When I pulled into the trail head parking lot I breathed a sigh of relief when I didn't see Ol' Blue. He had posted on Facebook that he was riding with the sunrise at Yankee. I thought I had timed it just right to get there after he left, ride, and still have enough time to make it to work, but as I swung around the corner to the parking lot I could see he was actually there...packing things up into his cousin's car. My heart started pounding in my ears as I put the car in park and shut it off. I fumbled with my phone for a minute killing time as they finished packing up. At that instant my bladder threatened to pop like a water balloon being chucked onto sharp grass by an angry 12 year old. I had no choice but to get out of the car. As I bee-lined to the outhouse I told myself this was something I was going to have to get used to. We live in the same town. We ride the same trails. His cousin mentioned something about the weather. I blurted something in response which I can't recall now, thanking God that he didn't say anything to me. I ducked into the outhouse that was already ripe for mid March. I took care of business and waited for the sound of the car engine to turn over... and waited, and waited until I couldn't stand it anymore. I was sure I was going to burn my throat if I stayed in there much longer. I threw the door open and trotted toward the car and then I heard him say it. He had to say it. He just couldn't help himself. "Enjoy the trail. It is AMAZING!" I wanted to fire back something super witty like, "Don't tell me what to do!" or something along the lines of " I stood a chance of enjoying my ride until just now." but I said nothing. I couldn't. The lump in my throat felt bigger than a grape fruit and the tears in my eyes threatened to blind me to the point of not making it back to my car. I considered not even taking my bike off the rack, going home and taking a nap before work. I felt old and slow and sad and I just didn't want to ride anymore like so many times over the last few years, but I thought of the wasted gas and the wasted opportunity and reluctantly took the "Q" off the rack. As all this was happening I never double checked to see if I shut my lights off. I locked my car with the keys in it, and threw my remote in my jersey pocket, and clipped in to pedal away my sorrows.
Maybe if I was still able to do a 55 minute lap I would have made it back before my battery was totally drained. I was only able to manifest 1:09. Not fast enough although it was 6 minutes faster than my time out there on Sunday. I noted the progress and decided that in spite of feeling shitty on the bike, and just shitty in general I am getting a little bit of fitness back. This made the day not suck quite so hard, as I was tempted to do a mental death spiral on how much this trail head distraction was going to cost me. I sent out an SOS and my heart was warmed by the response. Two of my friends called right away, and offered to come get me. A friend in the area called and left me a voice mail giving me his address, offering to let me hang out until something transpired to get my car unlocked. My awesome mechanic Bill, owner of Middleville Auto came out, but was unable to get in my car. He called a towing service he uses frequently, but there was a two to three hour wait. Bill offered to let me use his car for the day, but I felt like I should just sit tight because I would need to be there should the ever impending tow truck need to be called into action.
Just as Bill was leaving the lady from the towing company took pity on this damsel in distress alone in the woods and called me back with info on a company in Hastings that could get to me sooner and cheaper than the company posted on the rangers shed. I scratched the number in the dirt, and waited. I was already late for work, steadily losing the money it would take to pay for the tow truck. As I picked up my phone to dial a truck pulled in the parking lot. The guy that got out didn't look like a criminal, but I was desperate. "You wouldn't by chance know how to break into my car would you?" "I think I might be able to do just that!" he replied. He reached into the back of his truck and pulled out "breaking into car tools". This guys had skills. When he couldn't actually get the unlock button to work he went after the post sticking up at the top of the door. This thin bar he was using had nothing on it that would grab hold a pull up the lock post, but low and behold he did it. Clearly there are mountain bikers that have many tools and talents for things other than biking. Who knew?
I politely verbalized his amazing skills and while he jumped my battery we chit-chatted about the upcoming TT at Yankee, as well as recovering from various injuries. He said something very interesting that I didn't take into account when I started riding again, because I felt like I was at ground zero. He said that I will regain what I had lost much quicker than if I was a newbie just starting out. Judging by my progress (minimal, but still progress none the less) I could see that this spandex wearing potential car thief was right. There is no way I could have rode Yankee in 3 hours when I was learning to ride, and 1:09 wasn't even a thought in my head back then. I drove away feeling optimistic about my future riding abilities, and prayed that his theory also applies to starting life over again by myself. Locking myself out of my car at the trail head could get pretty costly this summer otherwise.
I think I will go get another key made. :/