Today was a short mile day, but short miles does not always mean easy. Today it was not the climbs or the descents that made the ride challenging, it was the roads and the traffic. I think all of us were afraid for a good part of the ride. There were a lot of big trucks on the road and they were driving fast. We had narrow shoulders and in some cases, they were so narrow that we really couldn’t ride in them: we had to be out on the road. There was also a head wind at times and a cross wind at others so while the traffic was zooming along, we were struggling to keep ourselves in a safe place. The wind blew us around and the trucks sucked us closer in to them. Of course, there were plenty of courteous drivers that gave us lots of room, but there were many others too.
For me, it made it hard to enjoy what continues to be beautiful scenery. I was focused on not getting hit by a semi much of the time and worried about it at others. I didn’t even really stop to take pictures because I wasn’t looking around as much to see what was around me and when I did there wasn’t a safe place to stop to take a picture. So today will live in my memory and the record of my heart rate zooming up, down and all around with the traffic.
The spaces are much more wide open in the parts of Idaho we have ridden through than was the case in Oregon. Even when those spaces were open they seemed smaller compared with here. The one exception was when we rode through Payette National Forest. There the evergreen trees were once again looming large. It was a beautiful park with streams, waterfalls and much natural beauty. I stopped at the sign in the picture attached to have my sandwich before heading up what was the beginning of a long gentle climb. Nothing compared to the past couple of days in terms of grade, going from 2-3% up to 8% for short periods. I am going to work on remembering the beauty we rode through despite the fear I experienced while riding it!
Yesterday I wrote about some of the people who “encouraged” me as I rode. Today my mantra to myself was: “Relax your grip, hold your line and breathe.” I have no idea how many times I told myself to do that, but it was a lot! The relaxing part was hard but made all the difference. When I was grasping at the handlebars for safety, I was really less safe than when I was trusting and open and just guiding rather than trying to force. Imagine that? There is a way to move through life without pushing and forcing, just easing and relaxing and breathing! That is part of what this “sabbatical” is about, so today is part of why I am here.
To “relive” today’s ride, copy this link: https://www.relive.cc/view/1848498929