Sunday, September 2, 2012

Over the Hill

The first week of classes went well. I think I have all 70 of my students' names memorized. And as usual at NIC, they all seem really nice.

One day last week, I went for a long bike ride through cemeteries and parks and then up one giant gill. Here are some photos.

There's not a lot of color here this time of year, so you have to look for visual stimulation in the contrast of things.

Even the wildlife is kind of monotone.

 This guy is blending in quite well.

 But color or no color, there are still some great views.

Though, there is still some green grass to be the graveyard.

And some flowers, here and there, are still hanging around.


And then came doomsday hill (named by the runners of the Lilac Bloomsday Race).

When Joe and I first tried this hill last August, I was in pretty good shape, was used to biking up the steep hills in Marquette, but I barely made it halfway up this one before I felt a sudden wave of nausea and had to stop. We had only been here a few days, so I think it was the change in altitude. Or allergies (my body hates this dry climate). Joe was just fine, and waited for me at the top.

I've tried it a couple of times since then, but have never made it. This picture doesn't really portray the terribleness of this hill.

Neither does this one. But I did find some proof. Runner's Magazine ranked it as one of the ten most daunting hills in U.S. races.

There was a point this time, about half way up, where I saw a strange looking weed growing out of the curb, and I thought taking a picture of it would be a perfect excuse to stop. But I kept going, and going, all the while grunting and pedaling and hunching over my bike. When I got to the top, I noticed a young guy taking photos of the river and wondered if my wheezing and bike lurching was ruining his view.  

Who cares. I made it! And then I coughed all the way home because I had inhaled so much pollen and dirt.

Tomorrow is labor day and the first time in a while that Joe and I will have a day off together. Hopefully we'll be driving somewhere new!

Happy September!

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