Today turned out to be one of those lovely days when I don’t have much planned and there is time to take a long, leisurely bike ride. Awhile back I promised a hill that I would come back and climb it someday, so I set out this morning, just before dawn to fulfill that promise. (As we all know, oaths sworn to hills are legally binding.)
Weather-wise, the day creepily mirrored Dan’s ride from yesterday. There was a light layer of snow on the ground when I left the house and the temperature was in the mid 20’s. I had the best seat in the house to watch the sun rise. As I climbed along a ridge up out of the valley where I live, to my left I watched as the sun rose over the Adirondack Mountains. It was beautiful.
The thoughts rolling around in my head were not so beautiful. My scaredy-cat side was out in full force, masquerading as common sense. I was going into this ride with two issues: stiff legs and a minor saddle sore, and part of me wanted to abort my mission and head for home.
But deep down, I really wanted a day out on my bike so I set out to manage these nagging issues as best as I could. I have found the best way for me to get my legs feeling better is to drop down into a ridiculously low gear and just spin it out. And sure enough, 20 miles down the road my muscles decided to get back in the game. The saddle sore was similarly compliant, with a good dosage of cream it stayed calm throughout the entire ride.
It is weird what games my mind will play on me to try to keep me from doing what I have set out to do.
The miles flew by and before I knew it, I was sailing down the hill into the city of Rome. I stopped at Fort Stanwix and meandered about a bit, but I couldn’t really find anything more exciting than biking to do.
Now it was time to go back toward home and face the hill. It turned out much smaller than I thought it would be, I got in a good rhythm and had almost made it to the top when I had to stop.
It wasn’t because my legs were unwilling to climb any longer. Not this time. It was because an Australian shepherd mix had decided he didn’t want me to climb any longer. He dashed over and staked out the shoulder of the road as his personal territory, barking furiously at me if I dared move an inch.
There was a time when I was bold in the face of any dog but since being viciously attacked a few summers ago, I err on the side of caution (and fear). Grabbing a granola bar, I attempted to appease the creature who was staring me down with fierce blue eyes. Just as I was starting to despair, a gentleman pulled his car over and chased the dog away for me. I was very grateful indeed, although I felt quite silly for not being able to handle the situation myself. Next time, I will be braver…hopefully.
The rest of the ride home was calm and peaceful, I love it when an hour or two slips away while steadily pedaling. The only part of the ride that wasn’t calm and peaceful was discovering my favorite downhill section of road ever. Technically, this hill is smaller than the one going into the city of Rome but because of the gradient and great road conditions, I was really able to fly down the slope. For those few minutes I felt like a bizarre hybrid animal, a cross between a charging rhinoceros and a soaring eagle.
I know I said this the last time I rode this route but I am going to repeat myself…I have to bike this way again soon!