Getting Up to Speed in Cycling Season 2014

Welcome to cycling season 2014!
Although, for a lot of us, cycling season 2013 never really ended...

I never mentioned it here, but I moved to Wilkes-Barre in October and was enjoying a much shorter commute. Going to work was almost completely uphill along Route 309 into Mountain Top and would take me about 45 minutes to complete. Of course, that meant that the commute home was all downhill, taking me about 15 minutes from start to finish. It was great; I'd get a nice workout in the morning and a fun ride home.

My coldest commute was 18 degrees Fahrenheit in mid November, which still seemed warm compared to most of the days that followed, but that's not what stopped me from commuting. As the daylight got shorter and the clock got set back for daylight savings, it became treacherous to ride with the amount of traffic coming from the various on and off ramps along my route. Then came the snow and ice, the frigid temperatures... I kept riding throughout December and January, but I just couldn't keep up the commute. And then I got sick...

I was waylaid in late February by a bad flu and spent a few days in bed. Following that was a terrible, terrible back spasm that gripped my sacroiliac and made it impossible to walk for almost 2 weeks. It was so bad that I was worried I might have some serious damage and not be able to ride again, but my chiropractor checked me out and said I should be ok. It was a very scary time for me, as I shuffled along, hunched over in pain for the rest of the month. I'm still getting a lot of pain when I stretch my legs in certain positions, but I'm working on it, slowly bringing myself back to 100%

While it seems that pain may be a constant companion as I get older, I'm doing my best to get back in the saddle and get back up to speed. I didn't sign up for
30 Days of Riding this year because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to take part, but I've been hitting every day, so far -- even if it means riding on the trainer. From doing short sprints around the neighborhood to happily riding along my favorite Rails to Trails, I've been getting myself in shape for the Spencer Martin Memorial Ride in May. I'm happy to say that my friend +Michelle Hryvnak Davies will also be volunteering for traffic control, again. Can you believe it's been a whole year?

Speaking of Rails to Trails, I was really hoping to see the bridge on the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails open this year. As of this writing, here's what the bridge currently looks like:

It's coming along nicely since I first saw it last year, but it's far from done. Looks like they just need to finish the deck and clean up the surrounding areas, but I'm not sure when it will be done.

Note that they added a nice fence running along the ramp up to the bridge and are fencing in the areas along the sides that run into the train tracks (tracks that are still, very much, being used. So be careful if you go exploring down there!)

I can't help but be tempted to hooft it across the small creek/marsh/whatever on the other side of the tracks and see how much farther the trail actually goes, but I'm patient enough to wait and see when it's finished. Eventually, it's supposed to run all the way to Eckley Miners' village, but that's a post for another day. At any rate, get on your bike and ride.
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