IT WAS HILLY...
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.
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
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.