I had gone from fat and sassy to sassy pants. I figured that if I could get into a bikini I could do just about anything. Maybe it was the endorphins kicking in, but I was getting a little obsessed. I was either working out, running or riding bike. Or posting on Facebook about my latest bike ride adventures. No one else was glutton enough to join me on these expeditions except for my 16-year-old niece, Rachel. But Rachel wasn't always available so I rode alone. People were starting to think I was crazy. I was.
I got in trouble with my family when I took off late on a Sunday afternoon to ride bike to Elba and climb the fire tower. I told my husband I was going for a ride and then hopped on my three-speed granny bike. I didn't prepare very well. The trip was 35 miles round trip, not counting the climb to the tower. The ride back was an extreme hill lasting forever. The day was hot and humid. I had a bottle of water and my cell. I thought I was covered.
Spying the fire tower
Elba's in the river valley and surrounded by bluffs. I started down the long hill to the valley. As I picked up speed, I wondered what would happen if a tire blew or I wiped out. Pretty sure I would break my neck. Briefly, I envisioned myself in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I wondered if my kids would take care of me. I made a mental note to buy a bike helmet. By the time I got to Elba, my water was gone and my cell didn't get any reception. I started up the hill to the fire tower.
A hike to get to the tower is a workout in itself. A hike up the tower after riding a three-speed 18 miles on a 90-degree day is cause for a coronary. Pulling myself up each step, I felt parched, shaky and seeing little pricks of lights. From the top of the tower the view was breathtaking. Of course, that might have been because I was gasping for air at that point. I took pictures of the valley below. And then I took a picture of myself. I looked terrible.
For the first time during my daring feat, I considered I might be in trouble. Hoping my cell would get reception, I called my husband. He couldn't hear me with the wind. I shouted, "I'm on top of the Elba fire tower. I'm heading home. I'll call you when I reach the top of the hill. If you don't hear from me, Come get me!" All he heard is "Come get me!"
Long story, but I finally made it home after several hours of riding back up the bluff. It was dark and I felt lucky to be alive. My husband had been searching for me on a different route. When I walked in the door, he wasn't amused. My kids rolled their eyes. Paige had friends over and asked me if I could make them brownies. "Paige, it's 9:30 at night and I almost died today of dehydration." Paige said, "Mom, you're no fun since you started exercising." Mother guilt. I made the brownies. Then took a shower.