I just got back from my first “big” ride. And by “big” I mean – I got up at 6am, so that under the cloak of early morning most people would not be up to see me. And by “big” I also mean it was about a 4 ½ mile ride. For a run, people would think, “Oh, OK, that’s pretty good.” For a bike ride? “Puh-lease. That’s no ‘big’ ride.” But the early morning gave me solitude. It might take me a while to figure out how to smoothly change gears and get up and down hills in one piece. And it was nice staying on mostly quiet neighborhood streets without many cars.
Another thing that I’ll need to figure out is what to wear on an early morning bike ride. Yeah, yeah, fashion doesn’t matter for 6am exercise, but comfort does. I know what to wear for a 6am run! Um, apparently it’s not at all the same for a bike ride. I was FREEZING. I forgot to take into account the fact that on a bike, I’ll be going a lot faster than when I run, and I’d have this whole speedy-wind-blowing thing happen. I’m sad to report that I just don’t run fast enough to have cold speed-induced wind whipping around me constantly. (Shocking, I know).
I’m proud to say that I didn’t completely baby-step into this ride though. Yes, I did go early so few would see me, and yes, I did avoid streets and mostly stayed on sidewalks, but I DID take on some hills. The first big hill I did is a beast. It’s one of the hills that Andrea and I do ‘hill repeats’ on when we’re in the mood for torture on a run. I was so pumped up for this hill, totally pep-talking myself the whole…way…up…to about half-way where I came to a total stand-still ‘cuz I couldn’t figure out the gears. Do you go so super-fast-easy (I don’t know what kind of gear this is…uh, low?) that your legs are churning so quickly you’re like a hamster in a wheel? Or do you crank that gear on and rock it slow and steady, standing on those pedals to climb that bad boy of a hill? I think I got stuck somewhere in between, and I just came to a complete stop. I immediately had visions of my 11 year old bubblegum pink bubblegum helmet head-self walking my bike up yet another hill. I quickly checked the sidewalk for any signs of my Jack-in-the-Box/giant ping pong ball head shadow but didn’t see one. Oh right, the sun isn’t up yet for shadows. At the top of the hill, I stopped for a moment looking down at my bike and fiddling with the seat height. Really, there was no problem whatsoever with my bike or seat; I just wanted to make it look like there was a reason for my needing to WALK up the hill lest anyone see and wonder why I’m such a wuss.
And what goes up must come down. Now, this neighborhood south of us has some serious hills, and I didn’t choose just any hill to go down, I chose the hill of all hills, the mountain of all mountains. I chose Mount Olympus. No, really. The neighborhood is called Olympus and this is a HUGE, long, STEEP hill at the entrance into the neighborhood. It’s totally reasonable that this hill be called Mount Olympus. It makes sense. And I bet you anything people do call it that. So, Mount Olympus it is. It was, um, scary. But I went slowly. Oh my goodness, I went so. ridiculously. SLOW. No, spandex-clad, team rides for me…until I’m not terrified of going downhill.
The boys think my bike is beyond cool. They’re mesmerized by the whole thing. The fact that I even have a helmet totally rocks their world. Zach thought it was the funniest thing ever when we bonked helmet-heads together. Last night, when we got home from swim lessons, it was still light out and had stopped raining, so we decided to ride around on our street for a little bit. One of the neighbors drove by and looking at all of us – Matthew and I on bikes and Zachary on his tricycle – he said, “Woah, check out the neighborhood biker gang!” When I told Matthew that I was going to get up early this morning and go for a ride he said, “I’ll come too!” I had to let him down gently, after all, he is our ‘teenage boy’ when it comes to sleeping and getting up in the morning. It’s hard to turn down a kid with a jack-o-lantern smile like this. (But I did. Mean mommy. I did.)