The Gods Were Angry

FTC12_75045

The Shenandoah 100 is a 100-mile mountain bike ride with 16,000 feet of climbing.  We five warriors and about 600 other support troops were here to take a shot at the ride: Mike B., Patty, Siobhan M., Bob T. and Charlie B. represented our clan. We were true warriors and our King gave us instructions to carry the gift of light and water of life through the demonic forest to a village under attack on the other side of the mountain. The village was like a secret garden in a fantasy tale – a place that no one else knows about.  This is perfect little spot of harmony that is filled with fictional characters and ways of life- like the hobbits in the Shire.  We could dream here in our little private secret garden if we made it through the battle.

As valiant warriors we felt the excitement of the ensuing battle but even in this knowledge we were unprepared for the anger of the gods and the maelstroms they prepared for us.  They would laugh at us in our trials and tribulations. The forest held:  witches, ghost dancers, demonic gnomes, poisonous flying elves, wicked snakes, shape shifting demonic animals, borgs, demonic voices from the underground and the like.  So on to our ride:

IMG_1655

 

 

Sunday morning at 4 AM we were awakened into the darkness before the sun raised its golden head above the horizon, had coffee to start the engines, grabbed something to eat and made the final adjustments to the Steel steeds we would be riding for the next 15 to 16 hours. By 6 Am we saw it was going to be a demonic morning. Our ride started in the darkness of early morn under a dark canopy of thick clouds that had thrown us a soupy mix of extreme humidity and heat.  Charlie was given the gift of life to deliver and we were to support him by covering his back. Charlie could fly, that was his gift, he could fly on the wind.

We started the ride by mounting our steel steeds.  They were well maintained racehorses that snorted fire and brimstone. Our powerful steeds were nervous to get out of the gate as they loved to run free, away from the confines of the stables.  They were fearless, so we had to hold them back.  It was those steel steeds that would carry us for our 100-mile. We would run our steeds up and down the hills and race them through the streams and narrow single tracks.  So we brave five, rode onward, through a network of spindly trails and dirt lanes into the land where the shadows ran from themselves- this is land of death.

IMG_1665

 

 

As soon as we entered the thick forest we were consumed by the heat and humidity.  It swirled around us and entered our lungs and it was heavy- I was loosing the life giving water of life faster than I could drink of it and I was being sucked into the soft ground below– I started to feel hopeless- a curse of the forest gods, wow so early on I was fearful. Along the way our support troops were falling to the pain and suffering of the forest demons.  We saw the results of their battles.  We saw their broken weapons: (bottles, tubes, derailers), along the way.  It looked like they put up a fieriest battle but they were destroyed. The forest hid the keys to magic.  Stones came to life in the form of little gnomes, Rocks changes into sharks with sharpened teeth, weird sounds would flow in and to of reality to confuse ones mind.  Unfortunately, Mike and Patty were way-laid and destroyed in one the fiercest battles of the day.  They fought off many gnomes, snakes and sharks, but unfortunately they were overpowered and their wrists and bones destroyed – they will be remembered in the book of life forever.

So now it was Siobhan and I to cover Charlie’s back while he rode fearlessly into the forest to deliver the life giving waters of life.  He had to be out of there before darkness and this task was difficult.  So as Charlie was waging his own fierce battle against the forces of evil, Siobhan and I gathered our gear, gave a prayer for our fallen warriors and rode out to bring all the violence of the sun upon the evils that came before us.

The gods became angry as we attempted to come to Charlie’s aid. He was far ahead flying on the wind.  Charlie could fly on the wind of life and the wind kissed Charlie and Charlie flew with the wind.  Charlie and his powerful steed barley touched the ground; sparks flew from his powerful steel steed as it raced through the forest floor avoiding the demons of the forest.  Charlie flying on the wind, passed the evils before they knew he was the carrier of life and he was surrounded in a brilliance that can not be described.  But the fierce battles he fought, took its toll and Charlie was wounded but he pressed forward. So as we tried to cover Charlie’s back, the god’s were angry at us.  For our punishment, we were sent more humidity and heat and then the single tracks came to life, the tree roots came to life and became poisons snakes that tried to bite our tires and make us fall off our steel steeds.  Many a times, I went back to kick the snake dead but its teeth were sharp and I was afraid.  There were times when Siobhan and I had been tripped up by what seemed like rocks and when I looked back there were little green gnomes laughing at us doing a jig.  I went over to kick them and when I did they reverted into hardened stone.  I was starting to be effected by the forest.

IMG_1672

 

 

When we remounted the steel steeds, they seemed tired and the gnomes came to life again and were laughing.  We kept going and saw ghost ships swirl around the mountains covering their peaks in wisps of white cotton and just as quickly, they slipped away into the void.  The forest was an old forest created before the time of man and it was sacred yet inhabited by the evils before the rein of man – there were no noises like a living forest here and the views and sounds were eerie and silent.

The trails through the forest only went up and up.  It was trickery as there was no top. Only when we drew our swords that glowed in the night and held magical properties, did we finally find the top and stop the illusions, for now our steeds were tired and ill. As we climbed the mountainous trails, the ground was soft and the hooves of our mighty steeds were sucked downward toward the underground where the borgs and demons lived.  You could feel the slime sucking the lifeblood from our mighty steeds and we prayed for relief as the water of life was drained from their being also.

So now at 75 miles we entered the zone where the mind takes over and one feels no pain but goes forward on mental power only- We would not quit. Now we were into the epic battle, into depth of the forest when we had visions that Charlie made the delivery of the water and giver of life to the town under siege and we rejoiced for Charlie. For Siobhan and me, we had to fight our way out and it was now dark and we were at risk from the demonic forest like nothing experienced before – everyone had to be out of the forest at sunset, but we were trapped and could not quit. Flying elves would buzz us and then sting us to further demean our spirit. They would terrorize us and we had to keep moving forward or we would be eaten and consumed alive.  It was terrifying!!

We raised sting, our sword of shimmering light, and the forest came to life and now we became the night riders and had a fighting chance in the blackness of night. We entered the behemoth when the golden orb had closed its tired eye leaving a blood stained crimson horizon beneath the leaden sky that hung heavy overhead.  As we entered the woods it was eerily quiet and dark.  There was no light, only darkness and everything faded into the darkness.  The light from sting, our shimmering sword, only illuminated the spindly trail as we weaved through the forest floor, directly in front of us, no light passes that point, and it was all absorbed into the maelstrom of no return.

Our lights cast eerie shadows in the darkness where the shadows ran from themselves as we passed.  Ghost dancers faded in and out of reality only to return again down the serpentine trail.  They followed and haunted us and when you looked, they disappeared into the darkness. At times ghosts of emptiness seem to reach out and grab us and all the while it is so eerily quite. The sounds were muted and all was absorbed, nothing escaped.  It is way to Twilight zone here.  It was though everything had died or gone to sleep except for the innate and those that live in the darkness of the void, they all came to life.

The golden eyes of the night creatures shined bright and followed us.  They are the denizens of the night and the keepers of the forest and they do not like us here.  They are the jackals.  Their eyes shined into the emptiness of blackness, golden beams of destruction and evil.  They faded in and out of sight.  Are they alive or dead or in some purgatory station, wicked cool.

The mighty trees are going to sleep and are wearing an early shroud of autumn leaves.  The soft sticky mud carpets the forest floor and hides the enemies of us riders. The gnomes (rocks) and off camber snakes (roots) was making it somewhat hazardous now. The rocks and limbs lay in wait for us to pass, trying to throw us off our powerful steeds. They did succeed at times.  The arms and fingers from unknown and unseen forest demons grabbed at us as we passed by from the emptiness of the forest.  They ripped at our clothing and tried to strike us like a snake, the unknown and dead come to life here and become real.

It was now so dark that the shadows ran from themselves in the emptiness of evil.  We raised our swords and saw with horror, shape-shifting ghost dancers come into and out of the forest to play mind games with us. At times I could not find the trail even with our shimmering swords that held magical properties of vision and sight.

So with the final battles against the forest demons waged in hand to hand combat, Siobhan and I finally came into the tiny town, the shire, that was delivered the waters of life by Charlie and now we five warriors were reunited and we rejoiced in the battles we participated in. We all celebrated and then mounted our steel steeds we took to the sky like a bird in flight to the upper reaches of firmament, listening to the wind whistle in our ears and we all rode across the sea of tranquility and like a flash of white light we chosen few passed through the window behind the stars to walk up upon a new land with a new way with white sandy beaches a dark country and a swift sunrise to walk where no mortals dare..  We caught life on the fly to live in eternity’s sunrise.

So back in my home after a couple days, I sat in front of a fire whose amber rays bathed my body in its warmth and caressed my face with the softness of a lover’s hand. The golden and orange rays streamed outward from the fireplace and illuminated the room in soft hues of light, it was narcotic like, and it lulled one into a dream like sleep.  My cat was snuggled in my lap and I was reading a softbound leather book and listening to the soft sounds of Enya and when the steel guitar and bass came together it was as though the angles and light of God surrounded me.  So at that special moment with this most beautiful music playing, the book, the warmth of the glowing fire and the snuggling cat, I felt all life was tied together in some beautiful way, like a thread that tied everything together and that everything had a pulse and a meaning and I felt so lucky that I gave thanks to God for all that I had.

Thank you my fellow warriors: Mike, Patty Siobhan and Charlie.  Nice time you had Charlie, you saved the town

IMG_1651