Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Downhill... Both Ways!!

I had a glimpse of what it was like to be a kid again. Amazing! Even now, three days later, I can still close my eyes and feel that rush again. Let me tell you what happened...

I started out Sunday doing a nice 5 1/2 mile training walk with Sheri. It was our first walk of the new year, and the first somewhat long walk either one of us had done since before Christmas, maybe even since the Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon. It was cold at the start, but clear and the sunshine felt wonderful. Both of us noticed how the time seemed to fly by. Neither of us had a lot of pain, and I didn't grouse about my calf, knees, or ankles at all! We chatted and dissected as we normally do, and talked about all the things we'd like to see happen this year.

When the walk was over I drove up to the northern edge of the Las Vegas valley to meet Christine. Christi is one of the group of women whom I have lovingly dubbed the "Cycle Divas". I was lucky to be introduced to this group by my friend Cynthia, who is an amazing cyclist herself. Anyhow, this group of women convinced me over cocktails last year that I should start cycling myself. They shot down every obstacle and fear that I could raise, and in the end I became excited to try to ride again. Christi has become my "sponsor", she has graciously loaned me her very first bike and a helmet, and started me on my way by coaxing me to use them.

I started out by seeing if I even knew how to ride. A quick loop down her street and back and I felt like I had never stopped riding. I guess that saying about "just like riding a bike" is true. The only part that was scary was stopping, I think I can get over that! We headed out for our goal, the Starbucks a little over three miles from Christi's house. My legs were already tired from the walk, but pedaling wasn't too bad. Learning the gears and getting into a rhythm didn't take long. Did you know that they NUMBER the gears now? No more fumbling little levers up and down to find the right spot for the right gear. Oh man... It's so easy now!

Christi chose a nice route, no traffic to speak of, and pretty much downhill all the way. It was there on that downhill that my childhood came back to me. All of a sudden I remembered riding my bike when I was about 10. I had a pink Schwinn with a banana seat and on that bike I had POWER! I could go anywhere and do anything. I could go fast, and no one could catch me. I could travel to adventures outside of my neighborhood and do and see things as I pleased. Did I mention that I could go fast??? Oh my god. I love speed. I love the wind pushing the hair away from my face, I love seeing the ground rush past, I love... oh heck, I just love it!

I also love coffee, so our stop at Starbucks was a nice interlude, but I wanted back on that bike. We finished up and hopped back on for the ride back. Hmm... yep, it was downhill on our way out, but uphill on the way back. Not much of a grade, maybe 1% if that, but my poor legs noticed. After about a mile, I hit the "endurance" part of the ride. Yeah, for me the endurance part is when my brain notices that I'm working. My legs were tired, my hips a little achy, but my crotch is what was clamoring for my attention the most. Yeah, bike seats aren't like sitting on the couch, but cyclists don't look like your average couch potato either. The seat on this bike is fairly large and cushioned, but I'm just not used to it. This is where I started whining, and this is why having a partner around is a godsend! For the last two miles of the ride Christi told me stories about some of her long distance rides, and distracted that brain of mine till we made it to her driveway.

Hooray! We made it! Ok, well, I made it... for Christi this wasn't even a warm up. But I felt accomplished that I rode 7.5 miles without dying. I didn't fall over when I had to stop, I didn't fall over from riding too slow, I didn't break the bike, I didn't crash, I didn't look like an idiot (ok, Christi had to verify that one for me), and I lived. What more could I ask for??

This is a very proud me with Christi's Hot Soviet Tank, which she has now loaned me so that I can ride more often. She's also loaned me the helmet, which I am grateful for since I have this fear of falling over! My next ride will be Friday, and I've got it all mapped out... I'm even pretending it's downhill... both ways!!

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