Sunday, May 1, 2016

Cycling as therapy for troubled times

I've got a huge amount of stress in my life right now, big changes have been forced on me, and everything is happening so fast that I feel extremely overwhelmed by it. It's important that I relax, but for me it's not enough to just sit still and breath in and breath out, I need to be on the move, and the best form of therapy I know of to still my over stressed mind is to ride my bike and to go hiking. In other words, to bike and hike.

That's what I did yesterday. It was about a 16 mile round trip ride, plus a couple miles of hiking, which isn't that far, but I road up into the foothills near Canyon Ranch, with a huge amount of elevation gain so steep that I had to get off my bike and walk it a few times. It felt like I was in the tour de France, and I was woefully unprepared.

I took an unfamiliar route, what I believed to be a short-cut, crossing over a wash, but it turned into more of a long-cut, I walked through mud, and must have entered at the wrong spot, because when I got to the other side, there was no easy access to the road, I had to lift my bike above my head and climb up a rocky embankment, only to get stuck in a bunch of tiny spindly burrs at the top of it, all covered over my cycling gloves, shoes and socks, which felt like sharp needles poking my skin. It took about half an hour removing all of them.

At this point I was already exhausted, and had no idea that I still had to climb a long winding road with virtually no shoulder, with a steep wall of rocks on one side, and a highway guardrail and drop off cliff on the other. The view was great though. No regrets!

Interesting artistic landmark. This was a nice little rest stop halfway up the hill. Because there was little shoulder, and traffic passing me by, most of my breaks were in front of peoples driveways, such as this, that wind up and down the side of the hill.

This was the view a few miles down the road when I locked up my bike and went on a short hike. It had become almost completely cloudy at this point, very windy, with light rain on and off, and was getting too late to walk any further, so this is the last picture before I went home.

It took almost an hour to get back, taking the main roads, it's a little bit longer distance wise than my short-cut, but without any steep hills, or having to carry my bike through mud and burs, it was actually much quicker. It's still hilly, it's the foothills after all, but not so bad that I had to get off my bike and walk. All and all it was a pretty good day. I'm planning to do it again sometime soon, but hopefully getting an earlier start and make a whole day of it, maybe fit in a 10 mile hike on top of my 15+ mile bike ride.