Monday, September 26, 2011

Queen of the Mountain!!

"Marina," my modern comfort bike at the
downtown pavilion overlooking the river.
This morning I was celebrating that I had a day off with nowhere to go, except to a friend's house to feed her cat.  I mused about taking a longer than normal weekend bike ride when Larry laughed and said, "Why don't you combine the two and ride your bike up to feed the cat?"

My initial response was "Not bloody likely!"  The reason I responded this way is that the friend's house is across town and on top of a very big hill.  Most of the rides I've taken have been on quiet neighborhood streets.  The terrain is fairly flat and if I were to be completely honest with myself, even though I've been going on progressively longer rides, I haven't been challenging myself or going outside of my comfort zone.

As I dressed for the day I decided to rise to the challenge! I hopped on my bike and  immediately discovered a flat tire!!  A pretty little brass nail had punctured the back tire and tube.  In the past I probably would have let this discovery discourage me or give me an excuse to put it off for another day.  Instead I waited while Larry patched the tube and remounted the tire. (The husband comes to the rescue once again!) In less than an hour I was back on the bike and headed uphill! 

Here's the route I took:
Map of progress

The footpath, taken on the ride home.
What a God-Send!  See the rays from heaven?
It's actually a lot steeper than it looks.

The ride is about three and a half miles one way.  Most of the ride was pleasant and uneventful, even on the busy streets I traveled. For the most part, Kerrville drivers are courteous and thoughtful towards cyclists.

Some guy in a huge water truck drove past me on Barnett Street and whistled at me.  I don't think I've ever been whistled at in my life!  The random and unexpected event made me laugh.

In one of the neighborhoods I went through there was a chihuahua who thought he was the size of a timber wolf. He materialized out of nowhere, but I easily outran his short legs and razor-sharp teeth.

The biggest challenge was THE HILL.  There were two approaches, one on Leland Street that was a straight, vertical climb; and the other on Galbraith Street, a twisty, turny narrow road with blind spots.  Neither seemed like a good idea.

I went to the base of the hill on both streets, trying to figure the best approach up the rise, when I remembered a foot path a block from Galbraith Street that went from the end of Circle Street to the top of the hill on Galbraith.  I found the path and took it, thankful for a more gradual path up the hill.  It felt so good to reach the top of that hill!  I felt like I conquered Everest!

Pywacket the Cat, hiding under a chair.
Bad quality photo from my cellphone.
Anyway, I got to the friend's house, high on accomplishment, with a face as red as my tank top.

Pywacket the Cat was unimpressed.  The cat hates me at the moment because I had to give her some cat laxative a couple of days ago for hairballs. She currently hisses and hides every time I enter the house.  So I embraced the anticlimax, cleaned the catbox, fed "Lady P" and headed home.

Going home, back down the hill, was fun! Flying downhill gives me an exhilaration that reminds me childhood.  A fast, free ride down a hill that lifts the hair off the neck never fails to make my heart leap with joy.

Both the trip up the hill and the trip back home took 30 minutes.  The round-trip was a little under 7 miles, which is not the longest trip I've made so far, but it is my most challenging.  My average speed was seven miles an hour... slow and steady (and not very likely to win a race but better than I expected). 

My next goal is a Kerrville to Ingram trip.  It's going to take some time to build up to it, but after today I am feeling very encouraged.

Have a beautiful, amazing week!

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