I'm training for a sprint triathlon right now, so I haven't been riding much more than 20 miles at a time. I decided I wanted to change it up and bike a different route, so I printed off a new route that a local bike club uses. I had no idea where I was actually going to bike, but I had a lot of faith in my sense of direction.
I thought I'd be fine.
Yesterday Lily and I went to the first matinee showing of Harry Potter -- That's what cool people do -- We didn't get home till around one, so I didn't start my bike ride till 1:30pm. That was my first mistake. It was extremely humid and the heat index was 100 degrees. Normally the heat doesn't bother me, but this bike route was 30 miles long, not 20.
I left with one water bottle, the map with directions, and a cell phone.
Everything went well the first 12 miles. I only made one wrong turn, but discovered the mistake a minute later. I rode past three dairy farms (all equally ripe smelling), a teeny town, and countless corn fields.
Then the road ended. I turned left. I continued down Sterling Road for about 5 miles until it ended. Crap. According to the map, the road should have continued, and I was supposed to turn right. I turned right on Main Street anyway. There were three different streets called Main Street on the route. No wonder I got lost. I pulled to the side of the road and looked at my map again. After about a minute, a man pulled over and helped me try to figure out where I was going.
We discovered that I wasn't going north, but I was in fact heading south. We also learned that I wasn't even on the map anymore because I had turned left onto Sterling, not right. (There's a story to why I made such a dumb mistake, but it's far too complicated and boring to explain). I had to ride all the way back to that wrong turn. Against the wind. Five miles away.
Once I was going the right direction I got scared.
- I didn't know where I was.
- I was in the middle of nowhere. Just a bunch of farms.
- I still had 20 miles to go.
- I was out of water.
I was so excited to turn north because I was finally biking towards home. I biked on some of the most deserted roads. They didn't have lines. Or cars. Or people. Then a dog attacked me. Well, not really, but he ran behind me and nipped at my feet. Ever since a huge dog jumped me a couple years ago, I assume they're all out to get me.
I also got to cross I-71. That was a thrill.
With about 15 miles left, the sky turned dark. I knew it was going to rain, the question was when. I heard thunder two miles from home, but still no rain.
Then I WAS HOME!!! Just minutes later the wind picked up and it started to pour. I was gone for three and a half hours, but it didn't start raining till I got home.
My 30 mile bike ride turned into 40 miles because of one freaking wrong turn, but besides that I was pretty lucky. I got help from a man who pulled over, and water from a nice old lady just at the right time; I didn't get eaten by a dog, I didn't get hit by a car when I crossed four lanes of traffic on the freeway, and I didn't get rained on.
Having said that, I should probably find a group to bike with.