Monday, September 5, 2011

Conquering 'Surprise Hill'

Some of you may remember a post about "Surprise Hill" a long while back; the hill stands as a seemingly insurmountable obstacle on the Silver Comet Trail between Rockmart and Cedartown.

An early evening bike ride ended badly there for AA.

That was Then.

This summer was extremely busy for Ab - what with The Great Escape in Colorado and a plethora of other camps to attend - it left me feeling that AA needed some adventure.

He and I have been semi-plotting and weighing the options of an Homeric quest to travel the Silver Comet Trail from Rockmart, Georgia to Oxford, Alabama.  This trip would probably require an overnight camp along the trail and the arrangement for some transportation back home.

As a first step toward this monumental task, we decided to take a late Sunday afternoon ride from Rockmart to Cedartown just to test our mettle.

We stocked up on some supplies - sunflower seeds, apples, water and the like; arranged with R. for a pick up in Cedartown, and headed for the trail.

Face Your Fears.

That is a lesson I have hoped to demonstrate - and eventually teach - our children.  AA and I both knew that there were some tremendous climbs ahead of us. And we knew that on the other side of one of those climbs was a pretty steep downgrade.  He still bore some scars from the last encounter with that downgrade.

I could sense a little angst in my son, but to his credit he stayed the course.

Too Much Time to Think.

Like a timeout called by the opposing team to give the rookie field-goal kicker time to think:  we hit a delay.

We waited out a small summer thunderstorm in a tunnel. 

The thunder and lightning passed and (we thought) the rain as well.
So we headed back on the trail only to be drenched by a deluge.

We decided that it wasn't so cold once you got completely wet, so we embraced our struggle and pressed on through the rain.
We counted rabbits, turkeys and deer and the numbers climbed as the trail edges away from the main roads at a community called "Fish Creek".

We had never traveled some of this stretch so it was an interesting ride.  The rain finally subsided and we soon found ourselves in the throes of an ascent to about 1,000 feet above sea level. . .  "Surprise Hill".

We had been there before, we knew what to expect only this time, AA was determined to pedal up the hill without pausing to walk his bike as he had done the other time we traveled this path.

We approached every hair-pin curve with caution - not knowing if it would be the one that would suddenly "surprise" us.

Finally, we made it to the pinnacle.  I was in the lead and turned back to call to AA to brake and proceed with caution.  My call was met with a responding yell, "Dad! Stop! STOP!".
I complied and waited for him to catch up.

"let me go first" he said.

I bowed to his courage.  I knew just why; he needed to defeat that hill without my clearing the path and showing him it was safe.

He made it.

And eventually we completed the approximately 14 mile ride in Cedartown.

We celebrated with some sunflower seeds and basked in the glory of having proven something to ourselves.

It was one of the most enjoyable events of the summer for me.

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