I’ll never do that again…

Wow.  It’s been over a month since I last posted.  I guess that means I was a) really busy b) so depressed even my blog couldn’t cheer me up or c) lacking in bloggable material.  Happily, it’s “a”.  Good grief, this has been a busy month.

Before launching into my post, I’d just like to pause and say that I’ve been reading some youth fiction lately, a series by James Patterson about kids who have wings. Strangely, I find myself wanting to talk like these kids (totally, like, gotta stop that), but the most curious realization I had while reading is that the emotions and mood swings of teenagers still happen to those of us in our 30’s.  We go from the top of the world to feeling like a fat, miserable middle-school loser in the space of a few hours, nay, minutes.  I wonder if those feelings ever go away.  Or maybe that’s just me and I should seek professional help.  Whatever.

Anyway, today I tried out the bike trails in Fayetteville, which have been earning rapturous facebook posts and raves from friends for a while now.  As part of my new “I’ve got the exercise discipline of a 5-year-old” rule (no TV before I’ve exercised), I rented a bike from Clubhaus Fitness on Dickson and struck out.  Here’s a quick recap:

Mile .25
Holy crap.  I forgot how to do this.  Oh god!  I’m gonna fall off the sidewalk! 

Mile 1
Ok, yeah, that’s more like it.  Oh look!  Gears – I remember those!

Mile 1.25
Jeez.  There are no railings on these trails.  If I’m not careful, I’m gonna sail off that curve into Scull Creek.  Next time I’m wearing my helmet.  

Mile 1.5
Yeah.  This doesn’t suck.   

Mile 2
Helmet vs. non-helmet tally.  About even so far.  I should be wearing mine.   

Mile 3
Feeling great!  Had a spiritual moment as I rounded a turn and realized that I had absolutely no idea what was around the next bend.  Definitely gonna blog about that later on. 

Mile 3.75
End of Scull Creek trail?  Whatever – on to Mud Creek!

Mile 4
Mind blank.  This is AWESOME.

Mile 5
Hmmm. Mud Creek trail feels harder – energy starting to fade.

Mile 5.something
You know what would make these trails even cooler?  Water fountains.  Sprinklers would also be cool.

Mile 6.something
Losing track of miles.  But look – there’s a circle up ahead…the perfect sign it’s time to turn around. 

Mile who knows
Jeez.  I’m out of shape.  These little inclines are killing me.

Hey – it’s Matt Lee from work going the other direction!  Hi Matt!  No, I’m not about to keel over, though it looks like it.

Even later
I was just passed by a sweaty man who was at least 15 years older than me.  For shame. 

Am I done yet?
Whoosh – another familiar face.  Was concentrating so hard on pedaling I nearly missed saying hi.

Come on, I’ve gotta be done
Still not clear on the etiquette of these nifty little trail bike crossings on main roads.  Thankfully, drivers have taken pity on me and waved me across the street. 

Yes, I will walk the bike up the last hill and triumphantly coast into the Clubhaus parking lot.

Seriously, though, it was really quite something to experience that trail for the very first time.  There were little gifts literally around every corner: a whiff of honeysuckle here, a dark and puddle-strewn tunnel there.  I remembered previous lives where I biked around a lake in Madison or with the Alps in the background in Switzerland.  I thought of my dad, who bought a bike and likes to ride around his community in Florida.  But most of all, I just kept marveling that each hill or turn was something I’d never experienced before, and would never, ever experience again in this way.  We all should get that little taste of the pioneer spirit once in while, I think: that little fear of what might be lurking in the shadows (buffalo or pedestrians, for example).  There are too few surprising experiences left in our lives these days.  But for the record, I prefer my pioneering to be done with gears and a helmet, not a covered wagon, thank you very much.

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