Monday, August 20, 2007

Inconceivable II !

It's not supposed to happen THIS way either!

People aren't supposed to take up cycling after years of a sedentary lifestyle, and then climb a Colorado fourteener after only three months of active bicycling -- especially grandmothers!

And yet my friend SuperNana did it!

For the record, she is Howard's virtual twin sister, born only five hours after Howard -- in the same time zone even. Shown above, she is raising her precious granddaughters, Cricket and Peanut, is married to a man who calls himself Popeye, and they all now ride bicycles together. A true American success story if you ask this cycling junkie!

You can even read her new blog here. She was inspired by reading the blog by Howard's best girl to start one of her own. And it rocks. You've set a pretty high standard so far, SuperNana. Let's see how long you can keep it up!

But back to the story of a grandmother climbing a Colorado fourteener on a bike.

SuperNana has been actively training as a budding cycling superstar under the watchful supervision of Coach Deadhead, who helped transform his wife, BikePrincess, into the cycling royalty she is today. SuperNana had done most of the same rides the rest of us old pros have done these past few months, even though many of those rides have been Category I and HC classification. Along the way, she discovered she occasionally suffers from exercise-induced asthma. Long arduous climbs on a bicycle will do that to a person.

A couple weeks ago, another member of Club Hypoxia, Sunshine, announced that she wanted to climb Mt. Evans, elevation 14,270' -- a goal of hers since the year began. And this is remarkable because Sunshine has struggled with a debilitating fear of heights. The paved road to the su
mmit of Mt. Evans has no shoulder nor guardrails, and some of the pavement edges are missing, as they plunge off into oblivion. So, yeah, she screwed up her courage, announced her intentions to take on the beast, and wanted to know who would ride with her. Howard immediately said he would. Deadhead and BikePrincess said they were in. BMcLaughlin, a cycling maniac if ever there was one, joined up too.

And then the least likely person in Club Hypoxia to volunteer to suffer miserably up a mountain such as Mt. Evans... volunteered. SuperNana was in? Yes she was!

So up we all went last Saturday, Aug. 18. We rode together for the first couple of miles until Howard and Deadhead announced that they would do "hill repeats" of Mt. Evans, and off they went. Hill repeats? I'll explain later. As the ride went on, the other four began to separate out as well.

Except for BMcLaughlin and SuperNana. SuperNana told BMc that he could go on, but he said he would rather ride with her. BMc talked to SuperNana as they rode. And as the air got thinner and the need for every precious oxygen molecule increased, they both noticed she wasn't talking too much. Still, she asked him to keep on talking. Which he did. Around every switchback, up every incline, SuperNana kept pushing those pedals and BMc kept on talking.

Until they were near the top.
That's when they saw their four fellow Club Hypoxians riding down to greet them and ride the final miles to the summit with them. That's what Deadhead and Howard meant by hill repeats of Mt. Evans, by the way. They rode back down to meet and ride back up with each team member until everyone was on top of the world.

And as SuperNana reached the top of the world, an inconceivably impossible achievement that had stressed her out so badly that she couldn't sleep the night before, Howard was videotaping her achievement and told her, "we made it!" At that point, SuperNana couldn't hold it in anymore -- the fears, the doubts, and all the stress and worries she had suffered stoically and silently, it all began to pour out.

Howard immediately turned off his videocamera, but then later, SuperNana gave him permission to post this amazing 13-second video of one person's realization that she just achieved something she would have once thought impossible...

SuperNana, you are an inspiration to all of us, not just because you are a super Nana to your granddaughters, and not because you are a remarkable and talented bicyclist, but because you are a super person, and we're glad you're our friend!

Left to right: Howard, Sunshine, BMcLaughlin, Deadhead, BikePrincess, SuperNana

And now for the question: If she's this good after only three months, how good can she be?


Blogger SueJ said...

Life simply insists upon being blogworthy, eh? Old & Young... and those of us somewhere in between...


8:26 AM, August 20, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful story, well told! Thaks Howard.

dporter (Doug)

9:21 AM, August 20, 2007  
Blogger HRlaughed said...

A beautiful story, well lived by SuperNana! Thanks, Sue and Doug. Some stories just roll off the fingertips...

9:27 AM, August 20, 2007  
Blogger HRlaughed said...

And Doug... when are you going to show up for one of our Hypoxian rides? Deadhead keeps telling the story of meeting you at Triple Bypass, and the story is now getting kinda stale...

11:05 AM, August 20, 2007  
Blogger Kin said...

Very nice story.

11:35 PM, August 20, 2007  
Blogger Kent & Bobbie said...


What a great story. I really enjoy reading your posts about cycling and it appears you are inspiring all kinds of people to ride, even your son. That picture of all of you at 14K feet is great. Maybe I can get out there before the snow (oops, bad word, I know)comes back!

v/r Mozam

1:04 PM, September 04, 2007  

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