Cycling Through the
Yosemite High Country
Jean joined me for a ride from Tuolumne Meadows down to Tenaya Lake, about seven miles one way, with almost a thousand feet of elevation loss. It wasn't all downhill, though - we also had some uphill portions to surmount.
I had the advantage of spending several days in Tuolumne Meadows before Jean arrived, so I was acclimated to the altitude. Jean felt the altitude, too, and wisely geared down, as I had not done on my first ride some days earlier, when I'd headed up toward the Tioga Pass entrance station, on the east side of Yosemite.
I thought I was taking it easy, but within moments of heading up the first hill, just out of the campground, I felt a strange hurt somewhere deep in my upper chest. There was pain and burning at the same time, almost as if I was being stabbed, although I'll admit I've never been stabbed in the chest. My legs worked, but my lungs were in full protest, and soon I had slowed to a crawl. It took quite a while to put my breathing under my conscious control.
Gearing my bike down, too, my ride with Jean was far easier than my first, both going to and returning from the lake. The thousand feet, taken so easily, left me breath enough to converse with Jean. We spent some time there with the others - all of whom had driven cars - relaxing on the pleasant beach situated beneath the surrounding granite walls. Too soon we began the ride back to camp, to help make dinner for the group.