Ah, I had such plans for yesterday afternoon! After the allergist, I was going to go out for a bike ride, then come home, clean up, make dinner, bake bread, and knit. Alas, the best laid plans of pirates…
Well, I did get the bike ride in, at least (also, cleaning up and dinner). I started from my usual spot at the base of the mountain and set off with the vague idea that I was going to aim for my longest ride yet. The first hill seemed steeper than usual. More than once I thought of turning around. But I persevered and took many breaks, and after some time I made it to my first biking goal – the end of New Mountain Road.
My total ride distance was just over twelve and a half miles, and I did it (including breaks) in about 90 minutes. Here you can see the ups and downs of my route. Cruising down the hills at top speed is lots of fun, but I’m getting a lot better at the uphills too. I am quite a bit stronger than when I started; I didn’t even have to use the lowest gear on some of the hills this time!
I took some pictures here and there when I stopped to rest my legs.
First I passed this abandoned building. It looks like it might have once been a church. I’d love to go there with a better camera and get some shots of the structure and the grounds. It’s amazing that the stone wall is still in such good shape. There were some beautiful trees in full flower on the property that I took some time to admire; I’ve always thought it fortunate that the flowering trees aren’t the ones that cause allergic reactions!
I took a breather at the top of a hill to watch these horses grazing. The brown one in front snorted a friendly greeting to me. I couldn’t get a good picture through the fence, so I got off the bike and went closer to take a better picture. The gray horse came right over to see what was going on.
He hung his head over the fence and was happy to let me scritch his nose for a while. Maybe next time I will bring along some sugar cubes or baby carrots for them. People in passing cars (and a few motorcyclists) stopped to wave at me when they went by. I was so glad to be on a bike and not in a car so I could just stop on a whim to pet the horses – I haven’t ridden a horse in many years, so it was a real treat.
The roof on this building was falling in and vines were beginning to take over the walls… yet there was a newer-looking “no parking” sign nailed to the wall of the second structure. I wonder who lived here, and how long ago. What were they like? What did they do, and why did they leave their house to fall down? I would have stayed longer to look around, but it was getting late.
The last uphill was a real struggle; I had to stop twice to rest but eventually I made it to my car and sat there for a couple of minutes with the air conditioning blowing full blast. I don’t know if the ride was harder because I wasn’t in top form or because it was 85 degrees out and a million percent humidity, but either way I’m proud of myself for reaching this goal. It was the ambitious route that I mapped out for myself before I even started riding, the one about which I said “when I can ride this, I’ll feel really good about my biking!”
Now I can. Yeah! Time to set the next goal! How does fifteen miles sound?