I don’t do a lot of research before I set my birthday goals. They’re kind of a gut decision – things I want to do, ideas I’ve had. That kind of thing.
So when I added “Take a bike ride out to Mount Vernon,” I wasn’t thinking of how far it was, I was thinking, A bike ride! That sounds lovely!
Turns out, it was beautiful, but I don’t know if I’d call it lovely.
You see, Mount Vernon is about 20 miles (a little more, as we found out) away from the apartment.
The longest ride I’d ever done was also about 20 miles – and that included a wipeout.
I did not think about these things in conjunction until we were already on our way to Mount Vernon.
Husband had done the Mount-Vernon-and-back trip before. He told me it would be about 40 miles total, but I must have just let that wash over me, not registering that 40 miles is SO FAR.
I was also anticipating that this would be more of a leisurely ride, where we would stop and rest and relax for a bit along the way. You know, no hurry to get to the end.
Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.
But, for the first 10 miles or so, I was peachy. We rode down Rock Creek and picked up the Mount Vernon Trail. We passed the airport, which was as far as I’d been on that trail before, and ventured into new territory. And it really was beautiful.
We had a perfect day for riding and only minimal crowds on the trails, so we weren’t dodging people left and right.
Just after we passed under the Woodrow Wilson bridge, however, I started to feel it. We’d been riding for more than an hour, and my butt was beyond sore. If we’re being honest here, that whole general region was sore because my bike seat, while comfortable enough for a daily commute, was not built for use for hours at a time.
That, and I still haven’t bought padded bike shorts. And that’s on me.
Regardless, the next ten miles to Mount Vernon were filled with me alternatively shifting in my seat, cursing myself for this idea, and wondering how such a beautiful ride could be so painful.
But we made it.
I was stalling, trying to prolong getting back on the bike for the ride home, so we wandered around the visitor center for a bit, trying not to collide with the tour groups.
Eventually, we had to go. It was getting cooler and windier and, by that point, we both wanted to be home.
I’d be lying if I said the ride back was easy. It was still painful and made me appreciate the cushy-ness of our couch more than I ever have before.
But I did it. And now I know what 40 miles feels like.
And I know that if I ever want to do it again (which seems unlikely right now), padded shorts are a necessary investment.
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