The day of the ride out to Gay Head and (for some) back. This is the big ride of the week, approximately 44 miles round trip. There are options and I know I can stop at anytime that I need or want. I have heard a much about this ride and I am nervous. There are 3 legs(each way) on this journey and I was hoping to make it through the first two intact.
The first part is pretty easy, the state forest is mostly flat and a pleasure to ride through. There were some short steep hills & some with curves to maneuver. I was instructed to go as fast as I could down these hills and as soon as I felt resistance on my pedals to downshift so I wouldn't pop the chain off. Well, as we approached the loop de doo's there were sign's saying 'SLOW' & 'STEEP GRADE' just like on a steep highway. I must admit I had to fight with myself to ignore the signs and do what I was told. The first one was straight down and straight up, roller coaster style. I could not make myself pedal, however I did not break either. Once in a while the extra weight on my body comes in handy and it carried me nearly to the top of the hill! Whew. The next one involved a few curves and a hill. Again, I really had to fight my fears and just do it. I called ahead and asked if that was the last one and the only reply I received was laughter. I made it through just fine and it is fun once you relax a bit. We stopped at a store and an outdoor art gallery for a break. Then, onward we pressed and it was easy going at first with just a few hills and also traffic as we were on the road now. Then some big hills, I mistakenly thought these didn't start until the third leg which I had planned on opting out of. I just kept plugging away and and heard a few comment of look at this and here at the top of this hill is a cemetery where John Belushi is buried. I have too say I did not see a lot of scenery, I was to busy pedaling. At one point, Katie (sis-in-law) got off her bike in front of me and I thought "I'll pass her, I am not getting off this bike", I did not get off the bike but I didn't pass either. It was granny gear all the way up those hills!
I didn't take any pictures during this part of the ride either, too busy. We rested again at a store and after a few minutes I felt fine and I started toying with the idea of riding the rest of the way. I asked about the hills ahead and was told that they were not any worse than the ones I had just ridden. I decided to go for it! I have to admit the first big hill I had some words with myself and I was not congratulating myself on the decision I had made. But I pushed through it, my internal dialogue was pretty funny in retrospect lots of swearing and lots of "Little Engine That Could" getting me through those big hills. I made it to the top with much screaming on my part and cheering from everyone else. What a feeling!
This is the last pic I took that day. The ride was long and hard and I loved it. Katie & I went our own way and I must take credit for the first wrong turn and then it started to get dark and we went wrong again and our cell phones had died and there were no houses or stores. Luckily, we spotted a truck pulling out of a street and stopped him, he kindly gave us a ride back to the house.
We entered the house at 9:30pm to the sound of cheering!