Monday, September 01, 2008
Today was the day to ride a minimum of 60 miles as part of my training to ride a Century in early October. Up at 6:15 a.m. and out the door after a power-stoking breakfast of bacon, eggs, and toast (one of the great benefits of long-distance biking). It took only a matter of minutes before getting in the "zone." Just pedaling along and enjoying the scents and scenery around me--Watching hawks soar in the air, looking for deer, smelling the phlox and other wild flowers. Happens every time I ride.
You should know that I'm not a gonzo-girl, jumping into the deep end before contemplating my ability or the risks. I'm more the dip my toe into the water to test it first. Then, if it's not too cold, not too swift, not too whatever, I'll jump in. So taking a detour, when I don't know where it will lead, can be a little unsettling.
About 10 miles into the ride, I finally popped out of my zone while whizzing downhill at almost the speed limit: 25 mph. Wait a minute!!! I wasn't supposed to be here--where was the mildly undulating road I'm used to? I had missed it. I was in trouble . . . how was I going to get back up the hill and when was this downhill ride going to end? I always rode west to east to avoid the hill. Couldn't imagine climbing back up this early on my ride and still having anything left to finish 60 miles.
But I kept hurtling downhill, watching the odometer click off the tenths of a mile. When I reached bottom, I realized that the hill was more than a mile long, but how much longer I wasn't sure. Despite my misgivings, I turned around and started pedaling. The hill started out with a very short, but steep incline. I began talking to myself--the great success story I'd tell my husband when I got home. Then it mellowed out--a long, slow, not-as-steep-as -I thought climb, but tiring nevertheless. I passed the speed limit sign--no worry I'd be exceeding the limit now. I began to compose this blog, searching for pithy one-liners (as difficult as climbing the hill). About 3/4 of the way up, it steepened again. I dug in. No way was I getting off the bike. More muttering--"I can do this, I can do this . . . . oh, shut up and keep pedaling." I came to my turnoff, just short of cresting the hill. Well, I had ridden this far, keep going. So I climbed the last few yards--I made it!! I climbed a 1.75 mile hill!
I was tired, but I felt great. I would not have deliberately challenged myself to climb that hill had it not happened accidentally. And I would have deprived myself of the joy and exhilaration of proving myself. It was worth it.
The rest of the ride went off without a hitch. I finished 60.73 miles in 6 hrs., 45 mins.