I, however, was LOST!
Yesterday I took a long ride. Longer than I had planned. Longer than I had time for. Longer than I was prepared for.
It started as Mondays usually do. I rode my bike to work, expecting to leave a little early so I could ride to my CSA to pick up my weekly vegetables. I also planned on playing basketball with some friends at 12:00 which meant I had to carry extra cloths and extra sneakers. I wasn’t too worried about this though because I had found a very roomy messenger bag at our local Goodwill store over the weekend.
Everything was proceeding as expected when I got an email from the semi-local Freecycle email list. Someone was offering “knitting supplies” and since my wife likes to crochet and knit I thought I would ask if I could pick it up. It turned out to be available so I was sent the address, which turned out to be in Southington not Cheshire as I expected. While I usually think that Southington is too far away I thought I would give it a try.
Looking up the address, I had trouble deciding where I should go first. The CSA was in North Haven which is closer to Wallingford but it was shorter to get to Southington from work. There was also the problem of timing. I was supposed to be at the farm by 6:30PM and since I was leaving work with a 12 mile ride to Southington, it would be a close thing to make it back to North Haven, 14 by 6:30. So when I was printing directions I decided: Farm first, Yarn second.
The problem was when I got out on the road with my pannier and my bag I started thinking about weight. Did I really want to carry tomatoes, apples, a melon and various other vegetables all the way up to Southington? Besides if I’m a couple minutes late they won’t be too mad right? So as I got to the turn to go north or south, I decided on north. Up to Southington I went. I thought I had remembered the directions pretty well and was riding along thinking I was making good time and maybe I could get there by 6:30. That was until I got to an intersection I recognized and realized I had just gone in a 5 mile loop!
Not one to be deterred, I simply kept peddling on Route 10, because I had directions from there to where I was going. What I didn’t realize is there are a lot of hills in that direction. I kept thinking OK, just make over the next hill and you will be close to the turn you need. That went on for about an hour. Finally when I got to the TOWN I was looking for , I missed the ROAD I needed to turn on and went about 2 miles the wrong way. After turning around an finding the road I needed it was another 3 miles to my destination. By the time I got there it was 6:15 and there was no way I was making the CSA on time. But I did pick up the yarn and the woman giving it away was nice enough to refill my water bottle.
So for the next leg of my journey, I headed back to Route 10 and went south through Cheshire to get the North Haven near Quinnipiac. By this time the sun is starting to set, I’m really tired and my legs are starting to protest. I stopped at the first large grocery store on the way and got a few smoothie drinks( with Potassium) and a granola cookie. I also switched the dark lenses out of my sunglasses and put the clear ones in. As I continued I was glad to find I had reached the semi flat portion of Cheshire. If there were anymore hills, it may have been time to call a friend!
So I arrive at the road that leads to the farm at 7:30, hoping they had left my vegetable share somewhere that I could find it. This road is called Mt Carmel Ave and it is the kind of road that would lead to the Batcave. Windy, narrow, rolling hills, no shoulder, lined by trees and full of potholes. Beautiful in the daytime, kinda scary after dark. So I head down the road, headlight on, reflector on my back to find the farm. Now I usually don’t use the smallest chain ring, I mostly don’t need it. I needed it today. I had to climb 2 hills that were 1/4 mile each at about a 30 degree incline. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it but I did. And luckily my veggies were waiting for me in a cooler.
I packed them all in my bag, the plastic crate on the bike and my pannier. With my work stuff, the yarn, and the vegetables I probably had about 20 extra pounds on the bike at this point. And only 7 miles to get home. Mercifully most of it was downhill but there are 2 spots between there and home that are really tough. One is a hill that not only gets steeper the farther you go up it but goes around a corner and stretches for 3/4 of a mile. The other is the hill I live on. Now you would think that after living here for 10 years I would be used to it. Perhaps because I’m always finishing on it or it’s a mental thing but this hill still wears me out every time.
I got home exhausted, sweaty, cold and ravenous. I left work at 4:30 and got home at 8:30. After tracing my route I went 37 miles when it should have been 27. . This is a distance I have done before but not with that amount of climbing. Do I regret riding that far? No. Do I regret not have the directions right? Yes. Was it better that sitting in the office? Definitely.