I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
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April 25, 2013Posted by on
My last post was this picture:
It was another bicycling moment.
As I’ve written over the months, after a long, loooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnngggggg year of struggling with the effects of a groin injury, I’ve finally given up on physical therapy and the hope that running is just around the corner for me. Bicycling is not affected by the injury. It also doesn’t aggravate it. And, based on the last few weeks, may actually provide some assistance to the healing process.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been bicycling near the home base. Setting out on heavily traveled roads near my home for 45-75 minute rides. I’ve shared pictures of pastures and sloughs, cows and clouds. I’ve spared you the pictures of the cars whizzing past mere inches from my fragile frame. I’ve spared you descriptions of the noise of traffic and odor of gas fumes.
Today, I re-familiarized myself with the American River Bike Trail. It’s something that many people refer to as a jewel in the midst of Sacramento. Stretching from downtown Sacramento to Folsom Lake, it’s 32 miles long. If you look at an elevation map of the trail, it’s a long, gradual uphill heading out from Sacramento towards the lake, with a jump in elevation at the very end. And, on most days, going in that direction you get a tail wind. Turn around and, no matter how slight, there’s a headwind.
One day, many years ago, I set out from the seven mile marker and rode to the trail’s end. About twenty five miles. I felt stronger than I ever had on a bike. Then I turned around and spent the next twenty five miles pushing inexorably into that dreaded head wind. At the time, I drove a car with a manual transmission. When I got in the car at the end of the ride, I couldn’t lift my leg to operate the clutch without great effort.
Unfortunately, I live far enough away from the bike trail that I can’t just hop on my bike and ride the trail. Hence, the rides on local roads, coughing in the fumes and hoping a distracted driver doesn’t knock me into the next century.
I put my bike in my car today with plans on riding on the bike trail tonight after work. A little over an hour and nineteen miles later I’m glad I did. The picture is taken from a bridge where the trail crosses the American River. Along the trail, I saw three turkeys, a crane, two coyotes, a few teenage punks, and a lot of people running and riding.
It’s one of those things somebody had the foresight to create decades ago. A gift that keeps on giving. The kind of thing I don’t believe we’re capable of anymore. Glad it’s there. There will be many more rides on that trail for me in the year ahead.
I’m ready to do it again. I’m ready to try that fifty mile round tripper again. OK. Not quite yet. But, it’s there. Soon.