OUT OF MOUNTAINS
3 August 2002
Ever since I got on a bike and discovered the Davis Greenbelt, I've
been haunted by hills. It was a big deal when I finally conquered the dreaded overpass.
But the horrible overpass still awaited me.
This is the Covell Blvd. overpass, which goes up and over the
railroad tracks and the little League field. I live on one side of the overpass, my office
is on the other side.
For awhile, when I rode my bike to work, I would go all the way
downtown until I came to a street that crossed over the tracks flat. Then Walt
showed me where there was a tunnel that went under the tracks. You go down a little hill
to get to the tunnel (and then, on the way back, up a little hill), but it was
easily do-able and I've been pleased to note that I don't even have to downshift to get up
that little hill.
the white "x" marks the
bottom of the "hill" and a sharp right turn into the tunnel, with the other hill
going up on the other side; the black "x" shows the "horrible
Each day I drive the car over the horrible overpass on my way to
work, trying to decide how soon it would be before I would be able make it over on the
bike. It's steep (by my standards) and it's long, which is the big problem.
The first day Cindy and I went biking, she suggested we go to south
Davis. This involved going downtown and up a small hill which marks the entrance to Davis.
I'd wondered if I could handle this hill as well, but it turned out to be very easy, since
it is preceded by a nice downhill, which gives you enough momentum to just about
coast to the top on the other side.
"Shall we try the bike overpass?" she asked that day.
Gulp. I had seen this bike bridge. I knew it had a long uphill part to it and I really
wasn't sure I could handle it, but I didn't want to be a wimp, so I agreed to give it a
try. I told her I was fairly certain that Iwould have to walk the hill. She said that
would be OK.
We started up the overpass and, as I reported on Monday, I took Haggie's advice, concentrated on the road in
front of me and not how much farther I had to go. I was inching along in a low gear,
panting like a dog on a hot summer day, but when I looked up, I was at the top before I
realized it. What a great moment of triumph it was to coast down the other side.
But the horrible overpass still awaited.
The horrible overpass from the office
When Cindy arrived this morning she asked where I wanted to go on
our ride. I told her to decide. She suggested we go in the opposite direction from the way
we'd gone the last two rides. "Want to do the Covell overpass?" she asked. <imagine
you hear the sound of the Dragnet theme here>.
My moment of truth had arrived. I wasn't going to say no. She
assured me I'd be able to handle it. I assured her I'd be walking my bike.
Taking a deep breath, I started up the hill. Preparing to have to
downshift as far as possible, I switched to first gear on the left and began to downshift
on the right. But a strange thing happened. I was suddenly at the top with hardly any
downshifting at all. I was breathing hard, but I had made it!!!!!. It was with
incredible exultation that I coasted down the other side. What an amazing feeling of
We rode around forever, including a long dirt bike path. We found
ourselves near the bike overpass to South Davis again. What the heck. I am Biker--hear me
Off we headed to the bike overpass. Last time Cindy was miles ahead
of me by the time I reached the top. This time I was almost able to keep up with her. Two
hills in one day.
By the time we returned home, we'd ridden 15.7 miles. I was soaked
in sweat and my knees were starting to say "it's time to go home, idiot." But
I'd done it. I'd conquered the horrible hill and I'd been better on the bike overpass.
"Next the Alps," Cindy says.
Uh...Maybe not this week.
Thank you for nominating my entry, Moving On for a DiaristNet award!