - really, what is there to add to that? It is the hardest century on the east coast - the last four miles are considered a Hors Category, which in english means damn near impossible even if you do have a mountain bike cassette on your rear wheel. I was sleepless and petrified. I was definitely 'in a fix' since our family and friends would be waiting at the top of that last Hors Category to see us climb it and then to see us get married. I couldn't very well back out could I?

So how was it you ask? It was literally a nightmare. I was exhausted before I got on my bike and only got more tired as the day progressed. By mile 40 I was complaining regularly, by mile 60 I was threatening to quit and at mile 80 (which sadistically or conveniently depending on your point of view -includes a rest stop in the parking lot where the ride starts) I took off my shoes, my helmet and tried hard to quit. Steve, never the most empathic person - "well if you want to be a quitter".....I mean really who could quit after that?

The irony of this is that my metaphor really turned out to be more accurate and true than I ever could have imagined. The hills were brutal, painful and sweaty. The heart stopping descents terrifying. We saw the worst of each other, I complained and tried to quit, he was impossible, impatient and nonempathetic. We fought, I cried, he yelled and at the end of it all, we got married.