Monday, April 25, 2005
The Road Less Travelled
My Bike and I
So Yesterday i bought a bike. Its no super $2,000 bike, but he's no slouch either. Good frame, double walled rims, front fork suspension. Its a Specialized RockHopper. And I didn't waste anytime tryin' him out. The guy at the shop clued me into a trail just north of chicago.
This mornin, after calling the shop to figure out how to take the front wheel off, packed a lunch, packed my bike in my car, and drove 30 mins north of the city for a little ride. Its called the Des Planes River Trail, which winds 40 miles along the...you guessed it...des planes river. I found a place to park near the trail, put my bike together, and off I went.
I was tired within the first 5 mins. Not kidding. but the scenery was amazing, tons of lakes, ponds, lush greens, beautiful blue sunny sky..highs in the upper 60s and a cool breeze. and it was a monday...the entire trail was to myself. I found a bridge, snapped a few shots, and headed on. Things were pretty tame, just pedalling along, relaxin', takin it all in, nuthin' too hard. There were a lot of small trails that veered from the main trail, and i always took them. they were through grass and dirt instead of gravel.
I'm a very adventurous person, so i was always excited as to what was around the corner. a bridge? a jump? so at this point i didn't feel tired. i was too excited about what lied ahead. There were a lot of small hills that i could speed up to and fly down. I found one side trail that led right next to the river with 5 or 6 good bumps that i could pull up on and get some air. nice.
i found a picnic area to eat, and a small trail with mud at the bottom...i hit it hard...ahhh..first taste of mud for my bike...and my legs.
around 1pm, i decided it was time to turn back. however i found a little trail that went up this large hill. i thought before i turned back that i would go up this thing then ride it down. this is where the fun began.
I got up,took a short breather, then headed down, pedalling as hard as i could, flyin' down this hill. then i hit the little turn on the hill. Realizing i was going way to fast to make the turn, and with not enough space to slow down, i hit my rear brake, i started fishtailing a bit, back tired locks up, and i fly straight, uncontrollably into the woods...with briars. i was fine...just laughed at myself and moved on.
at this point i'd like to mention that when the bikeshop owner told me i needed a helmet, i said i had one at home. which wasn't true. i just didn't want her to refuse to sell me the bike without a helmet. i never wore those things growing up, and i had my share of crashes and flips over the handlebars. and i'm fine. so i have no helmet on.
on the way back im noticing that its a lot harder going back. the adventurousness is gone.
i find a trail i had missed earlier. tearing down it, i run into a small problem..its flooded..no way around. don't matter. i go right through it, sloshing up water and mud...getting stuck a couple of times, but i get through. i hit another little muddy area, get bogged down, try to push back on the peddle, my foot slips and my shin slams into the peddle......ahhhhh..blood. oh well. i continue on. it leads to a residential road. i can't find the original path. i ask a landscape worker. he has no idea. dang. i have to go back through that muddy path. i make it through, see some deer and duck on the way.
i can't tell you how tired i was on the way back. exhausted. my legs hurt. my butt hurt. my back hurt. everything. i started counting how many miles i'd been..(there were mile markers) so i counted from where i turned around to the start and multiplied by two. by the time i made it back..counting the muddy trail that i had to do twice...20 miles. what??? how'd i do that? and this wasn't cozy road riding. this was tough. its amazing how much harder the ride going back was.
i just know i'll feel it in the morning.
for pics of this little escapade, go here