Sole Rider

The hot sun pelts down on my lotion smeared back, legs and arms. Two tires generating a soft hum on the otherwise Ride1barren road, my steady fast pace creates a slight breeze—the only thing keeping me from melting on the spot.  The only thing keeping the black flies away.  To stop would mean certain death by flies.  I power on down the narrow tar road lined with heavy birch, pine, poplar, and scrub oaks.  Lined with wild flowers, ferns, weeds and shrubs.  I can feel my heart beat up through my chest and down my arms to my hands.  That and the vibration from the road tingles my senses.  I feel alive.  Free.  Strong.

I’ve made the first two miles, bringing me to my 2nd right hand turn. Not one car to be seen yet.

Oh these little hills tend to sneak up on you! Didn’t see that one coming.  I shift down a few clicks to make it up a slight incline.  Pull up with toes, pull up, and push down to peddle hard.  Almost there…almost….now at the top, I pick up the slack and shift back into 2nd, and then 3rd gear.  Finally.  Leg burn.  As a biker, I wait with great anticipation for that feeling of leg burn.  It somehow is a pinnacle turning point of achievement in the ride.  Once that leg burn hits, I am elevated into another realm of peddling.  There is no more pain.  I’ve hit that euphoric state of Zen riding.  Powerful.  Unstoppable.

There are no cars. No houses.  This next 7 mile stretch of road opens up to prairie and swamp and will bring me to the main bike trail that will take me to Walker, my destination.  My GPS tells me it’s 26 desolate miles to Walker.

Piece of cake. I got this.

Ride3And there’s the main road. Left. I’ve found the trail.  The Paul Bunyon Bike Trail says Walker is 12 miles away.  Cass Lake is 9 miles the opposite direction.  Good to know.

Not many folks are on this bike trail. In fact, none.  This is my trail.  My paved path.  I fly down the trail, wheels humming against the heavy brush walls.  I revel in the smell of fresh woods, fresh wild flower, fresh air.  An occasional whiff of not so fresh swamp water.   The path offers cover from direct impact of the blazing sun, but there are still those pesky flies and squeetos to deal with.  Bug spray on top of sunscreen.  Now there’s a healthy combination—not!

I power down the paved path, a gentle cross breeze keeping my arms cool. The wind blows through my muscle shirt, causing it to flap against my body.   This is where there is no need to think about things.  No place to worry about things.  All of my energy is focused on breathing, endurance, awareness of what’s around me, and peddling.   I am self-reliant.  I am healthy.  I am blessed with a beautiful day to enjoy outside.  Dragon flies are riding shotgun at my side.  Stay with me, guys!  Ward off those squeetos and flies!  My skin soaks in the light of the day.  Feeling nourished by the elements around me.  As the path curves and dips, my senses are heightened– on alert for a crossing critter at any moment.  Pull up with toes, pull up, and push down to peddle hard.

The sole rider, I glide along the trail with ease.

Time becomes an indistinguishable blur. There is no time, only the self-made breeze against my skin, managing the warmth of the sun.  The inclines occasionally take my breath away, but I am quickly rewarded with a moment of coasting downhill in return for that hard work.  Two hours go by quickly, bringing the beginnings of civilization to both sides of the road.

I have arrived to Walker.

Navigating from the bike trail into town requires some calculating and observation, forcing me to slow down to a stop. The abrupt shift in energy creates a lightheaded feeling, and pulsing of my heartbeat down into my handlebars.

Love that rush!

My legs begin to tremble with sudden awareness that I am standing on concrete ground. Exercise to muscle failure—perfect!  Time to dismount from my self-propelled chariot and walk for a bit.  I am thankful for something to hold onto, as I meander up one street and down another.  It is sweltering hot in this town!  Every pore of my skin opens up to try to cool my pumped body down.  I slam an entire bottle of water and continue walking—and dripping—soon finding myself at Village Square Pizza.

Yes, I am very hungry, and they have outdoor seating!

I am so ready to be taking a two hour rest and food break, I lock up my Cannondale and take a seat on the patio. I made it to Walker in just about 3 hours.  It will be at least that heading back. Providing myself this time to re-cooperate, replenish, and recharge, will ensure I am able to actually make the return trip back to the lake. The dozens and dozens of tourists milling about the streets of Walker makes for fantastic people watching.  My waitress appears, delivers me a menu and a pitcher of water, and gives me huge praise when I share my mornings adventure with her.   When my food arrives, I devour it like a starved savage, throwing all traces of table manners aside.  I lean back relaxed and contented with glazed eyes, in a foodie high.

What a perfect day.

RideThen it’s time to get back on the road. Back to the solitude of the trail.  Back to the feeling of a gentle cross breeze keeping my arms cool.  The wind blowing through my muscle shirt, causing it to flap against my body.   Back to where there is no need to think about things.  No place to worry about things.  All of my energy focused on breathing, endurance, awareness of what’s around me, and peddling.  Feeling my heart beat up through my chest and down my arms to my hands.  That, and the vibration from the tar ground tingling my senses.

Feeling alive. Free.  Strong.   Powerful.  Unstoppable.

Into the setting sun. Racing the sun.  I glide along the trail with ease.  The sole rider.

 

What kinds of activities rock your world? What’s on your bucket list? I’d love to hear your comments.  You can read about many more of my adventures, under the blog category “PR’s Amazing Adventure Update” section.  Perhaps something will spark your interest in scheduling an adventure with me.  What are you waiting for?  The opportunities are endless!  And please feel free to share with others that may find value and interest in PR Brady AdVentures.

 

Don’t Want to Miss a Thing? Subscribe to My Blog

Comments

  1. Beautifully written – I was right there for every dragonfly mile. This summer I found myself on an 8 hour hike with pals. It was brutal and I loved it. Hot sun, open fields, narrow mountain passes. Spectacular scenery. The best bits? Heart poundingky sweaty climbs. Thought of nothing else but getting to the damn top.

    • Indeed. Funny how we become so narrowly focused on one singular thing…the one thing that we would never choose when kicked back in the lounge chair….

  2. Yes!Yes! Loved the blog – I’m a cyclist too (who rides a Cannondale named Bella)!

  3. Bicycle riding has always been more of a struggle than a joy for me, but I’m glad your experience is better.

Speak Your Mind

*