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The Hill from Hell

A weekend afternoon. Cool weather. Quiet neighborhood streets. Clear skies. These are a few of my faaaavorite things 🎶

On our annual visits to the physician, we proudly list our physical achievements - walking, occasional visits to the gym, walking, some weight lifting, walking, a bit of jogging, get the drift. He looks at us unimpressed and asks: um, cardiac exercise?! To appease him, I've been riding my bike whenever I can. This weekend offered perfect weather so I couldn't pass up a ride.

When I visit the doc next, I will wag my tail and wait for a treat.

Almost ten years ago, Tarun and I bought our bikes at a store nearby. That was before we bought everything on Amazon. I can't imagine how we committed to a brand and a model without the benefit of online customer reviews. Unlike my old bike in India, the chain on my current one doesn't fall off every 100 meters. That alone garners it a five star review. Secretly though, I miss holding the chain on the gear, lifting and spinning the back wheel, and waiting for the chain to catch the gear.

I recently treated myself to an awesome bike pump and a cool orange and maroon helmet, i.e., the Virginia Tech colors.

Note to kids: Virginia Tech 1, University of Virginia 0.

A tenth of a mile from our home, lies the hill from hell. When the mountains formed, this beast rose in our neighborhood to torment us for the rest of eternity. It takes every bit of stamina to get up this hill, after dropping both gears to 1. Then the knees cry "Uncle!" from pedaling furiously. Over the years, I've mastered riding up at a slightly lower gear than normal. When I get to the top and my heart is pounding in my head, I swear at my doc.

My pet peeve with bikers in our area is how brazenly they ride. Red light? Nah! What stop sign? Just ride in between the lanes to get places. Encountering a biker on a narrow and winding two-lane road near our home is a heart-stopping experience. A few years ago, I was driving in Manhattan, ready to take a left at a green light, and out of the thin air a messenger dude on a bike screeched to a halt, an inch from the driver side window. Then he flipped the bird at ME before going around my car as if HE had the right of way.

Note to self: tell doc that I get all the cardiac workout I need while driving.

To make up for these non-compliant bikers, I am overly cautious when I ride in our neighborhood. I diligently and fully stop at stop signs even when there is no car, I stick my hand out to indicate I am turning, and I stay as far to the edge as possible. I don't speed except...

...when I come down the hill from hell.

Then I let loose like a diva. I gain speed like a rocket on thrusts. I feel the wind under my wings as if I am going to take flight. I take deep breaths. I soak in the sun. I feel my heart race. And I wish for fall to never end.

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