Ever since my triumphant 16-mile bike ride last weekend, DadJovi has been itching to get back on the West Orange Trail, too. Since we had such a packed holiday weekend, we decided to take advantage of a day off of work and hit the trail this morning.
We should have reconsidered.
First of all, none of us was feeling great this morning. E. woke up way earlier (and crankier) than usual and I feel her cold slowly taking over my body. DadJovi had his monthly poker game last night and didn’t get home until about 1, then fell asleep on the living room couch and slept all night out there.
Needless to say, we weren’t on our A game. But we pushed on and DadJovi took care of the task we hate more than anything — loading our two bikes onto our bike rack. It’s honestly the hardest thing ever to do, particularly since my bike doesn’t have a crossbar (more on that later).
We finally got on the road much later than we should have, taking off for Winter Garden around 8:30. I asked DadJovi if he wanted anything to eat and he said no. Again, more on that later. I grabbed two pieces of peanut butter toast.
Instead of starting at our usual spot — the Winter Garden station — we decided to start at the County Line/Killarney station because we were both determined to get to the end of this trail:
As you may recall, I made it three miles into the Trail That Hates Distances before turning around last weekend. Seriously, why is it so hard for them to tell me on that sign how far it is from Point A to Point B? You’d think I would have thought to look that info up before today, but of course I didn’t.
So, we set off for our own Promised Land — the place (spoiler alert!) we keep trying and fail to reach.
Once again, the hills were ass-kicking hard. And the heat wasn’t helping. And for DadJovi, the extra 35 pounds — E in her bike seat — added an extra challenge. Within a mile and a half, we were struggling. By mile 2.7, DadJovi was pushing his bike up a monster hill. By mile 3, he was on the ground, unable to go on.
He was zapped and in bad shape.
We switched the bike seat onto my bike and decided to head back. DANG. E. is heavy as hell. And she’s a tyrant. “Go faster Mommy!” “Do you need me to push you, Mommy?” “I’m thirsty.” “I’m tired of riding.” “Are we there yet?” And that was all within the first two minutes.
In between the barrage of her demands, she suddenly says, “Where’s Daddy?”
“Behind us,” I told her, as I struggled to pedal up a hill and talk at the same time.
“No he’s not.”
“Yes he is.”
“NO HE’S NOT. LOOK!”
I look over my shoulder and discover, hot damn, she’s right. So I stop, get us off the busy trail and start looking down the giant hill we just came up. There, finally in the shadows, I see him laying on the ground. And then my phone started ringing.
“I can’t go on. You’re going to have to go get the car and come back for me. I can’t get back on the bike. I’m dying here.”
I thought he should definitely have our bottle of water. I was debating going back down the giant hill when I spotted a walking/running couple who was going to pass by him anyway. They graciously agreed to deliver the water bottle.
So E and I get back on the trail and start heading for our car — 3 long, hilly, hot miles away. About 1/4 mile later it suddenly hits me — he has the car keys. Son of a bitch. I couldn’t think of a way around that one, so I turned around and headed back down the giant hill to get the keys.
After getting the keys, we were back on our way again. It was not fun.
We finally made it back to the car when I was hit with the next reality — how the hell am I going to get the bike on the bike rack? I struggled to get it up (that’s what he said!) when a very nice man came over to help. I told him what was going on, and he started lifting it up. Then he told me that a) I need a crossbar and b) they should have sold one to me when I bought both the bike and the bike rack at the same place. Bastards. As we were trying to get it on the car, without much luck, E. suddenly starts screaming the words all parents dread in public — “I HAVE TO POOP NOW! RIGHT NOW, MOMMY. I CAN’T WAIT!”
Ugh. I told him to forget about the bike. I just throw all my shit down by the car. By that point, I didn’t care if anyone took my stuff other than the keys. I scooped up E. and RAN to the bathroom (thank God there was one). And, surprise, surprise, after 5 minutes of sitting on the pot, she suddenly realized that no, she does not need to poop. Fun.
I chained my bike to the a bike rack, threw a screaming E. in the car (she was mad I wouldn’t let her play on the playground. As you can tell, she was very concerned about her heat stroking father) and drove back to pick him up.
We got his bike loaded on the car, went back for mine and he miraculously got it on the car (it’s one thing that makes him truly irreplaceable in this marriage).
We came to a couple of conclusions:
1) He’ll NEVER skip breakfast again. After a Gatorade, banana and half of E’s slurpee (I had to make her forget about the playground somehow), he started feeling much better. It’s amazing what food does, huh?
2) E’s days on the back of our bikes are numbered. I think this may be our last attempt at a long ride with her riding with us. Besides, if she thinks we can go faster up the hills, I’d like to see her try.
3) Cyclists are really nice people. From the guy who helped me to every rider who paused to ask DadJovi if he needed help while he waited for me, everyone was so kind to us.
and 4) We’re never going to see that elusive Waterfront Park.
So tell me you’ve had a worse run, bike ride, swim, game or hike before …. please!