Setbacks along the trail of life and blog

View from Mt. Vernon Trail


In June, I was pretty certain that I would have two or three nice, new rail trail or otherwise paved trail bike rides completed by August. Thus continuing my one bike blog post a month since being empty nesters. I actually did a June ride with two friends, Sue and Sara, on the Mt. Vernon trail.

Sara and Sue


We drove down to Virginia, loaded ourselves up for an exciting day on a new trail. I took pictures. We were smiling. The trail is beautiful around the water. As we rode it got a little more challenging. Then, as we got closer to Mt. Vernon, there were some killer hills. I thought I was in bike riding shape. John and I had just done a long ride on Sunday (and it was Tuesday).


But, I was struggling up the last big hill before the benches and water fountain break spot. I actually fell over and ended up giving up and walking the bike up the last few hundred feet. I was humiliated and devastated. My friends made some gear change suggestions, which I eagerly tried. On our way back, I was exhausted and falling more and more behind. It made no sense that I should be struggling this much. I figured I must have been still fatigued from the long 26 mile ride I had done two days before. Well, upon closer examination we discovered I had a flat rear tire. We made an attempt to change the tire ourselves. But, despite Sue offering me her spare tube, it didn’t go well. I was so unprepared for a flat tire. So, after 16 miles, I was done. My friends rode the remaining seven miles back to the car and drove back to pick me and my bike, which was in several pieces, up. Needless to say, I was very unhappy. In tears upon arriving home unhappy. My ride, my pride, my new, cute Athleta shirt, all in ruins. I couldn’t even write about it. It was too awful.


So, I got the bike tire repaired that night, but I didn’t get back in the saddle until last week. We decided we may as well try to get back into our cycling hobby, since we have a semi empty nest with our oldest home and working full time and our youngest back at school. I was not looking forward to it at all. But, I thought the B & A Trail, which is mostly flat, would be a good place to start over. Three miles into our ride, I heard the familiar sound of a rear flat tire. We couldn’t believe it. It was supposed to be fixed.

There I was again. Sitting alone with my bike, waiting to be picked up. Not good. This time, I had a more knowledgable bike guy fix it. He recommended a new, higher quality tire, which I gladly agreed to.


Which takes me to today. They say, “Third time’s a charm.” After back to back disappointment with bike rides – two flat tires in a row, we were ready for a good outing. We once again set off along the B&A Trail. It was a hot, sunny day. There were nice stretches of shade along the way. We made it to the top of the trail, got off our bikes and stretched and hydrated. We had never gone beyond this point because we had heard that the trail had somewhat steep hills and went along a busy highway (which it does). I asked John if he wanted to go a little further to see what it was like. A guy taking a break on the bench next to us told us about a river view at the Maryland WWII Memorial just two miles further. Hummmm. Energized by our curiosity, we decided to try it. It wasn’t bad on our way to the memorial, but I was sure I wasn’t going to make it back. But, I’d deal with that on our return trip.

We made it! The memorial was beautiful. The views of Annapolis and the river were pretty. We were glad we went the extra two miles.
The way back to the trail was not hard at all, just a little work, but it was getting hotter. I definitely felt out of bike-shape. With about a mile and a half to go, I just fell so far behind John, it was ridiculous. I was pedaling my legs off and going nowhere fast. Well, we made it back to the car, loaded it up, got the AC cranked up, and headed home. It was an 18 mile ride. We chatted briefly about why I was so tired and couldn’t keep up, but I was glad to have finished a ride. Time to plan the next one!

As we were unloading the car, I hear John say, “No Way!” I walk over and there he is looking at my FLAT front tire! Noooooo. So much for third time’s a charm.

But, it explained a lot.



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