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11 November 2002

On Mother's Day this year, I took my first "long-ish" bike ride, with Haggie, along the American River bike trail in Sacramento. We rode for 17 miles and when we returned to the parking lot, I could barely move. In fact, in my entry for that day, I said that I just kind of slumped over the rack, my legs and arms having suddenly turned to spaghetti. "Do you want me to put your bike on the rack for you," Haggie asked. I was too exhausted to say "No--that's all right. I can do it." But hey--she's younger than Jeri and it was Mother's Day, so I didn't feel guilty.  (I also, in that entry said that my goal for this year was to ride 202 miles...I've certain done THAT!)

The one thing I remember about the trail was the hills. When you leave the parking lot, you ride up a hill and then it's rolling hills all the way. I remember thinking as we rode down the first long hill that we'd have to ride up coming back. I almost made it, too. But the longest, steepest hill at the very end of the trail defeated me and I had to get off and walk. There were times going up other hills when I thought I was going to die, but I couldn't let Haggie see me struggling.

I've always wanted to go back, but first came the heat of summer and then came other activities which conflicted. But when SecraTerri said that she and David were going to do the trail this weekend, and did I want to join them, I leaped at the chance. I wanted to see how I could handle the hills now that I have a few inclines under my belt and a few more miles than 17 as well.

"Can I come too?" Walt asked, when he heard David would be along.

So while he got dressed, I got the bike rack on the car and the two bikes loaded on it and we headed off to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery, where I had met Haggie 5-6 months before.

Terri and David were right behind us, it seemed, when we entered the parking lot, and then we had The Great Decision to make. It was drizzling, and though the weather persons had said it was going to clear up this weekend, Terri and David had been out under a tree in a downpour for a very long time yesterday when they did a different stretch of the path and were understandably reluctant to repeat that experience.

But it was one of those soft rains that could go either way--it could develop into a real storm, or it could blow over and off into the Sierras. And we'd been talking about doing this bike ride together for months.

We decided that we'd go at least a part of the way along the trail, as long as we were there, and so we could say we had done it, but I decided to leave my camera in the car, just in case.

Good idea.

The first thing I noticed was that I didn't even have to downshift to get up the "hill" that goes from the parking lot to the bike trail.

As we rode along, I kept waiting for the big hills that I remembered, but they all seemed like barely gentle slopes. But it seemed that we were going downhill most of the time. Walt reminded me we had to go uphill on the way back.

The rain continued to fall, softly and when we stopped to watch salmon spawning in the river, buzzards in the trees waiting for them to die so they could have dinner, we again conferred about continuing on or turning back. I remembered that there was a picturesque bridge up ahead not very far and suggested we ride at least that far before deciding to turn back, so we did.

It is a foot/bike bridge and David wanted to check it out, so we rode up the hill to the bridge. This was a hill. But I had no difficulty with it, other than having to shift down to 4th gear.

We decided that the rain was just too threatening, so even though we'd only gone 2 miles, we decided to return to the parking lot (good idea--it began to pour as we got on the freeway heading home). Going back would mean more uphill, including the hill that I had to walk up the last time.

Only there were no hills. Just more rolling gentle slopes. Even the "hill" that had defeated me the last time was easily conquered, with a simple downshift momentarily.

We were all pretty much drenched by the time we returned to the parking lot, but now that we've been on the trail and Terry and David have seen what it's like, we're planning a spring trip, when the whole area should be just glorious--and I'll go farther than 17 miles, 'cause 17 miles seems like nothing these days. Heck, I often ride that far just in Davis before breakfast on Saturdays.

I've come a long way since May.

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(It may not look like it, but we were all feeling like drowned rats here.)

Quote of the Day

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.

~ Ernest Hemingway, 'By-Line'

Photo of the Day

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Another scene from the Farmers' Market


One Year Ago
A Flock of Journalists
The Internet is a strange and wonderful place. You meet people of all types, you get to "know" them, and then occasionally, you actually get to meet them face to face.

Two Years Ago
The Sky Is Falling!
If I really had to choose just one special memory to carry with me into eternity, it would be one of those private, personal memories that stay hidden in your heart, but which you bring out on occasion and gently examine with your mind, the kind of memory that makes the corners of your mouth turn up in a secret smile which causes friends to say "My, don’t you look nice today!" That would be a wonderful choice to hold for all eternity.

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Pounds Lost:  81
(this figure is updated on Tuesdays)

On the Odometer

URL 690.4 + 36
Blue Angel 304.9

> 1000 miles since February!

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Created 11/9/02