After 3 months of relatively no riding, we were blessed with a rather perfect day for a bike ride. I looked forward to this ride because of the Jordan Bridge…the highest physical landmark in the 757…to practice climbing. Hills are practically nonexistent. I practically learned on the spot during last years Seattle to Portland double century. A couple of hills on that ride humbled me to a walk out of fear I might fall from sheer exhaustion. But to do the STP in one day on my first major bike ride is definitely a proud accomplishment considering last year at this time I almost gave up cycling from falling down consistently by failing to unclip from my pedals. The Jordan Bridge is a nice structure to at least practice climbing. Better this than nothing.
There were about 100 riders. The group split up into the fast riders (A and B) would do 23 miles that would include both the Berkeley and Jordan Bridges. The C and D riders rode 15 and 10 miles respectively. I’ve always considered myself a C rider because I rode to build stamina in staying in the saddle for over 10 hours. As i took off quickly with the B group, I was very fortunate to hook up with Kelly H. and her hubby Rhys who were expert riders and even drew up the routes. All three of us rode at a nice pace.
The beginning was a bit chilly…mid-40s but it warmed up to the high 50s and a couple of hours. I got up the Berkeley Bridge quite easily but on the descent I literally fell off the curb at the bottom since i did not see the driveway. I hit the ground pretty hard. Luckily the only the thing happened was my chain came off. Wow…was i lucky. 🙂
As we approached the Jordan Bridge…it looked like a huge roller coaster as i looked toward the sky. I could see other cyclists slowly moving up to the peak. Rhys advised me to find an easy gear first that could get me up on a nice easy pace. His tip reminded me of Johnny’s tip in Seattle. I had to throw out all the thoughts of spinning up the hill at a certain high cadence. The tip is to take your time and find that easy gear and pedal to a nice smooth and rhythmic cadence. As i found my tempo, I just concentrated on my breathing. A few minutes later, I was on top on now started to feather my way down on a rather steep decline. Jordan Bridge…I own you now!!!
After a few miles of turns in downtown Portsmouth, we headed back over the bridges. Since i was more familiar, I confidently rode both bridges nicely. At the end, the beer and the fresh baked pretzel was a great way to celebrate this first ride and my first triumph over the bridges. Thank you Lord for keeping me safe.
Life is good!!!