Monday, July 27, 2015

                              RE: Cycling

     Mr. Wonderful and I thought it might be fun to bring out bikes along to Virginia and D.C. for our long week-end away. The “fun” took on a whole new meaning by the time we loaded the suckers into the SUV. First, getting them situated in the back of the car without damaging the frames, the wheels, the car and our limbs was tantamount to running through a briar patch and assuming you’re not going to get scratched. Secondly, we had to pack them so they wouldn’t rub against each other and scratch the like-new finish on each. Then we had to figure out how to squeeze our suitcases inside. Mr. Engineer was able to figure it all out after awaking at 3 a.m. exploring options in his lined-up-pencil brain. 

     Away we went bikes tucked in and five pairs of stilettos packed neatly into the one roll-on allotment. Going over bumps and around corners was delicate, but we made it.

     The first trek was on an old railroad bed from the 1800s. They have blacktopped the 40-mile-route which can be picked up from directly behind our hotel. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, the temps were mild, and the humidity low. We were hyped. As I approached the car where Mr. W. had already maneuvered the bikes onto the parking lot floor, I heard some grumbling. He said, “Your tire is not holding air.” He said other things too. As he is pumping the air into the tire, I am already formulating Plan B in my mind—-the plan that did not include said bikes. Finally, he took our the tube and replaced it with the spare, and off we went. I thought to myself, “If the tire gives out and I end up in a ditch in some Virginia landowner’s backyard on my butt cheeks, I pray my gold locks will spill gently out onto the grass from my yellow helmut.”
This did not happen, even though I was practicing the sad smile for the last photo op.

     We cycled happily into the hills and we struggled minimally with the inclines for the first 12 miles. (We usually go a max of about 7 miles at home). As we continued, we realized that the inclines were becoming steeper, and our energy level was dwindling. We decided to stop for a water and peanut butter cracker break to see where we were. We had gone about 14 miles, and it was time for lunch. We found a darling little Mediterranean patio spot with flowers and umbrellas. Locking our bikes next to our outdoor table, we enjoyed a tasty sandwich. I even splurged on onion rings after confirming that I had already burned 279 calories. 

     On the way back, we cruised along the wide uncrowded route until we got to mile number 24. At this point, I was sure I was going to die. The inclines somehow tripled in pitch, and I was huffing like the bad wolf. It took every ounce of my energy to just get up one hill. When I reached the top, instead of cheering for the descent, I was already tearing up seeing the next hill ahead. 

     Twenty-eight miles was more than either of us had bargained for, but the 478 calories promised a giant Cosmo. It’s all about vodka.

     We looked forward to a wonderful concert at Wolf Trap with Diana Krall and her jazz ensemble. I decided to wear a maxi dress and stilettos to match. I didn’t anticipate the incline of the hill to get to our seats, however, and my poor feet are blistered and screaming. It’s my dogs who are now in need of recycling. 

     Part II of cycling saga to follow.