Today was the perfect day for a bike ride. With temperatures in the low seventies and a fabulous breeze we pulled the bikes out of the garage and found our helmets. We dusted the cobwebs off and cycled over to the local gas station to fill up the flat tires. With bottles of water and great intentions we headed off towards the W. & O.D. trail. It runs for almost fifty beautiful miles, following the track of the Potomac for much of the route.
It had been almost eighteen months since I’d ridden my bike and while it felt odd, it was good to be back in the saddle again, literally. We quickly joined the trail, less than a mile from our house, and were soon enjoying the lovely scenery around us.
After ten minutes my legs started to ache. This isn’t good, I thought. Less than three miles from home and I was already wondering when we could turn back. Shift down a gear and press on – I thought. Bob was patiently cycling behind me letting me set the pace and as we continued on, numerous groups of cyclists, sporting all the proper gear, passed us on the left side. Each time they overtook us the leader of the group would politely announced their presence by saying ‘on your left’ as they flew by. I wasn’t bothered. All these uber-fit types who probably biked every weekend weren’t going to intimidate me in my cut off shorts and faded T-shirt. No-sir-ee. It was a beautiful day and we were going to enjoy this.
Twenty minutes into the ride I knew I was beaten. I wobbled to the side of the trail and stepped off my bike, at which point my left leg quivered and then folded underneath me. Sweat was running down my face as my pride took a nosedive, along with the bike, into the tall grasses at the edge of the trail.
Not to be beaten, after a bottle of water and a pep talk from Bob I was up and at’tem again. We headed for home and all seemed well until I called over my shoulder, apologizing to Bob for being such a bike-riding let down. He called back to me “It’s fine sweetheart. The only time it was a bit embarrassing was when the ninety-year old with the walking frame yelled “on your left’ as she passed.” At that point I lost it completely – hysteria took over and I laughed until I couldn’t pedal any more.
Needless to say we made it home with me, tail between legs, walking the bike back up the last hill to the house. Bob calculated that we went about five miles all in, which he gallantly assured me was “not bad really.” All I can say is that I hope that next time I won’t be such a pathetic biking companion and, if we do see that ninety-year old again, I fully intend to give her a run for her money.