Sunday, May 20, 2007

Trail Mixing

Ok, so let me explain (as if you had a choice). When I was in high school, I rode my bike everywhere. I took it to school, to work, to friends' houses, to run errands...if it was in town, chances are I rode there. I didn't have my driver's permit until I was 17, because I just didn't need it. It was only a few weeks from graduation when I finally got my license, partially because my bike worked just fine, but also because I didn't want to pay insurance when all it did was provide me with a way to get around, which I already had.

I wouldn't have called myself a professional biker by any means. Just one who happened to bike a lot. As it was, I grew quite adept at cycling, and didn't think twice when it came to biking a couple dozen miles just for the heck of it, or to a nearby town to visit friends. My bike wasn't even that good (I believe it was a semi-rusty hand-me-down 10-speed I got from my brother), but I made good use of it.

Fast-forward to yesterday, when my wife and I decided to risk the rain and traverse the trails of southeastern Minnesota. On a recommendation from a friend, we chose the Douglas Trail, a section of railway that had been converted for recreational use. We began in Rochester and went northwest to Pine Island, took a short break, and then back to Rochester once more. And let me tell you, my legs were hurting. I'm not kidding, I could barely stand when it was all over. The bike ride was good, don't get me wrong: great scenery, beautiful weather, friendly people on the know how it goes. But good gravy, was I ever out of shape for it. Fanciful visions of my youthful bicycling ways vanished after about two miles, when it became apparent that my body was just not cut out for this sort of thing in its current state. My wife finished the 25-mile ride just fine, but I tell you, by the end there I was about ready to pass out.

Afterwards we rewarded ourselves in the most delicious way possible with a trip to the only Valentino's in Minnesota. In fact, I think I'd do it all over again just to have a couple more slices of their hamburger pizza. Bring it, Douglas Trail!

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