Saturday, October 25, 2008
My Nightmare Bike Ride!
This was my first group bike ride—a fundraiser for bicycle safety awareness and I was so excited. Yesterday I went over my bike to make sure it was in top condition—checked the brakes—oiled stuff—checked the tires, etc. Then my granddaughter Jordan and I went for a short seven-mile ride to make sure it was in good working order.
This morning I was up by 5:30AM and ready to go by 6:30! Robert helped me load my bike onto the rack in back of my truck—I doubled checked to be sure Robert had packed enough water for me, I had the directions to the ride and I was off!
The parking lot at Pima Road and Pinnacle Peak was full of bikers. Mine was the only recumbent but I was fine with that. If those other people want to struggle on their uprights and pay thousands of dollars to look good that’s their right. I don’t even have real bike shoes or clothing but I have a helmet and I love to ride!
We all unloaded our bikes—made a final bathroom stop—checked our maps and were off. I signed up for the 35 mile ride rather than the 60 so I knew I’d have an easy day. I have no friends who are crazy about bike riding (if they are—it’s their secret) so I went alone. So while groups of friends took off together I just smiled to myself and said, “Let’s go!”
Little did I know that this ride was an UPHILL ride!! Oh—my—gosh! I’d get to the top of a hill and there would be another hill!! My ears actually popped! At ten miles I stopped at the first rest stop—took a potty break—ate half a banana and then as an afterthought took a power bar and stuffed it in my pack. Refreshed and ready to climb more hills!! Ten more miles of hill climbing. People were dismounting their bikes and walking! I followed their lead.
I was pushing my bike up a very steep hill and watching the faster bike riders coming back down and oh it looked like so much fun. I was hot and sick of climbing steep hills! I called back to a group behind me, “There is no shame in turning around!” and did it! Oh the joy as my speedometer clocked my going 35MPH!! The rushing wind cooled my overly heated face and I know I smiled all the way down.
Now. I’m not the best at reading a map. I have no sense of direction and before I got my GPS I was lost much of the time. They had little markings on the road pointing to where you were supposed to turn so you didn’t have to take your map out each time. I saw the yellow marking—turned and continued to fly downhill. All of a sudden I realized I was in the middle of the town of Cave Creek! I had no idea of how I got there—I knew it wasn’t part of my route. Oh well. It was so nice just to be going downhill and I’ve always wanted to go to Cave Creek. . . I came across a couple of guys and asked, “Are you guys on the long route?”
“How did I end up on the long route? I was following the markers.”
That’s when I learned that the markers for the long route were yellow and the markers I was supposed to follow were white!!
They suggested I continue following the yellow markers and that would take me back to base—they guessed I had about twenty miles to go. I glanced down at my odometer. Thirty miles. . . Did I mention how hot it was? Okay. I rode about five miles and saw an arrow pointing left—there was no left turn but it was a turn around point so I figured that’s where you turn around and go back to base. No other bikers in sight. I had no map for the long route. Only some stupid markings painted on the road to follow and they were few and far between so most of the time I just guessed—which when you have no sense of direction that is not the best way to go about it.
I rode back through Cave Creek. This time it was up hill! I was hot. I was really struggling. Then I saw the steepest hill in front of me and pulled over. I was about to find a shade tree and cry when a car stopped. It was the SAG car—I don’t know what that stands for but I knew they helped you if you got a flat tire or whatever. The man asked, “Do you want a ride back to the base?”
“Yes! I don’t know how I got on this long route but I’ve had it with these hills. And I’m hot!”
“Well, I don’t know either but do you know that you are heading the wrong way?”
I stared at the extreme hill looming in front of me. I was about to tackle that thing and it was the wrong way??
He was very kind and loaded my bike up along with another weary biker and took us back to the start point which may I tell you was way more than 20 miles away!!
I do believe God sent that Angel—he wasn’t even supposed to be on the road I was on—since it was the wrong way!
I’m sorry I don’t have an “end picture”—you wouldn’t want to see it anyway. I’ve been home for two hours and I’m still hot!