All spring I trained for an event that takes place every year on the Fourth of July. My winter bout with bronchitis and my grad school chub left me weak and sluggish, unfit for the task ahead, but I trained hard anyway. I rode my bike to the point of collapse, practiced yoga to improve my core strength, cut back on sweets. Nothing was going to stop me from riding 2,000 feet up the hill this year for the annual pancake breakfast in Jamestown, Colo.
We wanted to get an early start to beat the heat on the way back down the hill, so we were out the door at 7a.m. I had a light breakfast; it’s no good to ride on a full stomach, and besides, I wanted to save room for pancakes.
No one was out at first, but when we hit the start of the climb we knew it would be crowded. Cars with bike racks lined the entrance to Left Hand Canyon, and we dodged fellow cyclists spilling onto the road as they unloaded their bikes and donned their helmets.
Even though I’d drafted off of Jeremy up to that point to conserve energy, my knee was aching from the repeated pedal strokes, and I had to slow up to do my awkward-looking, contorted on-bike AT-band stretch. But I could practically smell the pancakes, so I ignored the pain, rode through it, sacrificed my knee for the promise of indulging in fluffy mapley goodness ahead.
People passed me — fit people on sleek road bikes, like mine. I passed others: a couple on a tandem pedaling furiously around a steep corner, two thin girls on carbon copies of my Specialized Ruby (“Nice bikes, ladies!”), people on mountain bikes, people on squeakers, creakers, people who perhaps only ride to Jamestown once a year and only for this occasion.
Now I was hungry. Need drove me, sped my cadence. I sat on Jeremy’s wheel and chased up the hill until we saw the line of hungry cyclists and heard the live bluegrass music pouring over huge griddles and crowded tables in Jamestown’s tiny park.
We had arrived.
Never in my wildest dreams of the Jamestown Pancake Breakfast did I imagine blueberry cakes. It was too hopeful, too outrageous. But there stood a woman with a spatula asking:
“Blueberry or buttermilk?”
I had done it. I had met my goal, my training hadn’t been in vain. I gleefully tore off my cycling gloves and gave my blueberry pancakes an even but light dousing of maple syrup. After all, my next goal is to haul my cookies up to Ward on two wheels by the end of the summer. But Ward’s myriad eccentricities make it another story for another day.