Saturday, March 14, 2009
Because it's there
Bunny and I got up early today, way early, to head on down to Shark Valley for a 15 mile bike ride.
Because we're stupid, that's why.
Quite possibly both.
Anyway, this whole thing started a few months ago when Kurt first proposed the idea in January. Much to everyone's surprise, I decided to go along. At the time, Bunny suggested that I might want to try riding a bike a bit first, seeing how it's been almost twenty years since I last did any serious bike riding.
It didn't go well. Maybe
five four miles worth of riding around the neighborhood, and I
was practically dead. And surprised at just how hilly the streets are
around these parts of Chez Boca.
But the trip was put off. And bumped. And postponed. And delayed.
We arrived at Shark Valley at the ungodly hour of 8:30.
Kurt did warn us that the bicycle seats would become unconfortable towards the end of the ride, so Bunny made some seat cusions for our bikes. Unfortunately, they were too thick to be effective so we ended up not using them at all.
Now, the loop runs north/south, with the western edge (outbound, away from the visitor's center) a straight seven miles long, and the eastern edge (inbound, back to the visitor's center) a curvy eight miles. And on Google Maps, it doesn't appear all that daunting.
But the map is not the territory.
The first half the ride wasn't bad. The road was flatter than paper and the wind was slowly blowing mostly across the path. Optimum biking conditions.
A few hours later, we arrived at the half-way point, an observation tower at the southern end of the loop. A nice sturdy structure with easy access to the main level.
We spent perhaps half an hour resting, munching on some snacks (walnuts, raisins, pretzels, mini-chocolate bars) and gulping down water. The view from the observation deck was impressive, but the stairs leading up to the very top were closed off for some reason—perhaps for safety.
The other half of the trip, the trip north back to the visitor's center was horrible. The bicycle seat suddenly got rock hard and I found it very difficult to sit down for any length of time. Shame, since the wind was now coming from slightly behind us, making it all the much easier to ride. In fact, the only thing that really hurt at this point was my butt. My legs? Fine. Back? Fine. Butt? Screaming at me to get the XXXX off the seat.
I was never so glad to see the parking lot after eight long miles.