Sunday, March 09, 2008

Girl Redefined

So I'm not quite sure what happened. Somewhere along the way I had to rewrite my story. Somewhere along the way I had to get to know a whole new woman, only that woman was me. Was I really that out of touch with what I was capable of?

This is a cycling post, of course. If I spent yesterday feeling hungover and blobby and talking myself out of any real exercise then feeling bad about it (all so predictable, all so unnecessary) then today was my lesser self paying my better self back bigtime.

We rode the Makara loop today. Of my readers probably only Kate (oh, and the former West-side duo) will really know what I'm talking about here. First the climb up Aro Valley, starting near the back of the pack and finishing somewhere near the front (say what?), then the smaller climb from there up and over into Karori, then flying downhill catching lights to the bottom. Someone had said the climb up Makara Hill was hard, so I was really surprised to get to the top. Was that it? Duck and I had stopped at the bottom to check a strange sound on my bike, but I had pretty much caught up by the time I got there.

At the top we turned around and rode back down to the bottom, then back up again. This time it seemed even shorter. Then it was down, down, down the other side, the whole way hoping we weren't going to have to ride back the same way. Please, no! Thankfully we rode through Ohariu Valley to Johnsonville, then over to Ngaio and back down the gorge. We were supposed to be riding two abreast but we gave that up when we ended up in the middle of a car rally. A chain of old fire engines and American cars, flags and passengers hanging off all over the place, filed passed us, horns blaring in a friendly chorus.

A kilometre or so short of Johnsonville and in the middle of the climb I'd somehow lost the front pack and anyone behind me. Never mind, it would have been nice to have been able to draft against those nasty Northerlies, but the scenery was stunning and I was pretty sure I knew where I was going. That was about the time I realised the road was feeling just a little too rough under my rear tyre. Great, my first flat!

By the time the others caught up I already had the tyre off. Other than Duck accidentally overinflating the tyre with her CO2 and causing it to bulge alarmingly (easily fixed with a bit of deflation) changing it was no big drama. So thanks Nic and Leonie - that was your tube I used today.

Off up the hill again and Duck commented on how strong I was on the hills. I was feeling pretty good by that point, both physically and mentally. It had finally clicked in my head that I was a heck of a lot more bike fit than I'd given myself credit for. I was loving that incline.

After that we rode through the suburbs - rolling hills through Johnsonville and Ngaio. I had absolutely no idea where I was going, so just did my best to keep up. Down Ngaio Gorge, a quick sprint back through town, and we stopped off at Mojo for coffee. I was feeling a little bewildered. Where were all those big hills I'd been told about? I wanted to do it all again.

So I got introduced to Pip the Cyclist today. It's just as well I like her, because we're going to be spending a lot of time together over the next few months.


Kate said...

Pleased to meet you, cyclist Pip.

Couch potato Kate :-)

(seriously- awesome work.. just wait til you do Makara starting at J'Ville...)

Pip said...

Um, yeah .... I know I'll have to do that one day, but I was a little overwhelmed at how big the hill was that I'd have to climb up to Karori going that direction. One day I'm going to do it, and I'm going to be sooooo proud of myself!

Kate said...

You could do it easily- the way you rocked those hills today! I'm very VERY impressed.

Sass said...

That ride sounds awesome - good work Mad Dog! Maybe one day when Gloria and I grow up, we can do part of it:)