The Downhill Thrill

Every year I tell myself that this is probably the last year that I'll be here, so I'd better go see the lake one last time. After four years this does get kind of tiring, and it resulted in three folders on my hard disk called 'The last trip to the lake'. So, this year I've decided to call it 'The annual trip to the lake' instead.


My reason for going was kind of weird though. A strange dream last night prompted me to review some photos of the past years, and after seeing the photos of 2006's lake trip I suddenly wanted to go again. I remember that trip very well, because it was really one of the best trips I've ever done. At the time a new batch of interns just arrived, all young and fresh, and we didn't know each other very well yet. It was fun to get to know each other better during the trip, and everything just clicked somehow. At that point in life I was still young and innocent :D Now I've become an experienced cynic instead o_0. All in all the trip takes 50kms for a round trip, although going there takes almost twice as much time as going back, because of the suffer points built into the route. It's mostly uphill, and there are 3 or 4 points where the road's not just going uphill, it's going steeply uphill. It's quite a challenge to keep on cycling at these sections, but usually I manage it somehow. Albeit being overtaken by many other cyclists. To be fair though, I did not look half as gay as they did. The last suffer point occurs just before reaching the lake, instantly climbing about 150 meters. Note that the rest of the route climbs 150 meters in total, so that's doubled by the last suffer point. Fortunately it's only about 100 meters after the last suffer point that the lake springs into view, and then all suffering is forgotten. It's quite a beautiful sight. I cycled all the way to the dam at the far end of the lake, then cycled across the dam to the other end. Normally the security person will yell at me if I do that, but I cycled slowly and there were not many people around today. After crossing the dam I planned to cycle around the lake and go back home, but the tunnel that would take me there was blocked by a very nice 'do not enter' sign in the middle of the road. Apparently I'm supposed to not take the tunnel, but go the other way (and downhill) instead, then go all the way around the mountain and eventually end up back at the exit of that tunnel. All in all about 2 kilometers in the wrong direction. Obviously I ignored the don't enter sign and took the tunnel. I really wonder why they don't let people take that tunnel. Must be dangerous or something. The trip around the lake went by rather uneventful, and I was soon on my way back. And that's the best part, because all those suffer points along the way suddenly turn in to pleasure points! (forgive the naming, please). Taking on the downhill ride on a touring bicycle with a very high top gear is awesome! For once my brakes and gears were actually working properly, so I was confident to go at high speed, and I could keep up with some cars until we were almost all the way down. The sensation of speed made me realize how much I enjoy high-speed things like racing games, go-karting or even Audiosurf while playing a high-speed song. The sensation of speed is definitely one of the things in life that I like most. As usual, you can find the rest of the pictures on Picasa. I experimented a bit with HDR this time. I like some of the results, but a lot of them were just not quite right. Practice, practice..
Posted in Cycling , Photography