Caffeine, Calories, and Testosterone
After three cups of tea, several extra Snickers bars, and a full hour of quoting Remember the Titans and 300 to myself, which is to say high on caffeine, calories, and testosterone, I am a god. I am 22 miles into the day. It is dusk. The hill I’m climbing is past 45 degrees. I am quite literally running up it. A cross between a Thoroughbred and a Budweiser Clydesdale.
Call me Secretariat from 1973, a fucking 10 kilogram heart beating in my chest. At Belmont Stakes I’ll leave the field over 30 lengths behind. Valves, chambers, pistons, drives–an air-cooled 90 degree V-twin engine, longitudinal crankshaft, not a growl, more like a purr, an Italian-made motorcycle doesn’t burn this smooth. How did I hear it described the other day? “In it.” I am fucking in it.
This is how the trail goes somedays. Dreams of power and precision, miles after miles, mountains without care or concern. And other times, I crawl. Placing the heel of one foot alongside the arch of the other, gaining all of 8 inches with a step. I’ve come to expect both, to know that these are the highs and lows along the roller coaster, and that most of the day will be spent somewhere between, in pleasant monotony.
As of writing this, I’m in one of Asheville’s cute cafés. Old Europe it’s called, and would you know it, is decorated with framed mirrors, low lighting, an original painting from 1964, and a young
girl with black curly hair by the window, reading and looking, withwhat can only be said by wayward lovers of a certain Jay Gatsby, “so cool.” She is breaking my heart. This is breaking my heart, but I love every second of it.
Nineteen days and 300+ miles, I’m moving right along towards Maine, but stepping off trail for a long weekend, taking my first zero day of no miles. Two friends from college are getting married Saturday. Meaning old friends, unlimited food, and ideally enough wine to make me dance in my beat-up trail runners and sweat stained t-shirt, which is to be my formal attire.
It’s beginning to rain. I don’t mind. I’m clean, and dry, and well fed. And like the thru-hiker I am, I carried am umbrella. Ever prepared. On to Sewanee, Tennessee and festivities, then back to the trail, and that’s not a bad thing.
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