We did the bike route on Sunday. We set out a little before noon and got to my office at around 1:00 pm. We stopped for water and I got on my computer to look at the map again, just to confirm that yes, we’d been at that turn, that crossing, that bridgeâ€”all the stuff I’d hovered above while playing with the Google maps satellite view, spying on Magical Bikeland for months. It really is beautiful on the trail, with winding creeks, patches of prairie, and deer staring creepily as you ride by. It felt good to be down among the trees. When we went fast it was maybe just a tiny tad like the speeder bike chase scene in Return of the Jedi (except without the Ewoks, and thank God for that).
The best part is the bridge. There’s a foot/bike bridge that goes over Oakton, one of the few places on the trail where you don’t have to dash across the road in terror. But the trade-off is that, of course, the bridge is an arc and to cross it you have to pedal uphill, though you can’t even call it a hill, just a wimpy little bunny slope. Still, when I tried this trail a couple years ago, the bunny stomped my ass. I mean I saw how easy it looked and I began to ride up the incline and it kept, you know, inclining, just as it was inclined to do, and my legs lurched on the pedals and the bike got stubborn and finally I just stopped and stumbled off the bike and walked it over. And I wasn’t surprised, because I was always finding new and exciting ways to discover my physical shortcomings, and I figured pedaling uphill was just an awesome new vista of inadequacy.
But then on Sunday we were just riding along and suddenly there was the bridge. So I downshifted and then pedalled fervently and with much grunting, and then, eventually, my ass was over that hump. And then on the way back I did it again. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised this time, since I’ve been doing weight training since the fall, but I am pleased. It was still a wobbly ride over the bridge, but Chris pointed out that the riders we passed there were wobbly, too. Maybe the only folks who can glide over that thing easily are the ones who ride around dressed like Olympic luge competitors.
But anyway, we did it. I think the total distanceâ€”round-trip, and with additional wandering around in search of lunchâ€”was close to 25 miles.Â Making the return trip in such a short time was pretty rough, but I think I can do it as a commute on Friday, which is what I’m planning on doing, weather permitting.
I like being on the map.