I've been looking and looking at bike maps online, trying to figure out how to get on the Duck Creek bike path here in Davenport. A couple of coworkers assured me this week that if I'd just ride up Main Street (which goes right past my house) and keep going in a straight line, I would eventually intersect with it. So that was this morning's objective!
This meant first of all biking up that mile-long hill that I mentioned recently. The LAST time I tried to bike that hill was on the Rafiki Ride last fall, and I was on Lulu, and I definitely had to get off and walk for a portion of the hill. My hope was that with Wilma under me, fewer pounds attached to me, and my improved fitness level, I might just maybe be able to bike up.
I DID IT!!! Now mind you, I had to do A LOT of downshifting, and I was barely moving by the time I got to the top, and I almost threw up from breathing so hard, and my nose gunked up so I had to breathe in through my mouth, which meant my throat was raw for the next 10 miles of the ride, causing continuous coughing and throat clearing...so I'm not exactly a rock star yet...but...I DID IT!!! I felt so good about that accomplishment that the only "sit down and rest" break I took for the whole 25-mile ride was there at the top of the Main Street hill. I got off a few other times to take pics, but I was still all, "Hey, I'm a crazy awesome hill climber," so I didn't feel like taking breaks. LOL
The Duck Creek bike path is GREAT. I love the riverfront path, but riding it allll the time gets old, you know? I just wanted to have a bit of variety. This path is really beautiful, set beside the winding Duck Creek, lined with grounds that are left unmown for conservation reasons. Lots of trees and plants, constant running water, lots of little highly-arched bridges (I giggled with glee every time I crossed one without my stomach clenching or my body tightening up),
It sports tons of hills. Once upon a time, this would have been a negative for me, but at this point I am grateful for the conditioning...every time I struggled my way up a long hill, I could practically FEEL the fat burning, the muscle building, my heart growing stronger, and my lung capacity increasing. This should be excellent conditioning for this year's century ride and next year's Ragbrai.
Fun things I saw along the way included: little league practice, really tiny kids playing soccer, lots of dogs playing catch with their people, robins and other pretty, brightly-colored birds, more than the usual ratio of smiling people of all age and sort who returned my "hello," big burly guys playing a highly competitive game of frisbee golf, Mallard ducks fishing and preening and paddling around in the creek that bears their name, and more women (in my age bracket, even!) than I ever see on the riverfront path. I rode every bit of path I could find and it was exactly 25 miles from leaving my building to returning. There could be more path...I can be kind of oblivious and miss details along the way, but what I saw was GREAT. And oh yeah...there were also quite a number of public restrooms along the way (don't see a ton of those along the riverfront) and lots of neat places to sit down and rest, if I had been so inclined.
Came home and treated myself to a lovely gigantic plate of sauteed vegetables (cabbage, green beans, carrots, portabella mushrooms, and purple onion) with a bit of brown rice and lots of soy sauce...mmmmmmm....
....pretty nice start for a Saturday.