Is anyone sick of my biking stories lately? Thanks to all the free time I have had the past two months, biking has become a daily activity for me. I am in for a rude awakening when I leave Germany and no longer have access to the biking paths here. I am trying my damnedest not to think about the future lack of trails, and enjoy the current moments.
Last month I went for two notable bike rides, both of which pushed my limits a bit. I tend to get stuck in habitual patterns of what is comfortable, but I wanted to challenge myself so I chose two routes I had done last fall (when I was in better shape) to ride again. One of the routes I never actually biked the entire way, I instead found a hiking trail and walked my bike up the giant hill (twice.)
I was too intimidated by the giant hill.
We’ll start with the story of the easier ride. I typically bike the same path everyday to my favorite area, but I knew I wanted to go somewhere different. I wanted a slight challenge of a hill to bring out my inner “Little Engine that Could.” I decided to bike to Geroldsee, a beautiful lake with amazing mountain views.
Looking at those photos I wonder how this place is even real. I parked my bike at the hut in the last photo, and climbed partway up a hill to get a better view of the mountains behind the lake. The hill to Geroldsee is a decent elevation grade, but it’s never as bad as I anticipate it will be. I don’t rush, I take it low and slow, and this keeps me at a comfortable heart rate.
Something has clicked in my mindset the past couple months, and I have more confidence in who I am and what my abilities are. I no longer feel anxious going at my own pace.
I sat at the lake for quite some time, a little more than 30 minutes, and I let myself get lost in the views. A few people passed me as I sat on a nearby bench, and we exchanged greetings as they continued on the path. I prefer biking alone, but when I see other people out and about it gives me the comfort of being with others.
A woman on a horse also rode by – a surprising, but not unexpected view.
My ride home took me soaring down the hill I climbed, but not before passing by some furry friends. I felt strong, as I often do after I complete something I thought would be hard. I am learning to let go of the perfectionism, which I really tested on my next bike ride – the one with the big hill.
My second notable ride was to a monastery I’ve visited twice. As I mentioned before, each time I had biked here in the past I avoided the long, winding, mountain road and found a back route meant more for hiking instead. The hiking trail is shorter, as it’s more of a direct route, but that also means it’s significantly steeper.
It’s near impossible to bike up the hiking route (for me) so I would always walk my bike up this section. It takes me around 50 minutes depending on my energy, but something in me this day told me to try and bike up the mountain road. I put my perfectionism away (my mind would say something like: “this is a big hill and if you can’t complete all of it you’ll have wasted your effort”), and I told myself if I only make it partway, it is still an accomplishment.
Not only did I make it the entire way, but the time it took to bike up was comparable with the time it took when I walked my bike up the hiking path (and seemed easier.) The road is long, and there were moments I thought I was close when I wasn’t, but it was far easier than I expected. The cars zooming past me were scarier than the hill itself.
Another low and slow climb. Three men passed me, and one woman, but I didn’t care.
I didn’t feel less than because they were faster than me, I felt strong because I was one of them – a biker biking up a big ass hill and not stopping. The pace doesn’t matter, the effort is what matters. The ride up raised my body temperature, and the cool interior of the monastery was a welcomed reprieve. I sat alone in stillness admiring the ornate interior, thanking God for allowing my body to do what it did.
I know I say it often, but it’s my life and something that is always buzzing in the background, but when I get into a balanced groove with my health I appreciate things more than I ever did before. Without the darkness, we can never truly appreciate the light. I truly believe this break from a stressful job has worked wonders for me.
I spent some time foraging for dandelion greens in the surrounding mountains, and couldn’t slap the smile off my face.
The ride down was likely scarier than the ride up because I don’t like going down hills fast. My max speed was 43MPH, and speeding makes me feel as if I’ve lost control. I don’t ride my breaks, but I certainly pump them often. Going down is similar to going up, I go at my own pace.
It might sound silly, but these physical accomplishments have been monumental for me. I attribute my body feeling well to being in a balance due to having limited stress in my life at the moment. I have my days, but sleeping, eating well, and moving my body intuitively is giving me confidence in other areas of my life, not just with my physical activities. I just need to keep the momentum going when inevitable stress comes back into my life.
These two bike rides inspired me to complete my longest ride to date, which I continued to put off because I doubted myself. More on that in my next post! 🙂
Q: Do you overanalyze like I do, or do you have an easy time going with the flow?
38 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Trails”
I guess when we like something so much, we don’t analyze anything, we just go with the flow.
Your photographs are beautiful. Biking is a great way to explore and capture Nature’s beauty in its full glory!
Thank you, biking has become my absolute favorite way to explore a new town!
Envious yes, sick no!
Strong work friend. I’m so happy you are comfortable with ‘YOU’. It can be a hard lesson to learn and though I feel pretty good with it I know I still struggle at times.
Your pictures are beautiful as always. Thank you for sharing and stay safe! 43mph is damn fast.
I hope to never go that fast on a bike again. LOL
According to Strava I hit 29mph on my bike the other day. I believe it.
Fantastic journeys. You must feel so lucky to experience them. But anyone could experience their own dreams with a bit of effort and application, which I admire you for.
I DO feel lucky, and you’re absolutely right. Anyone can, it just a matter of taking that first leap.
Such amazing pictures. I often regret not taking pictures, like yesterday in Virginia hunt country. It was cloudy but the green and the stone walls and brown wood fences and magnificent estate houses and vultures…. I just don’t want to stop when I’m cruising along so thank you for taking the time to stop and shoot.
43 mph is scary. What often happens to me is my eyes tear up. Speeding down a hill while blind is downright terrifying.
I had my “Get off and push” comeuppance last summer in Colorado. Looking back on it, I was foolish to allow my ego (and delusions of youth) to spoil those climbs. When I approached Carson Pass in the Sierras, I was wobbling all over the road. My ego shut up and I got off and walked. Better to walk than to get run over by an RV.
Most of these photos were taken when I made it to my end destination of the day, which made it easier to stop and shoot. But I do stop often when I see something I want to photograph, you wouldn’t enjoy biking with me HA!
My eyes were watering like a summer hose. It was bad.
I definitely don’t mind getting off and pushing if I need to, I just don’t like discrediting myself before I even try!
Rule of thirds, symmetry, angle of shots all well beyond the mark! Very impressed on your photography. Brilliant post!
Thank you!! That is so kind.
I over analyze everything I do. I hype myself up too much with all the prior planning only to be let most of the time. I need to stop doing that and go with the flow. My mind is too curious and always wandering.
I used to do this too, especially when traveling. And then it started negatively impacting my trips at times when I would try to do too much. So I did go with the flow more when traveling and it was a huge difference!
Damn! those pictures. What? I prefer biking alone too. Probably cause I like to choose the pace (both when it’s slow and fast) and maybe because if there’s going to be any suffering, I prefer to do that alone too. To answer your question, I overanalyze. I’m learning to embrace that.
THIS is exactly why I go alone. I like my own pace, and I like to suffer alone. I completely understand. LOL.
Is that a fuzzy black cow… or a really big black sheep?
It’s next to a bull so it is playing mind games on me.
It’s a fuzzy cow!! 😂
Thanks for the mini-vacation. What a view! Am currently sitting, masked, at my car’s dealership waiting for its maintenance service. They moved the cars usually parked inside to outside, and have filled the space with chairs spaced 6 feet apart. Jim Croce’s “I’ve got a Name” plays low over the PA system. I have a book and my phone, so I’m good for the 1 1/2 hour wait.
Life looks different here–all has slowed down. Lots of time to observe my many, many thoughts.
Keep on biking! It’s all good!
Life has definitely slowed here too, but I really don’t mind the slow pace. I will be due for a service when I return to my car. 🤪
As I’ve aged….slower is better, steady is good
Learning to embrace my own thoughts and own them😊 Do I do this or like this because it’s what I want or what I “think” others want 😁…..Being true to ones self , listening to Your gut, and allowing Yourself to be open to others and what may come Your way, it’s all good….as I’ve said before You should treat Yourself to a coffee table book of pictures from Your travels, excellent pictures 👍😊❤️
I am loving slow, slow allows me to see more of what is around me. Thank you for the kind words about the photos!
You know me… I’m a TOTAL overanalyzer!! 🙈 I am SOOOOO FREAKING PROUD OF YOU!!! It’s definitely NOT easy to let go of perfectionism, especially when it comes to exercise or any sort of physical accomplishments, and to both allow yourself to go at your own pace and potentially “stop” halfway to walk. It’s truly inspiring to hear that you’ve grown comfortable enough to allow yourself to do this. That’s basically the mental equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest! You are INCREDIBLE, Brittany!! ❤️
Can’t wait to hear more about your longest ride!!
Thank you friend!! I was stoked I didn’t have to walk when I actually tried, but even more stoked that I was OK with walking if I had to!
I know that feeling – when mind and body and everything is in the balance!
It doesn’t happen everyday, but when it does I rejoice!
A writer writing.
I love your photography, especially the ice capped mountains.
Thank you! Those are some of my favorite photos I’ve taken! The mountains make it easy.
Judith P. Dionne
I over analyze! Like you, I try to keep my perfectionism in check; I’m trying to get it out of my life, but it nags me sometimes and tells me I can’t. Nice to see you’re working on conquering your perceived limitations. Good on you!
Over analyzers unite! It’s a web of chaos in brains like ours, just gotta keep fighting the fight! 🤪
Germany, wow! I’ve been down the rabbit hole on my blog today and just came across this post. When I think of travelling to Germany, I usually just think about all the interesting history there is to learn there. It never even crossed my mind to BIKE there! 😀
I love your pictures, they are gorgeous! I bike for fun and for me, it’s all about the scenery. The exercise is a benefit. 😉
Germany looks beautiful! That’s definitely going on my biking bucket list. 🙂
I’m obsessed with this country. You will NOT regret doing bike tours here!!
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Really enjoyed your post. I specially loved that line, ” the pace does not matter, effort does”. Keep writing more. 👍
Thank you! I will. 🤪