Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 5 Tortola - Challenge the Mountain

This is the mountain.



This is the view.



I remember last time the mountain smelling of wild thyme. I thought it was the most unbelievable experience to be in this wild country side looking down on the beautiful Caribbean, smelling thyme. This time wild sage was growing in massive bushes. I have never grown sage in a bush that size. I just love the top of Tortola.

It was the usual (well after 2 times, usual) slow determined run up, for about 10 minutes. When people are walking past you it quickly becomes apparent that "running" really isn't the best plan.

Then, of course there is only one way down - quickly. I ran the whole way down, laughing the whole time and thinking about how much that was going to hurt. It was so much fun, and truthfully, I wasn't sure I could stop. Then, at the port, there was an impromptu sprint run off that I won, mostly because I surprised the other athlete. Must figure out how to use the element of surprise in Ironman. Maybe lots of "hey, look over there, what's that". Should work.

So, having had a fantastic walk up and run down, we heard the plan was to head to Virgin Gorda, via the ferry. A quick breakfast was had and Alex and I packed up and headed out for the 10:30 ferry. It was pretty tight and we actually had a movie worthy moment of jumping from the dock to the departing ferry.

Last time we were on the cruise I decided that we should move to St. Lucia but I'm pretty sure now the winner is the Virgin Islands. The ride over to Virgin Gorda was spectacular. Sailboats swooshed between islands, the water was that almost unbearable blue and every piece of coastline was picture worthy. There are no pictures however as I just let the wind blow and the scene unfold.

No one told me that the route to the beach involved a tunnel worthy of Hogan's Heroes. Honestly. There as some who were in attendance who would say that one simply had to duck under some boulders and take a few ladders. They weren't the one muttering, "it's all right, it's all right" over and over again and a belly-down crawl, battling fearsome sea animals all the while, was undertaken.

It had to be at least an hour of said crawling, battling and muttering but, admitably, it was worth it. This had to be the most beautiful beach in my own, admitably limited, history of beaches.



And there were freaking chickens. (picture blurred, sorry). I love chickens.


After a suitable ocean frolic we headed back. I had heard a rumour of a trail that circumvented the whole tunnel thing but, there really wasn't any time to try and find it. Returning on the somehow suddenly greatly shortened tunnel I was able to actually get a few shots.


After a nap we went to see the first of our three speakers for the cruise. Dick Beardsley's story wasn't really known to me except that I knew that he was a fantastic marathoner with a history of substance abuse. That's the Coles notes.
Dick's story of seemingly endless accidents and a resulting addition to pain killers is the kind of thing that shows just how the human spirit can truly triumph over anything. What got to me the most however, was his description of the podium after his 1.6 second lose to Alberto Salazar at the 1982 Boston Marathon. Salazar, upon having his arm raised in victory, took Beardsley's arm and raised it as well. Truly an example of the greatness that sport can bring out in people.

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