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    STEPFANIER   55,593
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32 miles!

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!!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VAL503 7/22/2008 10:54PM

    Thanks for sharing your amazing bike journey! I am going to start riding too, (it has been a loooong time), and when I get nervous, I will remember your ride and keep on! Way to go, you are an inspiration :)
Val

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TSINDZ 7/20/2008 9:41AM

    emoticon what an amazing achievement.

Enjoy the solo ride!

TS

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RUESTER1 7/17/2008 6:16PM

    I know your pain there, my hubby and I hit the same trail from near the river to Lebannon and back and I didn't figure out for a while that he lied on the distance and it was around 58 miles round trip instead of the 30-40 that I TOUGHT I would be riding that day. I ended up doing the whole thing, and I am glad I did!

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LEELYNN2 7/16/2008 4:40PM

    that sounds like an amazing ride!

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STEPFANIER 7/16/2008 2:29PM

  It really wasn't that bad. I kept a slow and steady pace, because I was really afraid of being exhausted halfway back. I stretched when I got home and took a hot shower, then went swimming/played in the pool for 3 hours the next day (it was a holiday weekend). I didn't really feel sore at all. It was a really fun way to spend a day!

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COACH_NICOLE 7/16/2008 2:26PM

    Wow, that is insane! I've been riding a bike for years and can't imagine going that far! emoticon

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