What a beautiful weekend here in the PNW! A great weekend to get on the bike and ride. I love riding with the sun beating down on my back – the hotter the better. I have several routes from my house – 10, 20, 25, 32, & 40 mile routes but I was looking for something a little different. I ‘m training for a 7 dya bike ride in September so I need to put in some long rides. I’ve been craving a 5o mile route but knew I would need to do a little research. So I got on Map My Ride and entered in my criteria and found a new route – it actually used two portions of my existing routes so I wouldn’t be too lost or so I thought. According the calculations it would be about 48 miles – close enough and I wrote a couple of the directions on my forearm just in case.
I set out from my house, turned on my GPS, and began to ride. Every time I ride, I say a little prayer – “Dear God, thank you for this beautiful day. Please, please, please don’t let me have any ‘technical’ difficulties on the ride.” I say ‘technical difficulties because I don’t want to jinx myself. What I’m really asking is please don’t make me have to change a flat tire. I hate the thought of being on the side of the road, flustered and changing a tire. I’ve done it before, it’s not the end of the world, but I really don’t like it. The thought of other ‘technical difficulties ‘ like broken chain, etc never crosses my mind…until today.
Before I get into it, let me tell you about my ride. The route would take me through downtown Rochester and the back way through Oakville, through Capitol Forest and then back around Mima Mounds. I left about 9am and it was the perfect temperature – probably around 70 degrees. There was little traffic on the country roads and to be honest, I saw more deer than cars – at least for the first 20 miles. It was relatively flat except for a nice hill at mile 16. I actually had to stop and catch my breath and take a few sips of water after that climb. Luckily when there’s an uphill, there’s usually a downhill. Once I made it through Oakville, I thought if my ride were to end now, I would be ok with that. I was getting tired and re-thinking my breakfast I had eaten – or not eaten enough – but I trekked on. I had to stop and check the map to make sure I hadn’t missed the turn through Capitol Forest – I was heading west on HWY 12 and wanted to make sure I didn’t make it to the coast. I was still on my endorphin high – I can’t tell you enough how beautiful it was!
So when I ride, I actually prefer to ride alone. My husband rides way too fast and I don’t have enough friends who are riders and willing to make the trek to the country. I’m really not experienced enough to ride in large groups – even though I’ve done it – I still prefer to ride alone. Riding gives me time to think and disconnect from the world – except for the beautiful countryside, the smell of farm animals – just me and my bike.
So now I’m riding through Capitol Forest and my left foot started to feel kinda funny. I thought what-in-the-world and as I looked down at my foot, I realized the pedal which was still attached to my shoe was no longer attached to the bike. Uh…I’ve never had that happen before. I’ve never even considered it happening. I pulled over and stopped to assess the issue. I looked through my pack and hoped that I had the right tool. Sure enough, I did. I had bought this tool back in 1995 and never once had the opportunity to use it, just carried it with me on ever bike ride since. I tried to put the pedal back on but it didn’t work. I called Alan. He must have been in the garage or on a ride himself so I didn’t bother leaving a message. I couldn’t have been further from my house and my cell phone connection wasn’t the best – I didn’t know anyone else to call much less tell them how to get to where I was. I felt very alone. So there I was, forced to figure it out. I started wishing I hadn’t watch so many episodes of Criminal Minds – girl alone in the forest never ends well. I decided not to panic. I just told myself this wasn’t rocket science and I was smart enough to figure it out how to attach the pedal. I tried again, used my fist to pound it back in and tightened a couple of screws and was on my way.
I know this simple little maintenance issue wasn’t a deal breaker in my ride but it taught me a good lesson – it’s ok to get off the bike, pound it back in and tightened a few screws but most importantly get back on and continue the ride. I need to remember this more often.
So my beautiful bike ride ended up being 53 miles. I saw some deer, my pedal fell off, my gears got messed up, I ran out of water, and my GPS died along the way but I survived.