Tours, Trails & Group Rides

Conquering a Nemesis

This has been a month of firsts for Basil and me:  First huge cycling event (the 5 Boro Tour), first time riding in New York City traffic, and this ride, my first attempt to conquer I ride I’ve feared for quite a while — the long steady climb into a local town. Inclines are not my friend; I have a lot of trouble going up, particularly if the action must be sustained.

This one doesn’t look like much, does it?  In my defense, it continues beyond the curve ahead; somehow I just can’t seem to capture its fearsome nature in a photograph. The ride is equally steep either way, with equal breaks, too, where Basil and I can just fly downhill.  It was hard work, and I struggled a bit, but Basil and I made it into town and back:  One more first!

We stopped along the way to explore a cemetery.   Though these trees are enormous, they have a certain grace. Basil posed beneath this one. (Mr. Diarist saw this shot, and said “Haven’t I seen this before?” knowing full well he hadn’t — Basil is just fond of posing with trees!)

From a distance, I wondered if the tree had been burned. I think, instead, that it must have lost a limb.  When I lived in orchard country, if I recall correctly, damaged areas on trees were often treated with tar (maybe creosote?) to seal and protect the vulnerable spot where there was no bark.  I think that’s what I saw here:

It’s a fascinating look at the texture of the wood — as well as testimony to the resilience of the tree itself.

Other than going, at times, very, very slowly, we had only one bothersome moment:  A single gust of wind nearly knocked us over.. When I checked the weather record after, the highest recorded gust was only 14 mph/22.5 kph, so it’s surprising that it affected us so greatly.  (Although it’s worth noting that measurement was taken at the weather station, not exactly where Basil and I were.)  In any event, we held our ground, and arrived home safely.  Now I want to see if, with practice, I become stronger, and more capable, at managing this route. That’s what spring is for!

11 replies on “Conquering a Nemesis”

That hill looks very unpleasant. I do the Manhattan Bridge twice a day. Some days it’s a breeze. Some days I think I’m going to hurl. I despise that elevations don’t stay still.

if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger, maybe. Also, you don’t have to reach the top immediately; you just have to get from “here to there” and then do it again…much more manageable and consider all the goals that you have conquered on your way to the top…sort of a metaphor for life. Some days those “hills” just seem higher than others. ah, the beauty and mysteries of life.

Congrats on the conquest! I “get the picture” of your hill! I got MyBea in January, and the majority of my riding to date has been commuting to/from work. Being in Seattle, it’s not on the flat, but directionally, it’s a good setup. In the morning the hill on which I live is in my favor — I ride to work 2-1/2 miles downhill — whee! — arriving in basically the same condition as when I left home. The return? Still a killer for me, as I gain 300′ in elevation, beginning with the first pedal down, and without respite (I realize that for most it wouldn’t seem like much, but for me it’s the duration of the darned thing!). At this point, I remain one block short of being able to do the ride in one mount, in part due to that block’s particular gain and also because I’m blue in the face by the time I arrive to that stretch. At least MyBea is easy to stroll with, but someday I hope to make it the entire way. Keep it up!

Seattle Rider! We haven’t heard from you since you first got MyBea! Clever of you to have arranged your commute with the non-sweaty part of the ride at the beginning . . . you’ll get the hang of your return trip over time, I’m sure, though. Anyway, there’s no shame in dismounting! I have one last hill — short, but steep — just beofre my own home, and it took quite a while before I could get up it without fearing falling on my face, and I’m still sooooo slow, and carrying a lot of weignt in luggage while climbing there is painful. But that’s OK; as Saul says above, you just have to get from “here to there”. It doesn’t have to be a race!

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