This evening my lovely wife and I went on a long (for me) ride of 21.3 miles. The weather was perfect—sunny, around 85 degrees when we left around 5:15pm, with a light breeze from the north. We chose a nice route north of town that wanders past a private fishing lake, and on out through corn and bean fields. The route turned toward the west, and the pavement gave way to gravel road at around the seven- or eight-mile mark, but there were reasonably hard-packed and smooth lanes for us to ride in, so we decided to keep going.
As the road wound to the west, it followed railroad tracks that followed the river a little farther to the north. There was a bit of up and down riding, but it went through shady woods, mostly, and made for a very pleasant ride. After the woods we ran into a fairly steep hill, and the gravel road became more rough, so we decided to walk the bikes up the hill, hoping that the next little town was just on the other side. When we crested the hill, we saw that there was another, even steeper hill, so even though we may have been less than a mile from the town, we decided to turn back, after riding a little over 10 miles.
It was so much cooler than our previous ride earlier in the week, and I paid more attention to the amount of water I was drinking. We also took a little food with us, and that helped me keep my energy level up. This was the longest ride I’ve done since I got my bike, and it was truly a pleasure.
Given the fact that a few months ago a couple of flights of stairs would have worn me out completely, I find it remarkable that for more than two hours my legs were pumping almost non-stop, and it didn’t kill me.