It was a humid summer morning in the military park. All around were monuments to a war of another century. In Mississippi there are no mountains and only a few hills. In Vicksburg the military park has a lot of hills with many twists and turns. I had decided to ride my bicycle in the park with a friend.
There is a huge difference in being twenty-five years old and forty-two years old. My friend was young and training for a marathon. Riding a bicycle on these hills was going to be easy for her. I had ridden these hills at a much younger age and now they looked daunting and frightening. I had many qualms about attempting this ride after so many years.
The road in the beginning of the park is flat and an easy ride. My friend told me she would see me at the end of the ride. The park is a circle so it would end close to this spot. So the adventure began.
Making my way around the first several twists and turns was fun and quite easy. Looking at the monuments as was scenic and fun. But soon the road began the twists and turns and the first big hill was at hand. Since it was early in the ride the hill was not as difficult as I had imagined. At the top looking down I could see a steep curve on the bottom of the hill.
I began my descent to the curve. It is amazing how fast a bicycle seems to go down a hill. It is a thrill with the wind blowing on my face. Slowing hitting my brakes the curve was made and again at the bottom of the hill. That was fun and exciting.
The next mile of the road had a few hills and again the scenery could be admired. All the monuments in the park have a story. On a cooler morning it is fun to recount the history and understand what the symbolism is in all the monuments. This morning it is a time to recoup my nerves and get ready for the next steep hill.
There is another bicycle rider in the park. He is training for a century ride in the Colorado mountains. There are several of these one hundred mile rides in this country. He speaks a greeting as he passes me and continues on the journey,
The next hill is on a circle that overlooks a valley in the park. This is an easier hill to maneuver with beautiful tall trees surrounding it. It is a beautiful morning and the sun shines through the trees. I love this part of the ride.
Moving on to the next hill gives me great hesitation. It is steep and leads up to an old ship from the war. This ship was one of the first to be sunk by a mine in the water. Having been restored it is now a museum. It is a wonderful place to visit and relive some history.
The day is hot and I am struggling to get up this hill. Panting and going slow it seems like only a few inches are accomplished with each pedal. The century rider is beside me and shouts encouraging words as he easily passes and hits the top of the hill. Finally after what seems to be forever I reach to top of this hill.
Coasting down to the bottom of the hill with the wind blowing it is easier to breathe. There is a place to sit outside the museum and take a small break. The water in the bottle is still cold having not yet melted from being frozen overnight in the freezer. Such things are a small pleasure in life when taking a break.
The remainder of the park is filled with small hills and places to reflect upon the journey through life. Since it is early summer the park is filled with wild flowers and green trees. The scenery is stunning and quite beautiful.
I have ridden over ten miles in the beautiful park and am relieved to see the end of the trail. My friend has been finished with the trail for some time now. Packing up the bicycles she stated that the ride was easy and great for her rest day of training.
Looking back upon the trail I reflect on my experience. There are no more qualms about this ride. It was difficult and fun. I am alive and excited to ride the park on the bicycle again on another day. Another wonderful adventure in life and nurturing for my soul.
copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce