Biking is hard.
A mountain bike weighs a ton. A bike seat is not as padded as it appears. A slight incline on foot feels like a serious hill on a bike. A quick downshift (or three or four) doesn't make stinging quads magically disappear. An open mouth catches bugs. A downhill coast inevitably ends too soon. A rented bike is the way to go (that way you can drop it off and happily never see it again).
|Bar Harbor Bike Shop|
I don't think I've ever felt so out of shape in my life. Now I have some idea of how terrible it feels to be consistently bringing up the rear, to be chasing moving targets ahead that seem just out of reach.
|My Instrument of Torture|
In order to preserve some of my pride, I had to really move on the declines. As you may have guessed, I am totally a break-on-the-downhills type of girl. When we reached the summit on our 12 mile around the mountain loop, I slowly experimented with letting my momentum lead me down the twisting carriage roads. By the end of the ride, I was pedaling downhill at full speed. What a rush (for me, surges of bubbly laughter, silent weeee's, and a healthy dose of this is kind of scary but I don't want it stop)!
|Carriage Roads, Acadia National Park|
After a quick lunch and lemonade break, we decided to embark on a short but reputably outrageously steep hike called the Bee Hive. Standing at the foot of the climb, we could just barely make out a pair of hikers clinging to what can only be described as the face of a cliff (that appeared to be impossibly far away). Feeling slightly daunted but also buoyed by curiosity and determination, we started up.
|The View from Below, Distorted|
Of course, we got off trail once again. For three decently intelligent adults, you'd think we'd be able to pick a trail on a map and actually stay on it...wrong. Because we were constantly on the lookout for those little spray painted blue dots and searching for sturdy hand and foot holes, I hardly had time to panic about the possibility of a quick slip and a painful death.
We climbed hand over hand, used iron rungs to assist in particularly hazardous areas, and scaled sections that rattled even the most diehard hikers (let alone Mom and I, who are somewhat afraid of heights). Don't look down became a popular refrain.
|Looking Back (Oops!)|
|Iron Rungs, Bee Hive Trail|
Our efforts were rewarded with views of the Atlantic Ocean that were second to none. We left Acadia National Park feeling quite proud of ourselves and rather humbled as athletes. I can't wait to wash away all of the accumulated grit and grime and lace up my running shoes at home again! Maybe it's time I gave some thought to trail running...
|Sand Beach from Above, Zoomed In|