We rolled out of bed this morning to the sound of distant thunder. Within ten minutes it was extremely loud and by minute, oh, twelve, the winds picked up and the sky exploded. Buckets of rain and another pummeling with marble size hail. It was coming down so fast and furious that the hail piled up in the corners of the patio. It sounded like buffalo stampeding across the roof. Thank goodness for the invention of 50-Year Hail Resistant Roof Shingles.
Some of you may know that I’m into mountain biking. I picked it up when The Architect first started riding off-road. He was only 13 at the time, so an adult had to go with him. Mr. Pea and I have been road bikers since we were dating, so we figured, “Hey! How hard can it be to ride in the dirt?” It’s hard. Mr. Pea hated it, I loved it. I got voted as the official chaperone for off-road biking and I’ve been tagging along with The Architect and Cherry Ames ever since. (Mr. Pea sticks to the road with Princess Pea and DirtBike.) I don’t ride with The Architect anymore because I can’t keep up and I don’t care for jumping over things. I go ride the green and blue loops while he crashes through the rest of the woods with his team.
Up until just a few weeks ago, I’ve been riding on a borrowed mountain bike. Friends of ours were rebuilding their garage/guest house, and we kept their bicycles and other outdoor stuff in our storage for the 18 month duration. I used my friend’s mountain bike that entire time. It’s a fabulous Specialized model, light and strong. Their remodel was now complete, and after cleaning up her bike, replacing the saddle and grips and buying her a new set of tires, I had to give it back. Lady Penelope, my cruiser bike, just isn’t suitable for dirt single track or climbing. I was about to lose my ride, as a new bike of a similar caliber to the Specialized cost more than I was willing to pay on a bike for myself. Seriously. A new bike? Or a month’s worth of groceries? Yeah. you get the picture. So I started stalking Craig’s List. Every day there were dozens of bikes listed, but they were either too expensive, too broken or (mostly) too big. I’m short. VERY short. But not short enough for a kid size bike.
The Architect and a friend of mine were helping in the search. The Architect hit pay dirt. he emailed me at work. “MOM!!! You HAVE to see this! It’s the right size!! It’s in the price range!!” I clicked and pulled up the link, and just about screamed out loud. I was on the phone immediately, bargaining the price down then begging them to hold the bike because I was on my way. I took an early lunch and drove to the complete other side of the Metroplex to check it out. It’s an older model, hardly ridden and in pristine condition. I handed over the cash to snag this sweetness:
Yes. It’s PINK!!!! A grown-up’s mountain bike that’s just my size with awesome shocks and hydraulic disc brakes and it’s PINK!! And the Pea Family still gets to eat this month. Which is good, because this one:
Most of you have figured out by now that I live in north central Texas. It’s blazing hot most of the year, incredible thunderstorms and tornadoes roll down over us from the Great Plains, and, thanks to the Gulf Stream, the wind blows almost constantly. Constantly, I tell you. This can make outdoor cardio exercise like running or biking a special challenge, especially if you have asthma or allergies. On my bike runs, I usually go south along the Trinity River, so that the wind will be at my back on the trip back to the office.
In the 16-24 hours prior to a cold front sliding across us, the wind stops. I mean it totally stops as the pressure of the arriving front temporarily blocks the Gulf Stream. Yesterday was one of those glorious day. So what did I do? Hopped on the bike and took a 10 mile ride at lunch time. Only yesterday, I rode NORTH along the Trinity instead of south! A whole new view!
Thanks to no wind, the river was like glass, and the sky was brilliant. These ancient train trestles were so pretty in the sun. It was an amazing outing.
I rode the Marion Sansom Park mountain bike trail for the first time on Saturday. It’s infamous among the local mountain bikers, and they either love it or hate it. Here’s why:
This is the view over the Dam Drop. Most local mountain bike trails are smooth dirt with a few roots or logs to climb over. MSP? Large portions of the trail look like this:
Yes, that’s caliche rock. Gravel. Hard if you fall, which, I did NOT do! The Architect and Cherry Ames left me behind because I was going too slow. HA! They both emerged back at the trail head ten minutes ahead of me with scraped appendages. I got back all in one piece, a testament to my wimpinesssuperior common sense.
I’m not sure if I love it or hate Sansom Park. I’ll have to ride it a few more times before I decide.
We then high tailed it over to the Gateway trail for a quick spin around. After MSP it was a piece of cake! Grand total of twelve miles on Saturday.
Tough enough yet? Monday Mr. Pea decided we should take a ride on Mineral Wells Trailway. It was another beautiful day, and thank goodness the sun was shining, because the wind was just a bit sharp against the skin. We took all the Pea kids plus a few extras, and made the run to the halfway point and back. The older boys made it all the way to the halfway point; the rest of us turned around a few miles shy because we were getting cold. Grand total of fifteen miles. (That’s DirtBike ahead of me in the picture.)
But wait! There’s more! Kettle bell circuit training yesterday. After that class, I was very, very glad that I kept up with working out over the Christmas holiday. I was able to push through every rep, every squat and every swing. Even when the guys were dropping out, I kept going. Whoot! I am officially a Tonka Truck now.
It’s heating up here in Texas again, which makes my noon ride pretty sweaty. Ugh. I still got out there and did it – twelve miles out and back.
Today I saw this!
I’ve been riding the Trinity Trails for more than twenty years, and this is the FIRST time I’ve ever seen a train on the train track! It was just sitting there. I stopped and chatted with the Conductor for a few minutes. I seriously considered climbing up there just to see the train up close! (The trestle is only about 7 feet high; tall people have to duck their heads when riding under.)
I’ve written a post at the Christmas Dress Challenge site about that dreaded E-word, Exercise. It really is important for effective weight loss and overall health. Check it out!