This weekend Gary and I biked through Bastrop and Buescher State Parks. Wow, was it hilly! I was terrified most of the time. The fact that it was misty and wet, that the climbs and descents were steeper than I had ever experienced and that the roads were quite windy with blind turns might have had something to do with it.
It was quite a learning experience, complete with two falls and one hill where I clipped out and walked, and a time when I looked back after feeling like I was flying along, getting comfortable with the whole thing, singing the Doxology to the Lord (something I do on every ride) and my husband was gone. I stopped, waited and then started to wonder if perhaps I had it wrong and he had passed me. I yelled his name into the forest and no one answered. I got back on my bike and climbed those hills I had just sailed down (Adrenaline had to have carried me. I was terrified for what I might find. How could he have disappeared without calling out to me unless something awful had happened?) Soon I found him changing a flat. He had called out but I hadn’t heard him. Oops. Guess that must have happened when I started singing.
Anyhow, I am really glad I did this ride–twice now, as we went through the parks and then back. We rode together (okay, mostly together) through the parks the first time and then alone on the way back. I know when the time comes to go through the parks on the MS ride I’ll be ready. Sure, it will have it’s own harrowing moments as I push to crawl up the hills and then zoom down them with a pack of riders, praying not only that I don’t fall, but that the riders ahead of me don’t fall either. But at least I know what’s ahead. And I know that God will see me through. He taught me that (again) that morning. I just need to have faith and He will see me through the rest, provided it is His will.
This ride also showed me how to use all three gear-rings and how/ why you would use each. People had tried to explain it to me, but I never really understood. Now I do. Once I got into the smallest gear ring I stayed there most of the ride, even though I could tell I was missing out on the opportunity to build momentum before a climb by using the middle or largest ring. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get back into the small gear right when I needed it. I decided to save the lesson on switching between gear rings for later and just make the minor changes. (Sorry for lack of proper terminology here.) And just making those tiny changes made a huge difference. My ride back through the park was much faster, and less terrifying than the first ride through. Now maybe come April 13 it will actually be fun!! :)
Length: 23.39 miles
Average speed: 10.7 mph (okay, these hills were STEEP, remember?? And slick!)
Max speed: 28.3 mph (and that was riding the brakes)
average heart rate: 75% of max
maximum heart rate: 120%