We stepped out for a weekend ride thinking a local trail would make for pleasant riding but were meet with some serious elevation along the trail. Unexpectedly, the route planned had us heading straight for the hills. Down the road we twist and turn our way towards the first climb of the day. It seemed short but after only a few kilometers, we started to grind our teeth. Charging up, we put a halt to our conversation of honeymoon travel while panting and focusing on each breath and pedal.
The hill continues on but we are feeling good for the first charge, adrenaline going, blood flowing, we are surrounded by so much beauty it's hard to focus on breathing. There are smiles, deep breaths, and words of encouragement as the road starts to flatten out. Once we reach the top, we make a quick stop to admire the views of lakes and hills giving us a chance to regroup and take in the beauty of a warm day in the middle of winter.
We start to discuss our dream riding spots, Ireland, the French Riviera, and Japan. In the moments of quiet we admire the spectacular surroundings. Rivers flowing under frozen lakes, this is the reward of our climb that we drive through without notice. We hop back on our saddles to descend, twisting roads, sharp curves, we lean and float down, I let out a "weee!" as my fiance laughs at me.
A chilly wind hits against us as we roll through, we push to keep our pace while slowly watching cars pass and dodging potholes. The roads in New York are pretty cracked after winter plowing but it adds on an extra challenge to keep our focus and momentum while climbing through more hills. On every twist and turn we find ourselves with another challenge, sucking up the courage to go up, we continue on. At these points, I'm glad my fiance is willing to endure these painful moments with me and push me to go harder.
What was to be 15 miles of pure bliss turned out to be 15 miles of pain straight through, we still had another 15 to return home. I haven't rode this hard in years and wasn't sure for most of it that I could do it. With thoughts of doubt came a hunger to prove myself wrong. I wanted to go this far and here I was, struggling but happy I'm doing it. Once we reach the local village, hunger starts to take over and we treat ourselves big. An order of burgers, beer, and cider was devoured over conversations of ascending struggles, pain, and celebrations of going the distance. We will definitely be doing this again.