Boléro and The North American Epic
After 11 years of cycling in different parts of the world it is sometimes difficult to get excited about flying to join in yet another of our great transcontinental tours – even if I had not been in the area before. And so it was when I landed seven weeks ago in Fort St. John, British Columbia to join our group of cyclists who started in Anchorage, Alaska on July 4th, the begining of their journey to Mexico City. So how do I describe the experience?
Are you familiar with Boléro, a piece of music composed by Maurice Ravel? The music is a one-movement orchestral piece. When it starts is almost inaudible and then the one movement is repeated a bit louder and again a bit louder and so on, until the crescendo which is strong, powerful, explosive.
I joined the North American Epic for the last part of the Alaska Highway. Soon we were entering Jasper National Park and right after that, Banff National Park. This was followed by Waterton and Glacier National Parks, a series of national forests and wilderness reserves, then Yellowstone National Park. The powerful crescendo of this experience ended for me in Moab. (From the cyclists that have gone on, I hear that the crescendo gets higher and higher as the days go by.)
When I think of it now, back in the office, all I can think of is the slow day after day buildup of excitement that I experienced, the same wonderful repetitions of great vistas, great company, great food and the great repetitions of my feet pushing the pedals. And my soul keeps hearing the sound of Bolero.
When the musical composition was first performed at the Paris Opéra on November 22, 1928, it was deemed “a sensational success”. And now when people ask me about the route of North American Epic all I can say – “Boléro“.