The second, third hours of the bike ride

7:15 am And we’re off. It’s an easy ride down Valencia to Mission. But I am hesitating, worried about the upcoming hill. I have not biked this way before…and inside, I regret not trying it out. And suddenly there it is, Cortland. The hill. I gain momentum in my highest gear and slowly switch down down to my lowest gear. I am zooming forward. But I can feel it, the strain, the sudden exhaustion. And yet I went up all the hills on Sunday without much hesitation but here I am struggling.

7:30 am I make it through and I am gliding down Cortland…catching up to the core group as they stop at the light. It is supposedly flat from here and we swing around heading through Excelsior, Glen Park…I recognize this area when I have gotten lost, trying to find something other than the hipsters-infused areas of the Mission and Noe Valley.

7:55 am Regret? I am not sure what I feel as I charge up yet another “slightly steep” hill past the freeway. Everyone else is going up quickly. Quietly inside, I am recalling the feelings that I had during the Inca Trail where I stared at the initial ascent with horror. Sunny disposition, sunny disposition, I remind myself.

8:05 am “No brakes!” Sashimi yells as we wind through a residential area. I love the wind whipping through—the feeling that I wasn’t wasting money on a car or public transit. I love that I am moving faster than walking. But as I wind through the old row of houses without pedaling, I hold onto the brake.

8:15 am It feels like we have reached Parkside. I recognize it—a part of San Francisco rarely visited by many. A group of Googlers pass by and Sashimi asks about their style. They pass us easily and someone says, “Style II…I think.”

8:20 am We are now starting to pass through the lake I see normally on the Caltrain and 101. The beauty is intended to be magnificent to a biker—the kind of nature you can’t capture at speeds of 70mph. But none of that gets to me, my mind so intent on just moving, just moving.

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