KingMidget's Ramblings

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An Explanation


My last post was this picture:

20130425-185518.jpg

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.

 

19 responses to “An Explanation

    • kingmidget April 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      There have been times when I’ve poo-poo’d it. It can get boring if you bicycle it too often. I don’t think I will anymore. It’s a great thing to have.

      • oliviaobryon April 26, 2013 at 5:02 pm

        I guess I’ve never used it enough to get tired of it 🙂

      • kingmidget April 26, 2013 at 7:19 pm

        I had the good fortune of spending a couple of years riding in the foothills with my dad and brother — a variety of routes. The bike trail provides an option free from auto traffic but variety is a good thing. If all I did was ride on the bike trail, I’d get bored with it.

      • oliviaobryon April 26, 2013 at 8:23 pm

        Makes sense. I only use it a few times a year. I don’t like competing for space with everyone else, but still love that it runs through so much of Sac/Folsom.

  1. Sahm King April 25, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Wow. Dude… Wow. I feel a bit weak after reading this. Well, guess I ought to get that bike now. River Park trail doesn’t seem so daunting anymore. Inspiring, Mark! 🙂

  2. Bastet April 25, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    My dear, if you love biking, as we call it her LOL…you should pack up your bike and come to Trentino! You’d love it. 😉

  3. kristentarzwell April 26, 2013 at 7:41 am

    Something about Bicycling makes you appreciate the little things. 🙂 🙂 plus all these pictures you post are enjoyable! 🙂

    • kingmidget April 26, 2013 at 9:05 am

      It’s about bicycling (or running) being one of those “little things” I want to fill my life with. It also gets me into areas I don’t necessarily go when I’m driving. And, most importantly, I’m not speeding by at 60 miles an hour. Smart phone in hand it’s much easier to stop and appreciate the sights.

  4. Carrie Rubin April 26, 2013 at 9:52 am

    We have a long bike trail through a national park near us as well. It runs all the way from Cleveland to Akron and in the fall is really gorgeous. I don’t take advantage of it as much as I should, but my husband does. But he comes home very stinky…

  5. Kira April 27, 2013 at 11:04 am

    It’s a great picture. And I’m glad you gave us an explanation….I always like it when bloggers give the personal story that goes along with the picture. I’m impressed with your long bicycle rides. I’m pretty clutzy on a bike! lol

    • kingmidget April 27, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      When there’s a story to tell, I try to tell it. Plenty of times there isn’t anything other than a something that caught my eye. The bike clutz thing is interesting — I was talking to a woman at work who has recently started bicycling after not being on a bike for 30 years. She was talking about difficult it is and I’m trying hard not to scratch my head in wonderment. I guess it is a skill that not everybody has.

      • Kira April 27, 2013 at 1:04 pm

        Lol…think mine is a balance issue from my stroke. I can’t look down at the road when I’m driving because when I stop & look the road is still moving forward. I’m safe walking, kickboxing, and dancing so I stick to those 🙂

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