Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bicycling becoming more of a breeze

Recently Katie and I went for a "real" bike ride, as opposed to the toodling around I did last time.

We went up and down hills to McCray's Farm in South Hadley, one of our favorite destinations (by car) when the kids were little. These were not killer hills, and they never bothered me before, but, as I said to Katie and Joe before we headed out, "I'm only 2 1/2 years old now."

At the first hill, I thought, "This is going to be too hard, I can't do it." But then I remembered a motto from my longer-distance running and biking days: Don't look too far ahead at the hill or you'll freak out. Look down and only a short distance in front of you, glancing up ahead from time to time. Of course you want to enjoy the view, but look around only when you're cruising along.

It occurred to me that this tactic of looking only a short distance ahead applies to most of life's challenges. When I got diagnosed, I thought, "I'll never be able to do this." The days when I was able to narrow my focus were the best days mentally.

Anyway, I got to McCray's with a little huffing and puffing, but no worse for the wear. Once there, we enjoyed the view, visited the animals for old times, and since it is after all a creamery, had ice cream.

On the way back, I thought how beautiful it is in the Pioneer Valley, not the intense beauty of the ocean or of high mountains but the calm beauty of rolling hills.

Last Sunday, when I was in the Boston area for my checkup, I cycled through more beautiful countryside when I took a ride with my college friend Rook starting from his home in Weston. It rained lightly on and off, but that was OK. We went almost 20 miles, and I really got into the rhythm and overcame the fear of falling left over from last summer when my balance was out of whack and I actually was falling.

We went through Lincoln and Concord, passing Walden Pond and other historic sites. As Rook said, it was hard to believe we were just 30 miles from Boston.

There were some small hills and one big one, and although I went pretty slowly, I didn't get off.

When I picked up speed or cruised along, I remembered why I had liked cycling so much. It's that feeling of being free, of flying along, of clearing your mind and of seeing your surroundings so much more vividly than when you're driving.


PJ said...

I plan to do a little biking today as a cross-training exercise. I hate the hills; I like flat. But there's no flat here except on the main road and I'm not doing that.

I just posted about my liver. They want to do a biopsy to confirm gvh. A scan showed nothing amiss. I guess they're being super-cautious. I too see more prednisone in my future

Cheryl said...

Sounds like a great ride and enjoyable company. A great effort. Reminds me of the days, many moons ago, that my late husband and I would take oiur youngest son, and the dog and go for miles just as the sun was rising each morning. Sheer bloss...