Thursday, October 07, 2004

Lessons from the Saddle: Part 3

Sue about to go uphill
We knew that we had it pretty easy biking the flat roads and trails of home, but I don’t think we truly appreciated just how easy we had it. We have just hauled our bikes via two rooftop carriers across province to cottage country. Having never biked here before, we hadn’t really noticed how hilly the terrain is. Well, you don’t when you’re walking or driving, do you? I mean, you do, if it’s extremely noticeable, but you normally take undulations for granted. We are not so dumb as to think that this area is flat, but seemingly little gradations have a habit of becoming magnified when you are trying to pedal up them.

Yesterday, we found ourselves being unrealistically adventurous by taking a semi-familiar route to some nearby lakes. We didn’t even make it up the first hill, a hill that we have nonchalantly traversed on numerous occasions by foot or automobile. This pushing of the bikes became rather the norm than the exception yesterday as we encountered rise after rise. I frequently found myself sucking air big time while my aging legs quivered like so much jelly and copious quantities of sweat gushed from every pore. Silly fools that we are, we foolishly and ignorantly kept on plodding forward (or upward) and ended up pushing the bikes up many a hill which we hadn’t truly known existed.

Because it was a rather nippy day, I began our adventure layered in a tee-shirt, with a sweatshirt over top and a light bicycle jacket forming the first layer of defence. Exertion soon provided all of the heat that my body required. In short order, I doffed the jacket, and very shortly afterward I peeled off the sweatshirt. But the sweat still poured.

John on the trail
To make matters worse, we decided to take a forested trail back to the cottage. There were a number of stops and starts as we had to get off to walk the bikes over or under fallen limbs. At one point, I was seriously abused by a branch that ambushed me when I didn’t duck low enough. I should have just lowered my helmeted head, and I did, but I also turned my head to the side thereby exposing my neck to assault. Score one for the tree which found the naked and tender spot and exploited the vulnerability ruthlessly.

Let me tell you, when I got home, I was somewhat pleased that we had done it and survived but vowed a very serious vow, to never make that particular trek again. Evah! Given my advanced years and non-svelte physique, it was just a tad rash of me to undertake that particular adventure. I might have been up to it had I been training modest inclines all summer, but riding the plains of home in no way prepared me for yesterday’s ordeal.

No serious Lesson from the Saddle today: just a light and obvious one … or maybe two. One: have at least a tiny little think before you pedal off madly in all directions. Two: when your resource-base shifts, re-evaluate your plans accordingly.

Well … I had to think of some lesson. Give me a break on this, will ya?


JV said...

"Maybe I'll write a blog on [becoming better but not needing to be the best]. Just kidding ... I think."

Please do. I could use another thoughtful take on this.


Anvilcloud said...


One of my early blogs sort of touched on this.