Jim Redd's 12,00 ft Bicycle Masterpiece

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Cycle America/N, Jul 9, 2003.

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  1. Being a a fairly much published author myself, I find great joy in being able to share the following
    words with you. So far behind schedule that I don't know if he is going to make the Boise reception
    on time, Jim Redd is still having the time of his life out there in the mountains of southeastern
    Idaho. And he is able to communicate his enchanting experience with some pretty powerful writing --
    done so on a device that is a wee bit bigger your palm. Yahoo Jim:

    Leaning against a snowbank cooling my camelback July 7, 2003 Uintas Mountains, Utah Dear
    Pocketmail lady,

    It was worth the 2,000 ft hike up just to get this far from the nearest RV.

    Do you remember those patches of snow on Bald Mountain I described in my last letter? Well, believe
    it or not, I'm sitting on a rock in the sun at the 12,000 ft level leaning against one of them. It
    stretches about 100 yards on either side of me along the mountain and 50 ft or so above me. It is
    melting fast, feeding those gurgling streams I've enjoyed on the way up. Below me is a sheer 500 ft
    drop to a rock field. I have heard of snow slides in the mountains, have you? I thought of moving
    away for safety, but then I'm 61 years old and if this snowbank goes while I'm sitting here, it was
    meant to be. There are worse ways and less beautiful places to become one with the earth.

    My bicycle would be found at the trailhead, and when the snow melted my mangled remains would be
    discovered on the rocks. Among my possessions would be this Pocketmail device with this letter
    intact. "Altitude-Crazed Biker-Hiker Predicts Own Death!" On the other hand, if the snowbank doesn't
    go, despite my taunting, I will interpret it as a mandate that my life can be justified in some
    cosmic sense, and I have divine permission to continue stumbling through as before.

    Sorry for the self-indulgent philosophy, P.L. -- it must be the rarefied air. Or maybe the silence
    of the mountaintop (except for the whine of the wind), or the indescribable panorama of mountains,
    lakes, forest and sky spread before me.

    While I'm in this mood, I need to give credit where it is due. It may appear, Pocketmail Lady, that
    this journal is all about Jim. Well, that's because Jim is the only one here right now, ok? But
    let's get this straight, P.L.: **No one goes to the mountaintop alone**

    First and forever there's Marshia. I need say no more.

    Without my friends in the Chicago biking community, an amazing source of inspiration and
    information, I would not have the confidence for these human-powered adventures, so eccentric in the
    eyes of the world.

    And then there's the bicycle itself, an amazing invention which "takes me places I didn't even know
    I wanted to go, and shows me things I didn't know I wanted to see," to quote a woman whose name I
    forget right now, but I do know she biked alone across Mongolia. This miracle of appropriate
    technology has just brought me 7,000 ft above Salt Lake City in 3 days on a hot dog and sour cream
    chips, a pastrami sandwich, a plate of pasta and chicken, 3 apples, 2 peaches, 2 nectarines, a bag
    of freeze-dried organic cereal, 2 eggs and sausage, one banana, one bag of peanuts, and, lest I deny
    my dependence on the oil industry: 23 drops of T9 chain lube. Bicycle, I love you!

    And lurking somewhere back there are Barry Lopez, Edward Abbey, and John McPhee, giant literary
    loaves from whom I have gathered a few crumbs. {Would someone please submit that one for the Worst
    Metaphor of the Year Award? Thank you.)

    But wait! Here comes a more appropriate one: Granite mountains of men from whose valleys I have
    gathered a few pebbles. Yes, that's better.

    Jim on the Road "You can never own a mountain, but once you have bicycled up one, you at least feel
    like you've earned a few shares of stock."


    Subject: Mirror Lake, in reverse.

    Pocketmail Lady, I don't know where you are, or even if you are. I do know that others eavesdropping
    on our conversations are sitting in front of a computer, at work, probably. They are in the middle
    of a project, or writing a report, or doing a budget. Jim's ramblings from somewhere out in Utah are
    abstractions, to say the least, subject headings alighting in their inboxes uninvited. So there is
    no way I can even come close to communicating what I see right now on this little Pocketmail device,
    but I'll send a frame and maybe they can fill it in.

    From where I am standing, on this rock, I can see probably 100 miles in every direction! I see layer
    after layer of mountain ranges, disappearing in a pale blue wash. Below me are alpine lakes swathed
    in pine trees, including Mirror Lake itself; I can see the spot where I sat this morning with my
    coffee writing about this mountain, the lake itself now the size of that coffee cup. Cloud shadows
    move across the valleys like ancient landforms. The nearest mountains, to the east, are almost
    treeless, like this one, and are spotted with bright patches of snow.

    Closer, around me, are scattered uncountable stones, many untouched by human hands and hosting
    lichens which add their blues and greens to the purple alpine wild flowers tucked in among them, and
    blend harmoniously in the near distance, where the jagged rocks slash the sky. The entire scene is
    bathed in stark sunlight of such clarity it engraves the stones directly on your retina.

    I have biked many places, from Big Sur to the mountains of northern New Mexico to the South Americn
    Andes, and believe me when I say I have never witnessed such natural beauty.

    Ok? Enough? Got the outline? Fill it in with all those calendar photos you have seen of pristine
    mountain landscapes and you got it. Now get back to work!

    Jim on the Road Uintas Mountains, Utah


    Wasatch National Forest, Utah July 8, 2003

    Dear Pocketmail Lady, A second morning I sit in awe of the beauty of this place (with my cup
    of coffee, of course). Since I'm without a camera, I will try to draw you in, also, with a
    picture of words.

    I'm facing west across the lake. My shore is still in shadow but the other side, lined with old
    growth spruce, is in full sunlight. Above the serrated treetops rises the smooth form of Bald
    Mountain, arching across the cloudless sky. I can almost reach out and touch its perfect
    reflection in the lake, a few feet from where I sit. A fish breaks the surface, and then another,
    and the summit explodes in concentric, interlocking rings of color, which soon ripple on the rocks
    near my feet.

    A breeze skims the lake surface, and breaks the mountain colors into different shapes. Now the edges
    are jagged, alive with movement. Pieces of the mountain, some with the whites of snowpatches, some
    with the greens of juniper, drift out into the watercolor blue of the sky. And they, top, ripple on
    the rocks at my feet.

    There now, there's the cameraless picture. Can you see it?

    Now the sun is limning my side of the lake. I am fully saturated. I can leave now.

    Jim on the Road Next: Heading to Boise. But first, a 20-mile freewheel into Wyoming. Yee Haa!

    Camera-Free at Mirror Lake

    Local access to PocketMail mobile e-mail now available in Europe, North America & Australia

    Jim Redd can be found at: http://www.cyclechicago.org/pocketmail/jimredd.php His email on the road
    is: [email protected]

    If you want to start from the beginning and/or follow Jim our other NBG relay riders as they move
    forward in the National Mayors' Ride at
    <http://NationalBicycleGreenway.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/schedule.php>, point to their blog at
    <http://www.nationalbicyclegreenway.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/reports.php>. All of this excitement will
    al be consummated at the second annual Santa Cruz NBG Bike FestĀ  on Sunday August 17 c/:eek:

    btw: If you want to become a rider, we WANT you!! Go to
    <http://NationalBicycleGreenway.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/getstarted.php>, to find out how!! btw2: We
    have pictures from the various ride legs on line at
    http://www.nationalbicyclegreenway.com/gallery/2003Mayors btw3: If you want to see who these
    cyclists are, go to <http://www.nationalbicyclegreenway.com/Events/Mayors_Ride/bios>.

    MARTIN KRIEG: "Awake Again" Author c/o BikeRoute.com 79 & 86 TransAms, nonprofit Nat. Bicycle
    Greenway CEO Ever wanted anything so bad U were willing to die for it? Really die? By moving thru
    clinical death and reversing paralysis, *I saw God* when I answered that question.

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