AUTHOR: linda TITLE: Virgin Velo DATE: 6:50:00 AM ----- BODY:

On a new years' resolution kind of whim, I decided to crack out my fancy Specialized Stumpjumper from its dark convalescence and join the Velo Girls™ (from a bumper sticker spotting) for a Sunday morning SF-to-Tiburon ride.

The morning couldn't be sunnier, I couldn't be more rested, fully geared and prepared with tires pumped, plenty of synthetic layers, shades, Camelback, and Shimanos.

A group of 20 smiling women dressed in pink and black and lime gathered in front of Presidio Sports Basement and then we were off: up to the toll plaza, across the Golden Gate, curving around to Sausalito, and onto the bike path that leads around the crescent of the bay toward Tiburon Marina.

I knew the route from training with SFRRC; but my current and casual weekly 12 miles running and 14 miles walking (not to mention an 18-month hiatus since my last ride), did not prepare me for four hours of sitting on that seat!

Soon, the crisp sunny morning turned all-too warm, the weight of the bike and my pack grew heavy, pedaling through pedestrians and cars misery, bending into the ferocious bay wind treachery, and resting at the Sam's ferry landing half way through our ride all-too tempting.

Nevertheless, I soldiered on to finish what I'd started (though not after talking my way out of a few extra miles on the return route). Hills or no, the pain continued. Finally back over the Golden Gate, crumpled into my car, knowing there's no where to go from here but up.

And vowing to come back and do it all again next month.

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