Wonted fuckedtacular inaugural pedaling day, I just get exuberant and silly. Exiting Quito embarrassingly easy, what with detailed MotionX iPhone maps and GPS, should have suspected karmic treachery. Aimed for the volcano via the little used northern approach, from Sangolqui through Rumipamba. 7ish hours small ring climbing on cobble and dirt, sustained by bemusement and a coffee, two croissants, a tangerine, spaced out over the effort, then the sun setting, then as happens the perfect moon rising, I call to it breath puffing white, give it messages to pass along. (Cotopaxi in a crack in the clouds.) Wobbly chapped lips dry eye telescoping vision, tiny icicle misting at 13-five now, maybe figgur possibly time to set up camp. Thick slow fingers, why bother digging out the gloves with views like this?, wrestle tent in darkness I’m sure I can just do it by feel, even though I’ve had it in slight excess of a week. Zipped in, I’m not shivering anymore that’s an improvement, the dinner plan is a whitebread roll I put aside when I perceived this inevitability, digging already too into the peanut butter jar. No water, ran out of that somewhere around two hours ago. Fall asleep.
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Three subsequent days among peaks and cloudscape corrugations, rarely under ten thousand feet, back up to thirteen a few times over the spans of sunshine. But mostly I’m in a twilight, an orbital trance, sifting snap of dirt and sand, forearms, wrists, neck must ache, weather pendulum that I neglect in my absenting into a singularity, “…no pilgrimage without suffering.” I’m in short sleeves, sheening sweat on climbs exactly at threshold where if I push harder breathing goes feral, orthogonal. Wild growling descents instantly needle burn cold. Hours at a crawl, some trigger makes me corporeal enough to blame the altitude, the headwind, the pitch, the dirt, the Pugsley, hunger, myself my self but all of these eventually vapor into the blue patches above. Standing at the edge of Quilotoa, crater lake like an open astral door, the temperature is dropping so, in relief?, I turn away to find shelter.