Today I rode 100km horizontally. That was actually quite nice! Not too sore or painful, making good time for some reason, and the scenery was great. Good stops for an awesome scone, and then coffee and a good chat.
In the last 10km, though, I gained about 500m vertical, which was nuts. I had to get off and catch my breath 5 times (but only in places where the road was wide enough) or I might have keeled over. At one point a crowd at a scenic lookout gave me a round of applause when I finally made it up to them.
(When you're doing tough guy things, you have to pretend it's no big deal. But I, and I think secretly ever other guy, really want to shout out "Yes! Look at me! I am such a tough guy! I am so tough I cannot even believe it myself! I'm, I'm... I'm goddamn Spartacus or something! I'll be acknowledging all the desire from the ladies and fear from the men now!")
Anyway, so I made it most of the way up, and now there I was, huffing and gasping, 9km into this massive ascent, going up a shallow hill which I could just barely manage in my lowest gear, and I heard caws. And here came two keas circling me. Google "kea". These guys are cute, majestic, super intelligent, and occasionally known to be aggressive. So here I figured I'd just made it up the toughest goddamn hill in my life, and I was gonna get pecked off the road by a couple of bloody parrots!
(But nothing happened. Good story, right?)