So yesterday I walked.
Today, despite the decision having apparently been made, was up in the air again as I went to sleep last night. I had to lecture myself to shut up and not think about it until this morning. Before the decision to join the BCP ride I had thought to ride to and through Ridley Creek State Park to Middletown Road (352). Last night I was debating switching back to that plan. In the end I did switch back because it meant could get out earlier. The BCP ride didn't start until noon. I was out, done riding, showered and watching Jim Nabors sing and kick off the Indy 500 with a cup of coffee by 12:15. :)
Still when I went out this morning I was wondering if I really wanted to tackle that hilly ride. I was psyching myself out before I even put my helmet on. So I did the only thing I could. I went out for a spin around my neighborhood to see how I felt and go from there. After 2 miles I realized I'd rather tackle the hills then ride mindlessly around Media for miles.
You'll see from the garmin that I stalled before heading down Sycamore Mills Road taking a spin around the middle school parking lot. Finally I figured "just go for it or you'll beat yourself up after."
So down the hill I went thinking the not helpful thought "What goes down must come up damn it." Hmm then I noticed the road actually levels off before finishing the descent to the creek. Hmmm ok. "Remember that on the way back", I told myself.
I wish I understood why riders (mostly guys - sorry but it's true) think they can just swish past you without warning. The same rider did it three times - once on my right- on this ride along with a few others. I get it, dude - you are faster and better at this than I am. And you are also a ........ very rude. Grrrrrr.
The multi use trail at RCSP is a loop. For those that know it, I did not attempt to ride up the BIG hill. I'm determined but not crazy. It was a beautiful day on the loop. The creek was running high, the sun was shining, and it smelled wonderful (I'll pay for that later but I don't care). I decided to enjoy the peacefulness of the park and just ride. I didn't care how fast I did not go. Just get to the top at Middletown Road, turn around and come back down.
One of the quirks of this loop is that it is treated as a road. It is a road for the folks that live on the grounds of the park. So people on their feet are encouraged - with multiple reminders to travel on the left facing traffic. Traffic being bikes and the occasional car or park vehicle. The thing is everyone gets confused. And on a lovely day like today there are LOTS of people and their dogs getting confused. Add to that the cyclists who do not give warning and it can be an interesting and challenging trip. Still I enjoyed all of it.
I did take my time. My goal to simply keep moving. And you know what it wasn't so tough after all. I never had to get down into my lowest front chain ring.
On the way back down to the Barren Road entrance I realized how much of a long slow climb that section really is. I could have coasted the whole way down. Already I was fretting about the ride up Sycamore Mills Road to Rose Tree Road. :(
I stopped at the waterfall to take a picture and to listen to it for a bit. Moving water is my most favorite sound in the world. I truly was feeling more peaceful as I left the park over the bridge and into Sycamore Mills Road.
The start of the road here is really rough. Winter did a number on it and there isn't much smooth road left here. The uphill starts just after this. It's a gradual easy climb ( piece of cake after the loop anyway) to Feathering Road. I took the Feathering road loop around the biggest hill. I did it on the way down too. Most cyclists do. I see them every day as I travel by car here to and from work. The hill being avoided is steep and on a curve. It's not worth taking a chance on a bike if you don't have to.
Coming out on the other side begins the long slow climb. "Remember it levels just over there" I kept telling myself. I did drop down into my lowest front ring here. Thinking back maybe I didn't quite need to. It was a mental thing. But hey it worked! I kept moving. Leveled out and kept moving up the second climb.
Here I have to thank those of you who read my blog. Knowing that helped. I did not want to have to tell you that I got off the bike and walked. Thank you! I do have to say that while I kept moving, smiling was not part of the picture here.
Sooner than I expected I saw the school zone sign. I was done! I had survived the climb. NOW I was smiling and in fact had a stupid grin on my face the rest of the way home.
This trip is a perfect example of how your mind can do you in. I had built this up way worse than it actually was. I ended up having to overcome the actual ride and the one that my mind had made up. I worked way harder than was necessary. *shrug* It's all good. Lessons learned (I hope)