Friday, June 17, 2016

The bike to the bay is almost here!! The million dollar question is... am I ready??

          Over the past couple of months I've been training for the Bike To The Bay; testing my ability on everything from steep hills, heat, wind, traffic and sudden stops.  I'm hopeful that I'll have it all down pat for the bike to the bay, but I still feel the need to test my skills in every situation.

     Last week I went with two of my riding buddies, and fellow leapfrogs, Robert and Gary, to Bay shore, in Oregon.  We started at International Park, which is across the river, outside of downtown Toledo.

We met around 6:45 am to try to beat the heat, and about a million geese were there to greet us.

     Robert, who has been riding with me for what seems like forever, knows the routine, and he always takes a picture of me as I appear to be some sort of Olympic athlete who just jumped on my bike and was ready to hit the trail.

     This time, however, he jumped the gun and decided to take a candid picture as I was not so gracefully getting on my bike.  At first I thought that was a picture I would surely be deleting.  I want people to see me as I pose effortlessly on my bike; not looking like some clumsy  person struggling to get on.
     But then I decided that I needed to be honest, and admit that there are a lot of things about my life that aren't very graceful; but I do what ever it takes to live my best.
     The average person bends their knee effortlessly, and swings their leg over their up right bike, and they take off.  My crazy right leg doesn't like to co operate, and I have to tilt my bike down and pull my straight leg over it.  Not graceful, but it works.
     As we began to ride, I noticed that the wind from west to East was brutal.  I mentioned that at least it will be at our back on the way back.  Robert said not to count on it, because that East/West wind has a mind of it's own, and it shows no mercy to us poor riders.  I had my fingers crossed...

This ride was a little different than most of the others I've been on this spring. In most cases we just follow trail, which is usually adjacent to some railroad track.  In this case we spent more time riding over tracks, then next to them. Not to mention, East Toledo is an area I'm not very familiar with, and I had to trust Robert knew where he was going.  

     Much of the ride was through the industrial area of town.  We passed by power plants and oil refineries, and the biggest challenge was dodging all of the pot holes and of course riding over all of those uneven railroad tracks.  The tracks, for some reason were always crossing the roads on an angle, making it a real challenge. 

     We had to be certain not to let our tires fall between the tracks.  I randomly mentioned to Robert that I'm guessing it wouldn't be fun to get your tires caught between them.  He said he has seen it done before, and it wasn't pretty.  I asked out of curiosity, if my bike got stuck in the tracks if they would come back for me or if it was every man for himself.  Robert said I'm on my own because I would be a mangled up mess at that point and it would take too much time to clean it up, and we're on a schedule.  I guess I needed to be sure that didn't happen...
        This service type road below and to the right of us looked very steep.  I asked Robert where it went, making sure to mention I was in no way going up it...  (did I ever mention how much I hate steep hills?!)  It led to some refinery.  Good to know.  I'll stay on the flat road...

     Eventually we made it to Bay Shore Park, but it was no picnic getting there.  However, it was worth it to see the beautiful view of Lake Erie.

     After our 20 mile ride we made our way back to International park, and there to greet us was that huge gaggle of geese.
   It isn't always easy to get others who are willing to do a 7 am bike ride, but I'm happier than a pig in mud riding at this time.  And I'm one ride closer to being ready for the bike to the bay.  

    I could always sit back and watch life life pass me by, but I think these geese have the right idea.  And you know what they say... What's good for the goose is good for the gander:)

Have a great day!!


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