I’ve never seen this
before. It could be the same water, but for sure I’ve never seen it here. Its
unfamiliarity gives it a difference, even if the breeze is just as fresh, the
glisten just as blue. This is the biggest ocean in the world.
I think of the road
from St Just to St Ives, the rugged Cornish scenery, an old coal mine tower,
the small climb up to Eagle’s Nest way up above Zennor. I picture the white
water smashing against the rocks, the tiresome British tarmac, the fresh air. The
little holiday cottage and setting out to explore every morning, some of my
very first rides. Summer holidays. An old memory.
I think of climbing
out of Tossa de Mar, the water down to my right, blue and flat. The road
looping up and down, hugging the coastline for eight kilometers or so. The damp
corners hiding from the sunlight and the spectacular view. I remember Dave
telling me about the day the Tour came along this very road, how special it
was, in the break all the way to Barcelona. I picture the turn left up San
Grau, climbing with the sea over my shoulder. It’s blue comes in to view again
every few hairpins, as the road randomly changes direction, but on the whole it
simply simmers silenty behind me. But I do like this climb. And up the last
steep ramp I always glance one view back, for it’ll be the last of the day.
You climb slowly up
Colemans, rising and dropping, in a way that masks the altitude you are
gaining. The road is rough, but nothing like back home, nothing at all like the
sapping tarmac of the B3306. There are sheep in the fields at the top, and cows
too, sometimes walking on the road. It almost doesn't seem like America up
here, a place with fences, borders and strict instruction everywhere, but then
up here in the hills it is so different from the cities anyway, and so maybe it’s
not so much of a surprise. Over the crest and the narrow road platues. My
French teammate asks me what ‘narrow’ means, it’s on the road sign just to our
left. I choose to describe it in the context of a narrow mind, he understands.
And then it comes in
to view. First through the valley, Russian River I think it is called and then
everywhere, all across the horizon. Its amazing. So blue and so vast, in my
mind and also plain to see. We rip down the descent and stop at the bottom to turn
left on to Highway One. The air is fresh, nothing like anything else I know.
I spend the next
fifteen minutes stealing every glance I can, for it’s pretty special to be by
the sea. And this is the biggest ocean in the world.