Everyone remembers their first, right?
I had a short turn around my aunt’s neighborhood while cycling with my 8 year old cousin, and the ride to the house from the bike shop, but really, I don’t count those two as my first.
It was a hot monday in July, the 23rd, right before my birthday. Of course, I know this because I was trying to figure out whether to use the Strava app on my iphone or use Mapmyride, as they both had heavily advertised their existence during the TdF. That Strava actually used the iphone’s GPS to map won over the calorie counting functionality of Mapmyride, since I could get that from Myfitnesspal instead.
That day after work, I came home and decided that it was time to take on the big hill just up the street. I had planned a bit of a ride in my mind the week since I had come home from Rehoboth with my bike on the back of the SUV. Since we were bringing back all sorts of presents, as well as a stroller, there was no way I could fit it in the back of the SUV, so we went back to All Wheels and picked up a [amazon_link id=”B004N96DIM” target=”_blank” ]Saris Bike Porter hitch rack[/amazon_link] to tote my bike home; it was the only 2 bike one they had that was a hitch-mount.
I put on my helmet, stuck the iphone in my left pocket, and off I went.
The confidence that I had was quickly shattered just a mere 400 yards down the road as the big hill ripped me apart. I shifted all the way to the big ring in the back, and I was still struggling. But pain and determination are all part of the plan, so I muscled up the hill and coasted down the back of it.
After that I started on my path. Cross the big intersection, to the less traveled cross street, and up another hill. Towards the top of it, I kept looking back over my left shoulder expecting to see a car. Instead I found my way veering to the right about to smack into the curb. I quickly realized that in my present condition, there was no way of avoiding it. If I broke too hard, I felt I was going over the handle bars, so off to the right of the bike I went.
A small scrape on my left hand, and a bruised ego later (having this witnessed by someone out walking her dogs), I got back up and continued on my run. I figured this was not going to be the first time I end up on the deck, so might as well get one of them out of the way at a very low speed.
I wound my way back through my neighborhood: an uphill grade, with a nice long downhill run, back across the big intersection, and then up another hill that reminded me my legs were shot, so I turned around and headed home.
This is when I remembered I had to go back up the big hill to get there.
The big hill (well, really not all that big) shorter and steeper the way I came up it first, but the way home it’s a long (to me!) half mile climb, that gets steepest at its end. And by steep, Strava says somewhere between 8% & 10%.
I only had to stop twice to get over the hill.
Coasted on home, but had to get off at the my driveway as I had no energy to pop up onto my sidewalk.
And then what followed was a half hour of trying to catch my breath, re-hydration, and not passing out. I sat on the floor, head between my knees, my daughter concerned and supportive with “Da da da da da da” as she patted me. The truth is unavoidable; I am quite out of shape.
One might get discouraged with an outcome like this. A short little 3 mile ride, up some short (108 feet elevation gain total) rolling hills, and a fall.
What this did was make me want to do it more. To figure out what I did wrong, how I cracked so early, and how to ride longer in the saddle… Just like my first time.