I survived and I’m still (more or less) intact!
The morning started a bit overcast, but once Little Guy was at school, Hubby started putting the bike rack on his car (“Nice rack, baby”) and loading our bikes. Mine is so small it barely fits…and it’s steel, not aluminum, so it’s heavier to lift (and take up the hills). He even took it for a ride to adjust the gears so I wasn’t starting in 5th gear. Meanwhile, I was digging for something to wear (it’s important to at least look the part), and to find my helmet, garden gloves (I chose the blue ones to match my outfit – I’m such a girl), as well as my book, and hair barrettes. I took a dose of ibuprofen and used the bathroom several times – pre-emptive strikes!
On the way, Hubby offered this advice: Don’t start in high gear – kick into ‘granny’ gear b/f stopping. Going uphill, kick into ‘granny’ gear before slowing down too much and it starts to hurt! Likewise, going down or on the flat before a hill, pick a higher gear. No “wind milling”. Got it! Now how do I change gears?
We started with a gradual slope, but around the corner it got steeper. Hubby told me I’d be breathing heavy in 30 seconds…it was more like 15 seconds! And I scrubbed my calf on a pedal, drawing blood in a claw-like scratch. My first injury. Woo hoo!
We went down another path that was supposedly easier that the first, with a mixture of meandering ups and downs. I loved the speed and heightened senses going down, the same rush as when I was a kid. It would have been even better if I could quit hitting the biggest rocks and tree limbs on the path. I know you’re not supposed to look at the obstacles so you don’t steer into them, but I seemed to hit every single one anyway! I usually didn’t make it up the hill – it would depend on how steep it was, as well as how rubbery my legs were feeling. It got remarkably easier as we went along. I figured out how to change gears most of the time (change to 1, not 7)…at times it was as if I wasn’t riding at all.
Oh, yeah! Hubby offered to help a couple of times. We took several breaks and enjoyed the atmosphere – flowers, birds, chipmunks, mosquitoes…
Finally we reached a fairly straight path along the bottom of the valley, where a boardwalk had been built in places. Hubby yelled back simple instructions as I raced along, “just pop the front wheel when you hit the edge of the bridge and keep going”. No problem – pop the wheel, stop suddenly and fall sideways off the bridge. Don’t worry – the thick mud and clay, and the multiple rotten tree limbs and branches broke my fall. I only slid a short distance because the tree my head bounced off was pretty solid! I just lay there awhile, giving Hubby a thumbs-up so he knew I was still alive. He pulled my bike out of the mud, the handle at least 2″ deep in mud, and helped haul me up as well. I had flown a pretty good distance, plus it was downhill off the side of that bridge. I was a little covered in mud all the way around my shoulder, down one arm, down one leg and…where was my shoe?
We kept going but at the next bridge, I wrenched my shoulder (already in full arthritic flare-up) so I suggested we head back to the car. And yes, I did make it on to the wooden path this time! We had covered quite a distance (for me) and I remembered at least one long run that I had to struggle back up! I didn’t even try – I walked it!
Coming out from the parking lot, we met a farmer at an intersection on the edge of the village. He accelerated and dumped his load of hay, so Hubby went out to help him. I was less embarrassed when we went in the village diner for a bite because I wasn’t the only one dishevelled and covered in nature! We ended our “tour” with a banquet burger with everything on it! I earned it! Home to clean up, pack and head out of town to my parents for the long weekend (it ended up only being a 4 hour drive).