Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Two weekends ago, Bri, Fred and I hit the bike trail for my first trail ride.
I started out a bit apprehensive. There were so many bikers around me, and I frequently braked and pulled off the trail. I got nervous when bikers passed me or approached me from the other direction. What if I hit one? And passing walkers and runners? Forget about it! The first time I tried, I suddenly slammed on my brakes and almost wrecked. (No one was hurt.)
After a few miles, I started to feel better. My rear went numb a few times, my stomach filled with butterflies when other bikers passed, and my starts at stop signs were less than graceful. I'm no biking phenom.
We rode 10 miles to a little town (Loveland, how cute is that?!) and stopped for lunch.
"How do you feel?" they asked.
"Fabulous," I replied, full of energy and enthusiasm.
After a healthy but filling lunch (a veggie pita wrap) and a brief break to allow our food to digest, we walked back to where we'd stashed our bikes. We rode another 5 1/2 miles north before heading back home.
I felt better, stronger, more accomplished with every mile. I watched each half-mile tick by, and after 15 miles or so, I felt completely comfortable.
I had to stop every few miles to allow my rear end to regain feeling (I smartened up and now have a gel seat cover) and my wrists to take a break (ditto on biking gloves).
The ride back was better than I imagined, but I did have a bit of a whiny phase. I sang ridiculous songs to myself when I started to get tired (Alouette was a favorite that day) and made myself divide the return trip in half-mile increments. My boyfriend had told me that the "finish line" (our car) was at mile 50. We'd gone all the way to 34.5, so already I was looking at a 31-mile round trip.
The final stretch arrived, and at mile 44, I was so excited to be done. 44.5 came and went, then 50, with no sign of the parking lot. I was ready to cry, but I knew I had it in me to finish. (By then I wasn't tired so much as I was sweaty, plastered in bugs, and thirsty.)
Just past mile 51, our car awaited us, along with Bri, who'd kept a brisker pace.
I got off my bike and struggled to keep back tears. I was happy, healthy, and accomplished.
Less than two months ago, I couldn't ride a bike, and that day I rode 32 miles.
This weekend, I'm making my first solo trail ride, with the ultimate goal of training for a 67-mile one-way birthday trip with my boyfriend and some friends in a few weeks. Wish me luck!
I'm a biker!!