When we lived in NM, one of Papa Bears favorite hobbies was cross country skiing. Personally, I liked downhill much better, but in order to be with Papa Bear, I bought skis, boots, poles, spandex, etc. All that stuff is in storage now. The trouble with cross country is that you start at the bottom of the hill and have to climb up. I'd much rather ride a chair lift to the top of the mountain and ski down. Whenever we would start our cross country treks, I always had that feeling of "why am I doing this? I really hate it." But as we got into the back country, void of cars and people, I liked it much better. When you hit the long glides and slide easily along, I perked up. When an elk stepped out in the trail with sunlight glinting off his antlers, it was easy to understand the pull of cross country skiing.
Bicycling is much the same (without the elk, of course. I certainly do not want a cow to step out in front my bike). I rode my little loop again this morning - leaving the house at 6:40 AM to beat the heat. When I turned east on Gala's road, my leg muscles were screaming, "Hey, weren't we just sitting in the recliner propped up? What the heck!" Gala's road has a few little downhills, but mostly it is a steady climb to Old Hwy 7. When I pass by Gala's house, I tense up a bit wondering if Penny the Rottweiler (usually a sweetheart) will be out. And if she is, do I speak sweetly to her and hope that she doesn't throw her 150 lbs. of dog at me, or do I speak gruffly to her and have her rip my leg off. Let's hope that Gala is out too.
The going is much smoother on Old Hwy 7, because it is paved better, and it rather flat. I like to gear down and make myself work on this part of the ride. I don't know if I really work any harder, but I think that I do and that is what counts. After all, I am in training. With the sun coming up, everything is sort of golden on this part of the ride. The cows all stop eating to stare. The calves brace themselves to dart off in case of danger. Maybe they will get used to me someday. I kind of like bicycling at this point.
The climb to Grandpa McLemore's house is tough on me, but I use the short downhill once I pass his house to re-coop. I can stand up on the bike and poke myself in the bottom with the bike seat (saddle). The butt is sort of numb by this point of the ride and needs to be woke up. I have about two miles to go. This is the part where I push myself. For some reason, I have more energy at the end of my ride than I had at the beginning. Someone needs to explain that to me. Of course, by the time I pedal up my driveway, I'm spent. I usually stand there a minute, drink a bit of water, and let Zoe the Great Dane talk to me. She is always a bit embarrassed that she was barking at me before she realized what and who I was. Her tail wags and she does the low voiced growl/talk that some dogs do. You would think that she would get use to me riding up, too.
Another ride under my belt and my bottom is a bit sore, but getting tougher. Like cross country skiing, I always like the last part best - when you get to head home. In CC skiing, it is all downhill. In bicycling, that is not always true.