I’ve always been a dreamer. Not everyone can appreciate BIG dreams. Like they say, “Go big or go home,” so I dream BIG, baby! I love to look at catalogs and dream about what I could do with all the cute things. I like to read travel books and magazines and dream about all the places I could go. What is life if you have no dreams? I may never visit all the places I dream about going, but who cares? It’s fun to dream and to wish, and if you are lucky, you will get to plan some of your dreams into reality.
Over Independence Day weekend, I had the opportunity to ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail again. Just a few days before I turned 53, I road my cute, little red bike 42.8 miles. This was my longest ride to date! The first 22 were all uphill, too.<<—-that was never a dream of mine, by the way. <laughter> I fell off my bike before we ever started riding on the trail. Luckily, I had my helmet on, because I fell off the bike, flat on my back and whacked the crap out of my head. It was almost as funny as the time I tipped over like a cow because I couldn’t unclip my shoes from the pedals while going up hill while simultaneously trying to stop at a stop sign. I tipped over on my side, just like a cow. Thunk. Maybe I need to invest in a GoPro to start an interactive blog! Like I said in my intro blog post, I know virtually nothing about bikes, but I’m learning. Of course, my friend Katie did warn me that once I started wearing SPDs I would fall a few times. So, I just got it out of the way.
When we planned the ride, we decided that doing the uphill part would be best to do first, because it is the hardest. Never mind that we were one of a handful of people riding uphill. Virtually everyone shuttled from Damascus to Whitetop to ride the trail downhill all the way back to Damascus. Yes, you read that correctly, they have shuttles, actual gas powered vehicles, that bring people to the top of the hill and all that has to do be done? Coast on down. No pain no gain, I say. As I learned in the Army, pain is weakness leaving the body. Everyone enjoys a good workout, right? It was a really good, 22 mile workout. Downhill wasn’t really hard enough to consider a “workout”.
Another good reason to ride uphill first is that it makes the downhill ride more rewarding. In the same vein as I spoke about joy yesterday, one cannot truly appreciate the downhill ride unless they’ve first experienced the uphill pedaling. Until this particular day, I never truly understood the saying, “It’s all downhill from here.” You can bet your bottom dollar, I get it now— especially my legs. While the incline was never really steep enough to make my legs scream, they were very, very exhausted. Toward the end, I sounded a bit like Dori from Finding Nemo as I said to myself, “Just keep pedaling, just keep pedaling.” [and don’t expect me to speak]
It really was a fun ride made even more exciting with our matching jerseys. <awwww> The matching jerseys didn’t help me pedal uphill, but they did make for some sweet memories. I pushed myself, I was slow, but kept on pedaling all the way to the top. I struggled a bit at times, but kept my focus on getting to the top, just like the Little Engine that Could. Yes, I actually said to myself, “I think I can, I think I can…”. I knew I would be disappointed in myself if I quit. I also knew the downhill ride wouldn’t be as rewarding if I turned around in the middle. As I worked my way up the 22 mile climb, my thoughts tried to relate this adventure to something in life.
I drew a blank, because I am not sure normal people In the end, I just kept telling myself to pedal, not to quit, to keep moving. It worked, I got to the top. I didn’t have any profound insights on life or God, I was just thankful I made it.
We ended up going a mile or two extra because this book I bought with a section on the Virginia Creeper trail said that if you kept on going past Whitetop Station toward the North Carolina state line (still up hill) there would be incredible views of Whitetop Mountain. For the record, Whitetop is the second highest mountain in Virginia after Mount Rogers. We didn’t see Whitetop–Not even the tip of the peak. There is no view anywhere from the few miles on the trail past Whitetop station, the guide book lied. L-I-E-D, lied.
Just as expected, the ride to the bottom was fantabulous! It made the uphill struggle worth it. Okay, that and the ice cream Marty bought for me on the way back down made it worth the ride. Ice cream always makes things better. We’ve talked about me doing some road biking and on this trip, I decided that I WILL do road biking. I will get over all my fears of being pegged by a car and I will just do it. So, of course, I have a BIG Italian dream this time.
Equipment Cute equipment and big dreams help make goals reality. When I bought my little red bike at the consignment shop, I saw this really pretty road bike and decided then and there if I was ever going to do road biking it would be on this really sexy Italian road bike. Cute, sexy, with a pretty color called Celeste, what’s not to love?
I’ve started a road bike fund bank account. Right after I paid off my 2018 taxes from my IRS theft account, I renamed it, “road bike fund”. This was about a week or two after I bought my little red bike. Life is a beautiful ride, and I think it should be enjoyed on really cute bikes. They say after 50 that it’s all downhill from here like it’s a bad thing– I don’t feel 53 and I’m sure as hell enjoying the downhill ride toward 100. I’ve got a lot of BIG dreams and I’m going to make some of them happen!