We’re back in the saddle again! Well no, not really, we’re back on the bike seats again. We met a sunny Saturday with the bright idea of taking a twenty-four mile bike trip. Not too smart after a long, hard, and cold winter! Did we forget that our bodies have not done any strenuous exercise for months. Did we think we could actually get on our bikes and take off like we did in December? Well, apparently we are stupid!
Our trip started at the North Carolina side of the Dismal Swamp. Upon exiting the parking lot you have to check in at a guard shack at the entrance of a floating bridge that crosses the Intercoastal Waterway and exit it beside the guard shack at the other end to hit the trails. You must maneuver the turn stiles at each end of the bridge. Dirt Man did not manage to turn his bike and slammed right into the guard shack. Yes, he not only tried to take out himself but the gaurd shack as well! And we hadn’t even started out at that point! I can only imagine the guard flying in the air with his eyes bugging out of his head. I didn’t get a look at him because I was too busy watching Dirt Man wobble off. No damage but some good laughs!
We hadn’t gone twenty feet and my quads were killing me! By the first half mile mark, my butt had bought the farm! Did I mention that we still had twenty-three and a half miles to go?! Remember how I bragged last year that hubby bought me a bike with a superior gel seat with shock absorbers? That was my opinion last year…guess my butt experienced a serious growth spurt over the winter! At the two mile mark I decided I’d stop to hydrate and wiggle my butt to life…the plan was to do that every two miles. That was until I got about a half mile farther. Then I was ready to CRAWL back to the parking lot and call it a day!
We came upon some movement in the road about a mile in front of us. Dirt Man was convinced it was a bear. It appeared to be grazing back and forth across the road and along the edges. WE didn’t have binoculars with us, so we couldn’t detect for sure what it was. I handed Dirt Man my camera because I was sure that if it was a bear and came after me, I’d never have the strength to pedal away…I wanted him to take pics of the evidence of my demise. Then Dirt Man thought it might be a deer…then he said maybe a coyote. Ends up that it was a group of six deer. I didn’t get eaten which meant I had to keep on pedaling.
I was struggling trudging through the muddy areas and tractor ruts left behind from a mower. My internal censor was on fire, (I won’t repeat anything I might or might not have been thinking.) and so was my butt! Isn’t “aspic” salad pulverized tomatoes that have been congealed into a salad? Sounds just like my butt felt!
There was not a lot of scenery to take in other than much like we often see. Or maybe we were in too much pain to appreciate the beauty all around us. We stopped often and enjoyed the reflections on the canal. Ok, we actually stopped because I was panting so hard I couldn’t breathe. I found that pushing my bike was much easier than riding it, so I probably pushed a half mile and road a quarter throughout the areas that were not gravel.
We approached an area that suddenly darkened. The aroma of cedar was overwhelming. It was like walking into Christmas, that is without the snow, the cold, decorations, or presents. A gentle breeze kept us cool enough. In addition to countless deer, occasional squirrels, birds, and butterflies, we actually saw a brown bat. And I thought they were supposed to be nocturnal! At first I thought it was a huge butterfly. I’m not sure what stirred it to be out and about in the daylight.
We stopped for a good rest and picnic, and I wasn’t sure if either of us would be able to get back up! We finally came upon another gravel road. No relief for our butts, however a wonderful welcome for our legs! At the next intersection, we decided we had had enough…never mind you that we still had to get back the same way we’d traveled. We came upon a state truck upon our return. I really wanted to throw my bike on the back and hitch a ride. Needless to say, I didn’t have the strength to throw my bike on there!
The rest of the trip was uneventful with the alternating of me pushing and riding. When we had almost made it off the muddy road, we could see two bikers in the distance.
Dirt Man: “You aren’t going to be a candy ass and push your bike by them are you?”
Me: “I have no shame in being a candy ass. I will continue to push my bike. You should know by now that you are married to a candy ass!”
Hypocrite that I am, I hopped, ok I crawled, on my bike as they got closer and pedaled until we passed. I immediately jumped off, nearly falling in the process, and pushed another half a mile! The girl in front was pumping…the guy in back was puffing. He looked like I felt!
I can’t begin to tell you what a joy it was to make it back to the parking lot. We talked with the shack guard for a while. I wonder if he realized that Dirt Man was the crazy person who almost took him out earlier in the day!
We only made eighteen miles of the planned twenty-four. I made us cut it short…Dirt Man did not complain. I know he could have pulled it off. I suggested he keep riding and we’d catch up later. Smart man said he’d never consider that…I didn’t even have to pull “the mother of your two children” or “the woman you’ve been married to almost twenty-eight years” cards. Yes, Dirt Man is good, even if he did suggest that I might look like a candy ass!
On the way home I debated whether it would be more beneficial to take some Motrin when I got home or just have a good stiff drink. I’ll leave you with the mystery of my decision!