Mountain biking on Hymettus

Mount Hymettus (pronounced “imi-tos”) is one of the imposing mountains I can see from my rooftop. It runs along the eastern edge of Athens, with the airport on the other side of it. Not long ago I took a scenic road that ran right through it. This week the girls and I decided to ride our bikes on it. Thankfully Nikki scoped it out the weekend before, and she wisely suggested we park one car at the top and one car at the bottom so we could ride down the mountain and drive ourselves back up.

I’m new to this whole mountain biking thing. The roughest trail I’ve been on is the chat-laden Katy Trail that traverses my lovely home state of Missouri. Rose hadn’t, either, so I didn’t feel like a complete newbie. For some reason I didn’t think we’d be getting much exercise on this ride because we’d be going downhill.

Ha. Ha.

Turns out “downhill” is just a relative term. The trail actually undulates along the mountainside for quite awhile before it starts going down. Negotiating around large rocks and rough terrain was definitely challenging. Years ago I’d replaced my mountain bike tires with smoother street tires, so I wasn’t as well-equipped as I could have been. But as with every ride I’ve been on, my friends are a wealth of biking knowledge. Nikki showed me the correct stance for my feet and seat as we went down steep hills. I learned that I need to deflate my tires to a lower PSI for mountain biking vs. road biking. And I have to lower my seat if I’m going downhill. (That one was a bit intuitive, actually.) I had to walk the bike in quite a few places, especially around tree roots and slippery, loose-dirt slopes. I really, really, really didn’t want to fall. But we still had a great time making our way along the trail, stopping to take photos when we came across ruins or beautiful vistas.

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At one point we found ourselves at a cave-like shrine. Inside the walls were completely covered with religious artwork, and in the middle was an alter with lit candles.

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After roughing it on the trail for awhile, we eventually found ourselves on the switch-back road that we had driven up. And doooooowwwwwnnnn we went. Wheeeeeee! We loaded the bikes onto the hitch on Rose’s Jeep, then headed back up to my car. Along the way we stopped at a little coffee and snack shop for some warm drinks and spinach and cheese pies. I’m loving these little post-bike lunches.

Next week the fam and I are off to Pompeii, but I look forward to more biking adventures with these two when I return.

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