Gravity – Assist, Accept, or Resist

The big feature of today’s ride was a 3500 foot drop over a span of 10 miles into the desert at Borrego Springs. When I read about this descent in the Race Across America route book, it had gone into my Catalog of Fears. Hairpin turns at 30 mph on a 10% downhill grade seemed scary. Prior to the big ride, and by fortunate chance, I had mentioned it to my cycling friend, Marla, who, it turned out, had descended it quite recently. She described it to me as the most beautiful and thrilling descent she had ever done. Therefore, I was looking forward to it today instead of dreading it.

In comparison, on my cross-country ride last fall, we had done a similar descent, but instead of being down a beautiful mountain described as the glass elevator, it was on I-10 with 18 wheelers screaming by too close, runaway truck ramps, and a cross wind blowing us toward the vehicle traffic. For more, see Ups and Downs from my blog last fall. 

The descent was named the “glass elevator” by James S. Copley in a talk at formal dedication ceremonies near the bottom of the road, according to a 1964 newspaper article. ” ‘One aspect of this road which we can claim is especially unique is that it provides for motorists a wonderful ‘glass elevator’ some 400 stories tall.'”

See the descent through the video I took as I descended today:

During my descent, my response to the varying steepness of the downhill ranged from pedaling to assist gravity, coasting to accept gravity, and braking to resist gravity. Where in your life do you aid the forces around you, just go with the flow, or obstruct them so as not to get the full benefit of them or control them so you don’t go careening off the side of a mountain?


20 thoughts on “Gravity – Assist, Accept, or Resist

  1. What lovely prose! I hope you are considering a book. Thank you for sharing with a couch potato. Best wishes, Cheryl, FOS (Friend of Susie’s)


  2. Woooooa! 30 mph down a mountainside! The video was amazing – I felt like I was careening down with you. Only one truck this time and on the opposite side. then I saw a blue Prius pass you and a minute later there was Susie waving to you. Amazing!


  3. That downhill ride video is really cool, and I bet you were glad for this stretch of the road — Lynn, have a nice Sunday with an easy ride.


  4. My heart was racing as you came upon each curve and turn. I found it interesting to see many more vehicles heading up the mountain than heading down, in the direction you were going. (No need to reply.)


  5. “Assist, Accept, or Resist”? One answer: When you meet someone new–you either encourage a relationship, wait to see how it develops naturally, or shut it down.
    Congrats on getting a great start. Looking ahead to Wolf Creek Pass (and all the other climbs):
    “You’re off to Great Places!
    Today is your day!
    Your mountain is waiting,
    So… get on your way!”
    ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!


  6. My heart was in my throat the entire time while watching your video, Lynnea! Scary! I kept anticipating gravel slides, or crazy motorists, or jack rabbits! 🙂 You have nerves of steel, women!!


    1. Hi, Karen! Fortunately, Marla had told me the pavement was excellent, so I never feared gravel slides. As for fast, mine was a timid descent. The folks who do it on the Race Across Anerica (RAAM) probably do it twice as fast!!


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