Yes, the title of my post is from a Queen song. I am obsessed with the band, but the point of this post isn’t about the singing sensation but riding my brand new bicycle.
There was a time when I thought I was invincible. As I got older and my knees, ankles and shins began giving out, I felt like crying that at the age of 26, I couldn’t just go out and run like before. I began a recovery plan and that included buying a bicycle and commuting all over York.
But before my tires touched York County ground, they touched down first in Virginia. My boyfriend and I took an anniversary trip to Damascus, Va., because I somehow never got the idea of being invincible out of my brain. I am not a fan of the woods, but as I sit behind a computer and look at the pretty pictures of the Appalachian Trail, I think I could do it. Maybe even be a thru-hiker one day, I convince myself. And where else to try these things than Trail Town USA?
I also decided to start cycling, as my boyfriend loves it and it is an easy way to burn off calories. Well, I thought it could be easy, forgetting I hadn’t sat on two wheels in more than eight years. When people say, “it’s like riding a bicycle,” they were right. I got the swing of things quickly, except gripping the handlebars too hard.
Here is where my invincibility came in: After hiking for two hours the first morning of our trip, my boyfriend and I went back to our room and got supplies for a bike ride on the Virginia Creeper Trail. It is a lot like our Heritage Rail Trail, so I wasn’t worried — at least at that moment.
After going about 7 miles and taking a break at one of the stations, we decided to bike the remaining miles to Abingdon, one starting/ending point of the Creeper Trail. This decision was made after the disappointment that a local winery wasn’t open, so it was to turn back or keep going. At this point we were only an hour and 1/2 into the trail and feeling good.
I thought, “I am young, my body can do anything.” How wrong I was.
About three hours and 8.5 miles later (that is a total of 15.5 miles), we reached the end. I was tired, dehydrated and, boy, did my butt hurt! As the clocked ticked to 5 p.m., we realized we were doomed. In three hours it would be dark and we needed to get off the trail. The only way back was those 15.5 miles. Did I say that my butt hurt? My lovely new bicycle has a performance seat (read: not very cushioned.)
I sucked down a gross energy gel and we took off. We made good time, getting halfway in an hour and a half, compared to the previous time of three hours.
At this point, our precious, youthful bodies failed us. The sky was getting dark; a storm was rolling in. I hopped off my bike and pushed it, screaming all the while to my struggling boyfriend behind me, “keep going! You can do it! Push, push!”I could barely sit without feeling pain in my Gluteus maximus, and getting off the bike felt like ripping off a Band-aid.
We got back ahead of “schedule” and tried to eat dinner in the restaurant at the Inn we were staying at before they closed at 9 p.m. The employees laughed at our incredible feat. How did we spend the rest of our three-year anniversary? Placing a bucket full of ice on ourselves, and waddling through Abingdon (which we drove to) the next day.
I will say the trip was great: Southern people are so nice and the area is beautiful. But this trip reminded me that though at one time I could pull all-nighters, bike all over Wilkes-Barre and participate in competitions, those days are gone.
Or are they? My next 26-year-old crazy ideas: early morning CSA farming round 2 and upcoming summer running series.
See you on the trail!
Have you ever done something crazy like me? Tell me about it!