Saturday, January 1, 2011
Riding out of 2010 and into a Hopefully Happier 2011
2010 has held some horrendous challenges and I must say, I am glad to see it in my rear view mirror! The optimist in me says 2011 WILL be better, so I'm going to go with that! I ended 2010 though with an awesome bike ride of the Alcoa-Maryville greenways with Lynn and her husband Stewart. I'm so thankful they allowed me to come along and hope to do more riding with them in the future. Stewart spoke of the Silver Comet Bike Trail and it sounds wonderful. I will definitely have to check it out. We did 16.17 miles on a beautiful New Year's Eve day with a high of near 60 degrees and sometimes cloudy/sometimes sunny skies. At one point on this greenway, you reach the top of a hill to a gorgeous view of the Smoky mountains and Look Rock. It was breathtaking!
I wish I could describe here the way I feel when I ride my bike. I absolutely love the endorphins rush I get, but I also enjoy interacting with the people you meet along the way. It's funny how differently people respond to you when you ride. Some people refuse to make eye contact, which I always try to do when meeting people on the trails. Others smile, wave, or even speak! It was great to see lots of children out yesterday enjoying the beautiful weather after all the terribly cold and even snowy days this winter has already brought to us. Many of them were sporting new bikes. One cute little girl was on a highly decorated girls bike with training wheels attached. I'm quite sure it was a Christmas present. Mom was walking alongside her with her hand lightly on her shoulder for security. I told her as I passed her how pretty her bike was and what a great job she was doing! It made me smile inside. I think bicyclers get a bad name because they often look at pedestrians as a nuisance and are sometimes rude to them. I try to remedy that to the best of my ability. I have fun speaking to others and enjoy the smiles and "hellos" I get back from them. I hope it gives them just a little bit of warm, fuzzy feeling. It certainly does me!
So, on this first day of the New Year, what do I see on my Hiking/Biking to the Heights "bucket list"? In the Spring, I definitely want to ride the Virginia Creeper again, this time the entire length, not just the downhill section. I would love to do some of the Silver Comet that Lynn and Stewart have talked about. It might be neat to set a goal of riding all the greenways here in Knox County. I'm not sure how many miles that is, but I know there are quite a few I've never been on. If Bunk will get his knee fixed, maybe he will start riding with me. I'd really like that. As for hiking goals, after having spoken on the phone with Phillip this week, I want to take him and Maddie (maybe I could get Kacey and/or Nathan to go too) to the Chimney Top. Phillip would LOVE that hike! Phillip also expressed interest in doing the section hike of the AT with us. He might even bring a couple of his buddies. That would be great. I'd feel much safer in a group than just Bunk and I alone since this will be our first trip on the AT. I also want to climb Mount LeConte, even if we don't do the overnight. Maybe by early fall, I'll be in shape to go up and back on the same day. And hopefully, along the way to these lofty goals there will be lots of days spent in the woods or on the bike trails just having fun. Here's to 2011!