Monday, July 11, 2016
Today I went for a bicycle ride with my dad along the trail near my house that goes out towards Suttons Bay. We did not ride the whole trail but managed about eight miles out and back, sixteen miles total. Today was only my fourth time riding my road bike this year. A few years ago I had accomplished weeks worth of frequent riding time by this point in the summer. Sixteen miles would have been an easy ride for me back then, but it certainly wasn't easy for me today.
About half way out towards Suttons Bay the trail runs into Lakeview Hills Road. Before they paved the middle section of the trail a few years ago this was the turn off point for road bikers. You could take Lakeview Hills down and around and eventually connect back to the paved trail. This alternative route was slightly longer and a lot hillier, so when they finally paved the entire trail choosing to stay on the straighter, flatter path became the easier choice. Before I noticed, I had gone months and then years without taking the Lakeview Hills route. So today my dad and I decided to ride up the first two hills before turning around to head home.
Guys, I forgot how hard it is to climb hills. Years ago, after riding the same hills all summer I started to feel like I could climb anything. Unfortunately, time quickly erases those physical talents we once worked so hard to achieve. The first hill was deceptive and I conquered it pretty easily, but that second hill almost killed me. I was about one third of the way up the second hill when I started slowing down and felt a little like everything inside of me was falling apart. You know those cartoons where the character is driving along in a car and suddenly parts start falling off until the car is just an axel with wheels and a seat? Well that's how I imagined my ride up that second hill. I downshifted until I couldn't anymore and then all I had was the pedals and my feet. The entire time I was panting and kept thinking, "just keep going, just keep going." We have two choices when confronted with a challenge, we can either give up or keep pushing forward.
Eventually, I made it to the top of the second hill. As I tried to regain my breathe I was able to look out over the bright blue water and distant tree cover hills thankful that I didn't give up. Sometimes being able to see the world a little better is worth the pain of climbing a hill, especially if you haven't done it in a while. I finished today's ride with sore muscles and an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment.