Sometimes the universe just aligns....hubby out of town, son at a friend's house, bike already loaded in the car.... rare afternoon with no plans, no deadlines. My first thought was "naptime"; but that thought was followed quickly by "go for a bike ride". I've been doing my riding on the roads in an 8-10 mile radius of my house. Busy roads, many with bike lanes but still lots of cars. Sure, I've found a couple of parks with trails, but those are short, barely 1 or 2 miles. I've wanted to give the Glacial Drumlin trail a go, and I seemed to have the perfect opportunity.
While I like and appreciate the social aspects of cycling, the Sunday morning long rides with my husband, the shorter leisurely rides with my son; what I really I love about cycling is the solo aspect. How I can use it to tune out the rest of the world, connect with myself, push myself; get lost in the mental dialogue to go further, go faster, push through wanting to quit, push past the muscle fatigue. I find the same thing with running (though my body, esp. my hips, doesn’t seem to appreciate it), with training for or doing the half marathons, with yoga.
Left out from the Fox River Sanctuary in Waukesha, WI which is at the east end of this 52 mile trail. The first 12 or so miles are paved, the remainder hard packed gravel. My goal was to ride the entire paved portion, an approximately 25 mile ride out and back. This would be my longest ride to date. A decent test for what I could do. Looking at my training log, it was just three weeks ago that I was wondering if I could ride 10 miles, and here I was determined to go 25. This is an out and back ride, so if I made it to the end of the paved portion; I had no choice but to ride the whole way back. Seemed like the perfect opportunity to push to my limits.
On entering the trail, I immediately fell into a rhythm. Loved that I could just ride with no cars or traffic to worry about. Could wear earphones and listen to my music. Dutifully stopped at the self-pay box for a trail pass, but after that didn’t stop until I hit the halfway mark, was able to just ride. Passed a few leisurely riders along the way. Got passed by a “real rider” hunched over on his road bike. That just pissed me off, pushed me to ride faster. Discovered that I could maintain his pace, which was a pleasant little jolt.
Enjoyed the views of the hills around me, the trees, and the occasional stream to cross.
The town of Wales at the 7 mile mark offered restrooms and tables if I had chosen to stop.
Dousman had a quaint feel with its gazebo, and aptly located “Bicycle Doctor” shop.
Shortly, out of Dousman the pavement stopped. I’d made it to my planned halfway point, but wasn’t ready to stop. Continued on the gravel portion.
Realized shortly after passing the 14 mile marker that while I still felt fresh, I had the ride back, decided to turn around.
Last couple of miles was a little tough; legs were rubbery when I got to the car. But damn I felt good! Loved this first trail ride. Love knowing I can go further than I thought possible, but a bit sad that I’m making these discoveries in the fall, and will soon have to stop for a bit…because as this sign reminds me, there are other uses of this trail.