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  • It had been two weeks since my last climb up Hawk Hill, two weeks of egg nog and full plates plus plenty of seconds to keep the mother in law happy, along with runs through town over iced sidewalks and wall sits on the same mother in law's front door, thinking of this Hill that was then 3,000 miles away. So when the road pointed up, the wondering was over, and the pain began.

    Christopher Robin and St Nick pushed hard at the Start, taking most of my strength to follow them there, and then all of it to follow them through the False Flats. Christopher, as always, pushed the pace, but St Nick took a turn at the front, too. There's a guilt that comes from riding on others' wheels. I felt it and I wanted to take my turn there in the dark and have Christopher and St Nick thank me for doing so once I found them at the top, but I hung back on that last wheel and followed them as far as I could, which was to the Circle for the final third.

    Drops happen quickly. You go and go and go and push for as long as you and when the head tells the legs to quit, the legs do so lickety-split. In the fog Christopher Robin and St Nick were gone in an instant and completely out of sight in a minute, leaving me a minute of rest before the pride kicked in and told me that it would all be over in just another minute.
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