Saturday, March 31, 2012

50 miles and the gravel hill dream

My goal this weekend was to ride 75 miles.  My thought was I'd split it approximately in half, with the first half being just slightly longer. 

But then I got out there today and it was just SO GORGEOUS.  And I remembered that I tend to be pretty tired the day after a big ride.  So I decided on the fly to make today's 50 miles, so that tomorrow can be a nice short 25.  

I wore compression gloves under my biking gloves to help deal with my carpal tunnel syndrome.  (Don't know what compression gloves are?  Think "Spanx for hands/wrists.")  They helped TREMENDOUSLY.  Usually my hands start acting up somewhere between mile 7 and mile 10 and are a pain for the rest of the ride.  Today they didn't start until mile 30, and even then they were quite manageable - it was enough to ride along one-handed, opening and closing my fist to revive each hand as it went into numb/vibrating mode.  I'm pretty pleased with the difference it made.  I tend to stop every 7-10 miles for breaks maybe 10 minutes long because of my hands.  Not having to start that until over halfway through the ride...well, that was nice. 

A friend asked how I could ride in the "cold."  For the record, it was in the 50s here today, so maybe it was warmer here than where she was.  But in answer to her question, what I wore for the ride was:  blue jeans, wool socks with canvas sneakers, a short sleeved running shirt (one of those nice breathable mesh kind) and a light cotton zipped hoodie.  The helmet is probably a major factor for keeping me warm, too...after all, on 70 degree days I sweat my hair soggy in the helmet.  And...I'm just probably warmer than her in this weather because (despite the fact that I'm middle-age cold all the time when I am sitting still) when I exercise, I'm a heat-producing factory.  

The other day while riding, I saw something that took my breath away and made my stomach flop - a guy coming off the little mesh bridge to Arsenal Island didn't ride up to the turn-around to head for Moline.  He just popped down the gravel hill from the one path to the other.  I took some pictures of that hill today but I don't know if they properly capture the they are:

Okay, so here it is from the top looking down, at exactly the spot he rode down the hill. 
Here's a shot from the bottom path, looking off toward the turn-around spot, which is just beyond the picture.  See how much higher the top path is than the bottom one?

And here is from the vantage point of the bottom at just the spot he rode down, looking up (you can see the trail where people have been doing that, can't you?)
So why am I taking pictures of a gravel hill on the bike path?  Not just to scintillate you with what scared me when I saw it.  I was thinking today how many things I've done in the past year or so that I never, ever thought I could do.  And it occurs to me that maybe by this time next year or something...maybe I could be riding down that hill.  I mean...not definitely....but maybe...

Who knows?  

Won't it be fun to find out? 

Meanwhile, I came home and treated myself to a lavendar bubble bath with hot peppermint tea and candlelight.  Cuz you wanna be nice to your body when it's been nice to you, right? 

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