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I’ve come to the realization that when my friend Ross says he wants to do something adventurous and go exploring, he isn’t kidding. We decided to head out on a bike ride tonight to try out some new area we hadn’t biked before. Area without bike trails even. He had a trail mapped out and I just followed along.

I met Ross on Hwy 2 off Rock Island and we rode down to Densmore Park, down 14th Street to Pine Lake and back around to the South Pointe Trail. From there we took the South Pointe Trail to its end and rode through that neighborhood until we got to Yankee Hill Road.

From there we started out on Yankee Hill Road and quickly learned that it’s quite hilly and has no shoulder. The plan had been to get to 91st street and cut back over to trails and work our way back to Antelope Park. We did not make it to 91st Street, mainly because the street became a gravel road at 70th. We attempted the gravel but had to turn back and stick with pavement.

65th and Yankee Hill Road

Stopping to catch my breath...

View Down Yankee Hill Road

We did have a nice view though.

There’s one problem with 70th street, even though it’s paved out there it’s also curved, has no shoulder, is two lanes and has a speed limit of 55 mph. Ross almost got creamed by an oncoming truck that had passed into our lane just as we were about to turn on the road. 70th is also quite hilly and we made a few stops. Made it to Old Cheney and got back on a bike path. Road that until we could pick up Helen Boosalis to bring us back into town.

Sunset From the Trail

Awesome sunset from Helen Boosalis

I picked up Rock Island again at Hwy 2 and rode home as it was getting dark. I was pretty happy to get back into my neighborhood. It was a great ride overall but wow was there a lot of adventure.

At my last PT session he gave me the clear to go ahead and try riding my bike again so of course I was more then willing to give it a try. On Friday and Saturday I just did some short rides around the neighborhood to get a feel for it again. I can tell that I have lost muscle in my left leg and my pace is a lot lower but it’s still great to be out and about again. I still rely on the boot for walking but for biking I can wear two shoes again which is nice.

So then this morning I was looking for something to do and Ross suggested we meet up and go for a bike ride. I wasn’t sure how far I could realistically make it but he suggested meeting near the zoo and biking out on Billy Wolff to Holmes Lake. I figured that was all close enough to home that if I needed to turn back I could. We made it to the lake with no problems except that big hill leading up to the dam. I hate that hill and had to kind of walk/bike the last bit of it but I did make it.

Holmes Lake Dam

Top of the Hill - Holmes Lake Dam

From here Ross suggested we ride around the lake and that seemed like a good idea. The crushed limestone/gravel whatever on this path isn’t great though and there were places where I was sure I was going to wipe out. I didn’t but apparently at one point (or more) I may have almost clipped Ross’s bike. Ah well, such is the hazards of riding with me I suppose. I decided that I wanted to keep going down Billy Wolff because I had never taken it passed 70th Street. We found the underpass and went up by the dog park and around. I convinced Ross to keep going on the trail with the promise of stopping for lunch at Sam and Louie’s. On our way there we ended up stopping to take a trail survey and chat with the ladies taking the survey. I didn’t realize how hungry the ride had made me until the food got to the table.

Sam and Louie's

Waiting for Food at Sam and Louie's

After we ate and refilled our water bottles we swung by Cycle Works so I could ask them about problems I was having with my chain and random unwanted shifting. Luckily for me, they weren’t too busy and he was able to look at it right away. I decided to just go ahead and have him replace the chain and he made some adjustments to the rear derailer and I was back in business. The bike ran super smooth after that and I can’t wait to go riding again and again.

Waiting at Cycleworks

Waiting at Cycle Works

Getting a new bike chain

Getting a New Bike Chain Installed at Cycle Works

Once I had my new chain we headed back towards our starting point via Billy Wolff. I’m still not sure exactly what happened but for some reason when I was coming out and around from the underpass on 70th Street I took the curve to tight and ended up colliding with the retaining wall. The weird part was I basically ended up sitting on the wall and only had some very minor road rash/bruising. I’m thankful that I was wearing both jeans and my compression socks. I may hate those socks but they truly saved my skin this time.

Once we got back to the starting point I ended up following Ross part way home down Rock Island because I was really enjoying being out and being active for a change. We parted ways at Highway 2 and I took Rock Island a bit further to Essex Street and then turned around for home. I was super tired by the time I got home but it was so worth it. I also got a bit of a sunburn because for some reason I can never remember to put on sunscreen.

Part way into the trip my bike speedometer/computer stopped working so I don’t have the normal ride stats that I like to have. I did go map the trip out on Dailymile and it came out to close to 21 miles. Not too shabby and I still feel great!

Other highlights from this weekend included hitting the bike swap meet and random shopping with Toni and riding around the cemetery.

Lincoln Bike Swap Meet

Lincoln Bike Swap Meet

Cemetery Ride

Enjoying the Shade During a Cemetery Ride

Today the weather was beautiful and it seems like we are working our way into summer already. It was warm, humid and really windy. I was meeting a friend this afternoon for lunch and a movie and I picked Don and Millie’s which is a 50s/60s burger and shake place. I have been craving a burger from there for a long, long time now – like over a year, so I decided that I would get one if I got up early and went for a bike ride beforehand.

I did not wake up as early as I wanted and then ended up chatting with my landlord about the bike and other things before I was able to leave. The good part though, is I did end up getting in an hour long ride even if I didn’t get as far as I had mapped out. Biking out into the wind was a chore and I learned a lot about just how much dirt and small rocks wind can move. Watching a debris cloud coming your way and being helpless is an interesting experience.

I ended up taking old trusty Rock Island trail and just after I came up the “death upramp” off 27th and Capital Parkway I found out the trail was closed around the zoo. They apparently had an event that morning and were using the trail all the way around so my only option was to turn around and go back. I took the by pass route and picked Rock Island back up on the other side of A street. Thankfully the trail was open for the trip home.

Trail Marker and Bike

I rode Rock Island out until it met up with the Helen Boosalis trail and rode that to almost 40th before turning around and heading back home. I wanted to make it out past 56th to the end of the trail but I just didn’t have enough time. The ride back went a lot smoother and I was able to get some nice speed going. The best part of the ride was passing the guy in full bike racing gear on his nice racing bike. He had passed me earlier when I was going pretty slow but then I caught some speed and just went for it. That was awesome!

On the ride home, the worst problem I had was coming around from Rock Island to Billy Wolff, I hit a patched asphalt spot and the handlebar jarred into my thumb/wrist and that was pretty painful. Pain shot up to my elbow and I ended up riding mostly one handed until I got home. Doing the old advil/ice, etc and hoping it gets better – I had already cracked this wrist on the brake pull about two weeks ago and it was still sore from that.

After I got back from the ride, cleaned up and picked up my friend Susan, I got my Don and Millie’s fix. I went with a cheeseburger topped with only tomatoes and lettuce. I’ve all but given up on condiments – too much sugar in most and I’m not a fan of mustard. I also paired this with a chocolate shake because the make a really great shake. Since I go there maybe once a year or less, I’m not too worried about it.

Don and Millie's Lunch

We were supposed to go see a movie but got the starting time wrong and ended up missing it at two different locations. Ended up going to Scheels instead where I got this awesome Life is Good shirt:

Life is Good Bike Shirt

After Scheels we got our Starbucks fix (*innocent whistle*) and then hit Joyride Bikes so my friend could show me the bike she was getting and so I could look around and stuff. I ended up picking up a nice pair of cycling gloves with added padding that I hope will help with my wrist jarring problem. Susan told me I had to get them in pink so that’s what they are. I also tried on some cycling shoes and I loved them, most supportive shoes I’ve had on in a long time, so I may have to get a pair.

I also test rode a Specialized Ariel (green and black) and it was really nice. I haven’t ridden a bike with front tire suspension before so that was a little odd. My friend’s husband ended up coming and they bought Globe Caramels, very nice bikes. I can’t wait to get out and go riding with them some time.

Today was a great day to ride a bike, so I did.

Ross, who bikes a lot more than I do, said we should ride today and it sounded like fun. We decided to meet up at 11AM near the Rock Island trail crossing at J Street.  From there we biked downtown and he convinced me to ride on the streets and use the scary bike lanes. The thing about the downtown bike lanes here is they go right smack down the middle of the street, it doesn’t make sense.

We meet up with Kelli, Anthony and the De Jabets and had lunch at Noodles and Company and the plan was to just head home from there. I wanted to scope out the best route to campus before heading home so after eating we biked down to campus. We went over by the Union and ended up seeing a little bit of a Native American dancing event on the plaza. I decided we should go down and pick up the new Antelope trail and head back to J street. We biked down past the stadium and picked up the trail where I believe it begins and started riding. Once we got back to J street, for some reason we decided to head back up south on Rock Island.

Once we hit about Calvert Street I was getting tired and we did stop for a bit. It was Ross’s idea to head out to Southpointe to get ice cream. After sitting for a bit I decided I might as well try and we took Rock Island to 27th and switched over to the trails of Tierra and headed to Southpoint. I survived this bike ride and I’m proud of that. After enjoying some ice cream we hit the trail off 27th and biked a bit up Pine Lake to 14th. The wind was amazingly hard to peddle against going up Pine Lake but we made it. Grabbed Rock Island again and stopped at Joyride bikes at 16th and Old Cheney. They adjusted my seat and helped with my kickstand, which was nice. I ended up buying a set of lights for my bike, which I had been needing.

At this point I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make the ride back home and did have a contingency plan in place in case I couldn’t. After stopping and with the new higher seat I felt like I could make the ride back home – I didn’t want to be a quitter either. So we rode Rock Island down to 27th and Capital Parkway and parted ways. I took the trail past the zoo (Billy Wolf I think) and then went up A Street to 33rd and on home from there.

After today’s big ride I feel pretty confident that I can make that ride in to work – that whole 2.5 miles. My biggest issue is how to get everything I want to take to work with my, like my lunch and etc.

My next big goal is going to be working on speed, today’s ride was pretty slow and relaxed and I’m averaging only about 9 mph. I do really enjoying riding the bike and I actually like how tired I am by the end of the day. I sleep really well on biking days.

Vital Stats

Name: Angela
Height: 5’8″
SW (2019): 475 Lbs
CW: 410 Lbs

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