Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Why is "it's all downhill from here" negative?

So as those who are also on my Facebook may know, I have a new bike.  Technology has come a long way since the purchase of my last bike.  With said new bike I can ride faster and for significantly longer and be less tired at the end.  I can keep up with Chris with no problems; with the old one, this was a challenge.   With said new bike, other cyclists smile and say hi when we pass each other.  With the old one, they'd look aside and pretend they hadn't seen ;)  On flat stretches I'm averaging about 10k/h faster than I used to, hills I admit I'm still super slow, but at least I can make it now ;)

I feel like I wrote a post about the bike search adventure, but can't seem to find it...  hmmmm okay, well if you wish I'd *actually* posted that story, keep reading for the summary.  If not, scroll down a few paragraphs to where today's adventure starts...

So, in summary of the great bike quest: DH (he so earned the title that day ;) and I spent all day driving to every bike shop within a 3-city range (news flash: there are a LOT of them) test driving bikes and talking to sales people, only for me to buy the very first one I tried ;)  Ah well, that's what happens when you're shopping for something you know nothing about.  I certainly don't try out that many horses before buying one!  LOL.  I discovered every bike shop seems to have a group of men that just hang out there.  So random.  At one shop said group of men was highly amused by the fact that I was test driving two completely different bikes.  But well, when you don't know exactly what you want, you may as well try everything *g*

In the end I bought a Diverge from the little bike shop in Waterdown (they have impossible hours, but amazing service if you can get there).  Of all the stores we went to, the sales guy there was by far the best (and in subsequent trips I can say the other staff there are equally impressive).  This was proven even more by the fact that they were first, so I had my greenest questions for them and *really* no idea what to ask or what I should be trying -- esp after they suggested my Google result probably wouldn't be the best fit ;)   I did try said Google result at another store later and, well, they were right.  They asked the right questions, made one suggestion they thought was the correct fit, and left it at that.  And in the end, it was exactly right.

So the Diverge is essentially a road bike that's just a little bit sturdier so can handle the trails.   I liked the feel of it a lot more than the cross bikes, and while I did quite enjoy one of the road bikes, I *really* enjoy trails.  Having been riding it for a few weeks now, I can say it's definitely best on the road, no problem on the rail trail or tightly packed trails, does *not* do sand or big gravel.  It made that very clear to me ;)
And now, for our regularly scheduled program
Today had gorgeous weather and Chris was planning to work on his man cave all day (that unfortunately got rescheduled) so I had decided I'd go for a longer ride today.  I had a flyer of Hamilton bike rides -- about half of which start/finish at the Aldershot GO station so decided I'd pick one of those.  Decided on an "easy" Dundas Valley run, that was 21 km and would need just a little extra to get to our place as it didn't start in Aldershot.  Okay, "easy" seems like an excellent idea, 21km sb no problem.

Right.  So issue one occurred when I realized fairly quickly that the maps lacked some pretty critical information -- like street names.  Some were there but not all.  Okay, np, I have Google.  All good, right?  Yeah no.  That didn't work either. Okay well, I really just want to ride and I know kinda where I want to go, so what does it matter if I can't find the outlined route?
A fairly scenic start to my ride
And I mostly made it to Dudas about how I expected, so that was good.  But then I didn't want to just turn around and come back (future me really wishes I'd been smart enough to do that.  Trip TO Dundas was uphill, reverse trip would've been downhill.  And short.)  Anyways, suffice to say I did *not* in-fact, do that.  I rode around Dundas for a bit, looking at some of the gorgeous old houses, then decided to follow "old Ancaster road" which, I discovered all too soon, meanders its way uphill.  Ugh.  Fail.
About 1/2 way up the hill, this little side route looked so pretty I had to stop and take a pic.
Yes, the photo is why I had to stop ;)

This was where I learned that short breaks can be remarkably revitalizing.  Went from "can barely pedal" to "this is no problem" in about 2 mins.  Sweet.  When I got to the top I realized I was close to where Kerri and I went riding on the rail trail way back when.  Sweet :)  So I rode around for a little bit and eventually found a trail entrance.  Pointed myself back in the general direction of Dundas and away I went.  Bike handles well on the rail trail, so all good.  Passed a bunch of riders (ummm horseback that is) which made me all kinds of miss my ponies and summer hacks but otherwise all good.

In here I was starting to get tired, so when I got to the train area (trail centre) I stopped to look at a map.  I knew by this point I was in Dundas Valley, so must be reasonably close to Dundas.   Except I was all kinds of turned around and it looked like the trail that should take me out was closed.   So I kept going the way I'd been going and the next road turned the direction that'd take me back sort of home.  All good, except the road was under construction and was *horrible* to ride on; the only time downhill in this whole ride was a negative.   Credit to my awesome bike for surviving that.   Sadly my brand new back light that I literally just installed before heading out, did not.   And while it landed in one piece when it bounced off, it did not stay in once piece when the car behind me ran over it :(    *sigh*

Eventually made it off the road from hell and back to a main street, one I recognized would take me home.  Somehow uphill again?   That just seemed horribly unfair after the previous downhill had been so brutal.  But sobeit.   Rode past the entrance to Dundas Valley  -- definitely would've saved time and effort if I'd gotten there from the trains.  Blah.  Anyways, continued my slow pedal till I eneded up roughly back in Dundas and from there got myself sorted out to get home.
This caught my eye as I was trying to find my way home.
Definitely wasn't on my route in!
I was very tired at this point, and about half way up yet another hill had to stop.  Looking over I realized I was stopped next to a dog park.  Sweet -- one of today's things was to take the dog to the park....   Hmmmm C has a truck, and the dogs...   Maybe all of them could come here and then we could all go home together.  Maybe.  Alas, C had just put something in the oven.  He'd come rescue me, but couldn't come till it was done cooking.

Well I've never been very good at waiting to be rescued, so I climbed back on and continued the pedaling, very happy when I crested the hill to see there was enough of a downhill to get me up the next uphill!  Lol -- little things in life.   And after I made it up that one, I knew where I was and, more importantly, knew the rest was all downhill.

I think we need to reconsider the negative connotations associated with "it's all downhill from here" because at that moment, that knowledge made me just about the happiest person ever.  So I made it home.  My 21km bike ride took 42km -- and this, ladies and gentleman, is what happens when you decide it doesn't really matter where you're going :)


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