Wednesday, May 26, 2010
As we approached downtown on Congress Ave, conditions improved slightly. The last few miles were downhill, and as retail increased on the sides of the road, traffic slowed down and we were traveling nearly the same speed as the cars around us. At last our view of the horizon opened up again as we came near the bridge over the Colorado River. Downtown Austin was laid out before us, the shining golden statue of The Goddess of Liberty tall above the Capitol Building directly in front of us. Unabashed tourists that we are, we stopped a passing hipster and had the reluctant young man take our picture with the skyline in the back ground.
A short few blocks through downtown brought us right to the grounds of the Capitol Building, thick with tour groups and herds of children in matching t-shirts on field trip excursions. We spent the better part of an hour sightseeing, gawking at the buildings and getting in the way of traffic. Checking the time, we decided it was time to be on our way to make it to our host's house before evening, and we mounted our bicycles for the very last leg of our journey.
It was horrible. For those of you from the Triangle area, imagine biking down Capital Blvd at rush hour. Horrible traffic, angry drivers, small lanes, multi-lane roads and large hills were the prominent features. My memory of this stretch is a blur of roaring engines, gaudy signs, and strip mall after strip mall, one indistinguishable from the next.
My already sour mood worsened. I hated the traffic. I hated the road. I was angry with Adam for locking himself into the U-haul. I was angry with Karen for forbidding me to head on alone. I was angry at the stupid hills for not being flat.
In any endevaour, attitude is crucial to performance, and as my attitude darkened, my body began to fail. My shoulders hurt, my butt hurt, I was tired, my legs began to cramp. I had climbed the Rockies, cresting the continental divide with burning legs and scorched lungs, but with a smile on my face. In the suburban hills of Austin, I finally broke. Like an evil feedback loop, my thoughts and my environment fed each other and I spiraled downward as we trudged on.
I was sick of it. It was all over and I wasn't ready to be done. I was being forced to quit halfway through, and now I had to sit here in Austin for a week while Adam visited old friends and toured the sights of his childhood. I hated the thought of it and I grew sullen and bitter. It had only been a few hours since we arrived, and I already hated Austin.