(concluded from Part 2)
I took a few moments to check the map online, and immediately saw my mistake. I had kept going straight after emerging from under a bridge, instead of taking a left to loop around on top of it, and finished up on the wrong side of the creek.
The return ride that afternoon was brutal. I had not ridden any considerable distance in decades, and now I was facing a mostly uphill ride into 25 mph winds gusting up to 45. On top of that I again had my computer backpack, and now it bulged with the bulk of my fleece jacket.
My air resistance was high and my quads burned.
I slowly churned my legs through what had seemed a much more peaceful place that morning. Twigs littered the path — evidence of the wind’s relentless attack. The newborn leaves appeared to be applauding wildly, but I couldn’t hear them over the music my iPod pumped into my earbuds. Only the rush of the wind in my ears accompanied my mp3’s.
I was surprised when I arrived at my car that the return trip had taken only eight minutes longer than my trip in. Winded, I took a cool-down lap around the cul-de-sac and then racked my bike.
Back in the comfort of my car seat, I put down the top and enjoyed the relative calm of driving with the top down on a sunny day. I definitely was going to bring my son back to that path for us to ride it together.