Facing Da Bear

It was a normal morning, like most for me while living in California. The air was crisp with the hint of sun rays peeking through the cloudy horizon. I gathered my cycling gear, inflated my tires, and started to pedal. As my pedal stokes grew more in sync with the ambient alternative rock softly humming from my headphones, I regained that feeling from the first time I rode a bicycle without training wheels. Although my destination was known, my heart skipped a beat not knowing the adventure that laid ahead.

I rolled up to meet a friend at the local coffee shop around 9am. He was patiently awaiting my arrival, jittery from the multitude of espressos he had downed during my absence. We made small talk, clipped our helmets back on, and headed East. The road was filled with social chatter, a few other cyclists graced our presence, and the odd family straggled past like a swarm of intoxicated bees.

Considerably less than an hour, I was faced with a "Road Closure Sign" that prevented or in this case stalled motorized vehicles from entering past this make shift barricade. This was it, I thought to myself, "The Bear".

"The Bear" and I have a long history together. At first our meetings had always been joyous, but during the middle of May, that's when things took a turn for the worst. It was a cruel set of circumstances that led to the temporary demise of our fruitful relationship. But here we were, staring down each other, as if an illegal Cock Fight was about to take place. Sure my feathers were still ruffled, and the internal scaring will replay over and over in my mind for the rest of my life, but I was ready to size up my opponent, and go for the kill.

Legend would have you believe that on that fateful day, "The Bear", unleashed it's prowless powers and mysteriously made the road vanish right before my eyes. The disappearing road quickly turned into a gravel ditch. Regardless if this turn of events actually happened, only two people will fully know the truth.

I let my cadence lead me up the mountainside, with an enlightened feeling of satisfaction. The wind was angry that day, as if to have some sort of secret alliance with "The Bear". Knowing that I had to prove myself, if not to the world, at least to my family, I pushed deep. I continued to conquer "The Bear", at which point I pushed on and conquered its dirty half cousin "Camp 9". The feeling of this amazing feat will never be able to be written in any word form, for I had rejoiced at the top of the mountain. My celebrations quickly diminished as I knew that the disappearance of the road has only happened on the cold windy descent. I looked up to the sky to ask for assistance. I'm sure he heard me, but the ominous clouds creeping over the adjacent mountaintops flooded the sky with darkness and doubt.

Once again I tightened my helmet, and let my speed start gaining ground. "The Bear", knew I was coming for him, and he did everything he could to make my ride back down another memorable one. As the dark clouds chased me down, I maneuvered my bicycle back and forth around fallen rocks from a landslide caused by a recent forest fire. As the large boulders appeared to be jumping at my bike, I handled my machine with a carefree finesse that allowed me to always be one step ahead of "The Bear". As the end grew closer and closer, I refrained from showing any emotion. It was just me and "The Bear". As I zoomed past the "Leaving Angeles Forest" sign, my heart swelled up which made it hard for me to breathe. I had conquered the very beast that had taken me mentally out of the game. I proved that I had no problem jumping right back int the ring, and going the distance,

After defeating "The Bear", I feel that there's nothing else that can stand in my way.