Monday, March 17, 2008

Thoughts while cycling

I usually think about what I am going to blog about while doing my daily ride. You know, brainstorm for ideas, get thoughts organized, etc. But not today...Today I was too busy trying to breath enough to remain conscious!

After the move yesterday and getting settled in last night, I got on the internet to find the best route to get me on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I had visions of beautiful vistas, little (if any) traffic, steady pedaling up hills (after all I do have my sweet new road bike so I can handle some hills! Right?), and screaming down the other side. All in all a perfect ride!

Well, things didn't go quite as planned. First, the route chosen to get to the Parkway wasn't exactly ideal. It started out well enough but when I made that hairpin turn onto a gravel road where I came grill to grill with a very large truck, I suddenly realized that I hadn't made a great routing decision. But I continued on - around hairpin turns too numerous to mention! After about 10 minutes, I finally made it to my destination - The Blue Ridge Parkway.

I found a place to park, changed into my cycling shoes, put on my helmet, unloaded my bike, clipped in, and started my ride. I chose to start out uphill since I was doing an out-and-back route. Save the fun til the end and all that. And so I pedalled, getting steadily slower and slower and more out of breath and more out of breath. I glanced down at my odometer. .25 miles! What!! I was already sucking wind like there was no tomorrow.

How was I ever going to do the ride I had planned like this? Answer - I wasn't. I made it .75 miles, going steadily uphill. Wheezing, coughing, struggling to breath, cursing my lack of fitness, making a mental promise to never ride again - and then I turned around. And then I remembered why I love being on my bike. That downhill was fantastic! All too quickly, there was the car. This is where I should stop. I really should stop but, dang, this is so much fun. So I sped right by my parked car.

Then an ugly thought popped into my head. Oh my god! I am going to have to go up every inch of hill that I am flying down right now. So that stopped me dead in my tracks and I turned around and headed back to the car. When I made it back, I looked at my odometer again - 2 miles. How wimpy is that!

But on the drive home, I thought of several excuses why I thought my lungs were going to explode:
  1. I am sick (spoken in a very pitiful voice). I must have tons of mucus coating every inch of my lungs making my breathing capacity significantly reduced.
  2. There must be something wrong with that dang bicycle because it surely couldn't be the rider.
  3. I am not used to this elevation. Oh, the elevation of Banner Elk (3739 ft above sea level) is insignificant, you say. I think not - especially when I have basically been living at sea level.
  4. The cold air must have been sapping all my energy trying to keep my body warm. But then why was I sweating?

Did any of those fly? I didn't think so. Ok truth is - I am fat and I am a wimp. But, by God, I did get out there and ride! And tonight I am going to try to convince Vol Fan to drive me to the top of the hill I was riding up and pick me up at the bottom! Wow, what I ride that would be!!

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