Ballad of a First-Timer on the Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb
In May it seemed a lark
In June I paid the fee
July my training hit the mark
Then August came to be.
I had an early meal of eggs
Then drove to Pinkham Notch
With time to stretch and warm my legs
And fasten on my watch.
The volunteers had things in hand
And got me set to race
The toilets were in high demand
As bikers swarmed the base.
My bike, a rental, pedaled fine
Red Jersey did me proud
Now crowded at the starting line
My heartbeat seems so loud.
The gun goes off and so do I
Amid the bright-clad throng
The first hill’s steep, but spirit high
I’m feeling good and strong.
The first mile’s quick, the second too,
(I drop my bottle, have to stop)
But soon am back and climbing true
I hear I’m halfway to the top.
Alas, the pace begins to tell
My shirt is soaking wet
Above the trees a long steep spell
I hope I’ll get there yet.
The bikes ahead they look so small
And so much higher still
I wonder if I’ve hit the wall
And hope I don’t take a spill.
A flatter part, I have a drink
The road’s no longer rough
My chain keeps moving, link by link,
My low gear’s (just) low enough.
I see the railway’s gray-black cloud
The summit’s coming near
I hear the cheering of the crowd
Why won’t the finish line appear?
I’m at the final, chalk-marked climb
My breath is nearly out
My vision’s closing in and I’m
There! At last! I wish that I could shout!
My wife appears, I get a kiss
I drink a quart, two, three
The true reward is lasting bliss
The mountain’s part of me.