10-20 miles or so at a time on the bike – 3-14 miles or so at a time on foot
I sat around. I hung out with my parents. It was slow and sedentary for that first month in America. It was okay, I had used a whole lot of energy in May and June wrapping up work and that section of life. A bit of rest and relaxation was in order.
But then… that level of couch potato was just too much. I have energy again. I want to use it. And I want to build a little bit of fitness, so that jumping on the bike when I get back to Oz is not quite so painful in those first weeks. Plus, people come to places like this for ‘high altitude’ training. Let’s take advantage of that.
So while my parents are doing their slow start to each day, I get up at 5.30 and go for a 7 or 8 mile hike in the hills behind their neighbourhood. I can put in a 1.5 or 2 hour hike and be home before they’ve finished their coffee. They live just a 15 minute walk from a trailhead that gets me into the S-Mountain trail system.
Some mornings I hike into town and back to pick up bananas or other fresh food. Some days, when my parents go out to eat at places without gluten free options, I hook up a bunch of the trails and do 10-13 miles while they are out eating. I push myself hard and do the trails at a fast hiking pace. On some bits I pick it up and jog a bit. Without my asthma or hay fever bothering me and a good level of energy again, I feel a bit like a super hero in ability!
On other days, I take one of my dad’s bikes out for a spin. I don’t go too far as it is a low-end ‘comfort bike’ and not really suited to serious road riding. I usually do about 15 miles but have done 25 miles a couple times. I still take it out onto the highways but cannot take myself too seriously on a bike like that. With the upright riding position and short top tube, I feel a bit like Kermit the Frog cruising along. Whatever, if it rolls, I’ll ride it. But maybe not too far since I’m not confident in the mechanics or quality of the tyres!
My dad fixed up the three bikes my parents own so that we could go for a ride together. They hadn’t ridden bikes in 6 years, so I was a bit concerned how it all might go. Old people scare me in traffic sometimes – reaction times and traffic awareness seems to diminish over time!
We loaded up the pick-up, parked in town and then rode three miles out to Elevation Brewery. There is a bike lane or bike path the whole way.
My mom had a bit of trouble getting off the bike at the brewery and had an ungraceful dismount, but nothing a beer couldn’t fix.
After the beer refreshment (not for me) break, my poor Mom couldn’t quite get her leg over the bike when remounting. She took a big fall, gashed open her finger and wrenched her back. I applied first aid while my dad rode back to get the truck. Our family bike rides were finished.
We have done some other hikes around town together and will hopefully get in some more family hikes after my mom’s back improves. She is slowly getting better and spending less time on the heating pad each day.
So amongst all the family time, you’ll find me out on the trails each morning getting my lungs, heart and leg muscles back in shape. I am feeling so good and have so much energy – all the work on the gut and the strict diet is paying off. Now we just need to build back the physical stamina.
Whether on the bike or on foot, I love moving through the landscape at first light in that cool, pine-scented air. When it is quiet, and the only sound is the crunch of gravel beneath your feet, anything seems possible, even the promise of a nearly-full recovery and all the fun and adventure that goes with having full stores of energy.