My love of biking

This is the post where I confess my love for biking. And summer. And doing it with friends {or my husband}.

I’m on my third season of biking and am feeling like this is my strongest season yet. I spent a lot of the winter months working out and hoping that my quads were going to come through for me. I won’t act too confident yet because I only have one 20+ mile day. Every other day is about 10 miles. But, most of the 10 mile days have felt great! 😉 Here’s a little secret, when you’re gearing up {haha} to ride your bike across the state….well, 10 miles doesn’t mean much of anything. Our lightest day will be 49 miles. So…I need some more saddle time it seems!

I am pretty proud of myself for getting a tough ride in before July. It didn’t feel very good the first half, which is a lot of hills. My quads were on fire and I didn’t have the go power that I wanted. When you’re on a really shitty hill, sometimes you have to tell yourself to just keep pedaling. “You can do it. Keep going. Keep pedaling.” And eventually I made it up that ridiculously awful hill. It’s a hill I despise. Being my first time this year, I kind of forgot HOW MUCH I hate that hill. You come from a gravel road, so basically at a dead stop, and then have a ridiculously long climb. As far as the eye can see, it’s still a hill. I’ve been known to screw myself up by looking ahead. It’s so far away that it’s defeating. I made the mistake of doing that today. I was going into an easier gear so I could keep up my speed and I looked up instead of just right in front of me. We were about 25% of the way up the incline and I felt my momentum die. On a steady incline, you don’t want your momentum to die. I had to gear down some more to keep it up and that was when I had to talk myself into pedaling and keeping my eyes on my tire instead of ahead of me. It’s a lot to deal with while trying to get up a difficult hill, physically forcing your eyes not to look up, moving your legs at a steady pace, and breathing. I think there’s a lot of character building that happens on a hill like that. I don’t give up easily. In that moment when the end isn’t in sight, I can see how easy it would be to give up. I made it up that stupid hill. It didn’t feel pretty, but I made it. And I loved it to its fullest on the way back when I was racing down it at 29 mph!

Part of the reason I’ve felt so strong this year is because of some reoccurring pains last year. I had problems with my neck and shoulder area hurting really bad. It was never on the same side and I couldn’t figure out how to position myself to not have it happen. I worked to build up my back and shoulders over the winter and am feeling pretty good so far. Between biking and softball, my quads get a lot of use during the summer. Last year I was constantly pulling them, which made both activities awful and at times really difficult. I spent all summer putting on Biofreeze but was still suffering. This year, I’m using Biofreeze as a preventative for softball but haven’t pulled them during either activity. However, after a double-header last Wednesday, they were still sore on Friday’s ride!

One of my favorite parts about biking is that I get to spend a lot of time with my friends. And sometimes my husband. Now, as a runner he sprints. That pretty much translates to biking also. So he rides a little faster than me and I don’t have any breath to actually talk to him. But I enjoyed his music this afternoon!

I’m not a morning person, but there’s something indescribable about 5 am on the bike trail with friends. A fresh start to a new day. It’s a mix of cool and humid. We pull into the parking lot and mutter hello as all of us wake up. Most mornings someone is struggling with bike gear because we left our houses during the 4 am hour. We get on those bikes and our brains and bodies start to wake up. Some mornings we talk about meaningless things. But most mornings we talk about real things. Things that are too much for text messages. Because being a mom means you send most of your adult conversations via text. Summers on the bike trail feel like our place to reconnect. Life is just as busy, but we make the time for us. We use the “excuse” that we need to train, but I think all of us do it just as much for the social togetherness. And maybe the bikers “high.”

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