A couple of months before getting married Alex and I took a trip to Damascus Virginia where there is a legendary and very beautiful bike trail. I had biked this trail almost a decade before with a Leadership, Education, and Diversity (LEAD) camp group. I had a wonderful time and the 7 total miles were a breeze for anyone who was moderately fit. I also remember finishing up right at a great one-man-run restaurant. It was a cozy little cottage looking place and the food was unbelievable. A great finish for a tiresome and hungry bunch. Did I mention it rained hard during the last mile just to cool us all off? PERFECT!
So naturally, with the man I loved, I wanted to recreate the experience. (When do we ever really succeed at “recreating” something?) Problem was I didn’t know how many trails there might be in this area, nor how long the trail was. I simply assumed we should begin where a map stated the trail began. (What a pity I worked for 5 years reading maps all day and STILL couldn’t read a map)
So off we went one sunny morning. I wore a long strapped bag with my meter, insulin, syringes, lots of sugar, glucose gel, and some cash in it. My husband had a backpack full of snacks and water bottles.
A couple miles into our ride I start thinking, “this doesn’t look familiar…”. I figure since it had been so many years I simply didn’t remember how the trail looked. “Trees must have sprung up in all sorts of different places”, I thought to myself.
Around lunch time we veered off to find a place to eat and searched for about 2 hours until we found a little restaurant serving country food. It was the kind of dirty little place where you find flies hanging out near your food and where you can eat a full plate for just 2 bucks. Some people find this charming…but I could barely eat. I had some vegetables since the meat looked questionable and a regular soft drink because even though I lowered my lantus from 20 units to 16 units, I was still going low every hour. Who knew biking was so intense?
Anyway we continued down the trail a couple more hours hoping to get to the bridge I remembered from before as well as the quaint restaurant with the good food. We never saw it.
At this point we were hot, tired, extremely sore from riding on regular bikes v.s. trail bikes and I was running low on sugar.
We found a place we could buy candy at and we used all of our cash to do this (They didn’t take credit cards “We don’t use those machine things”, the man said). Then we decided to turn around because clearly, I had let us the wrong way and definitely down the trail more than a couple of miles.
My husband was more fit than me so he was doing ok. I on the other hand, was suffering from leg cramps and a stomach ache from all of the candy I was having to combat low blood sugar. I couldn’t help but be jealous of how happy and carefree he was. He even wasted precious energy climbing rocks for goodness sake:
The last few miles ended up being like some kind of marriage preparation test. We argued, I panicked over my dwindling diabetic supplies, our phones had no reception, it was getting dark, and we had run out of water.
I was getting delirious. At one point I even chased off an innocent bystander. Don’t believe me?
I finally reached breaking point, which only now can I laugh at. I threw my bike and helmet down and fell onto the grass as my husband pleaded with me to get up so we could go home. “I can’t go on!” I wailed dramatically as I rolled on the ground, “I’m not going to make it, just leave me!” Alex probably felt some anxiety and doubt about the girl he was about to marry. He knew my blood sugar would possibly continue to drop and he wanted us to hurry and get back. He gave me a few minutes to rest and strongly suggested I just walk my bike as he rode slowly beside me. My legs wobbled and felt like Jello but, I did feel better walking rather than pedaling.
We eventually made it back to our starting point and took a break on Alex’s truck bed.
We later discovered we had biked 26 miles instead of 7. That explained so much! Perhaps not the cow…but everything else.
Anyway, next time I venture out where stores don’t take VISA and cell phones don’t work, I’ll stock up with more supplies. The diabetes demands it. And apparently my frequent follies do, too.
Just thought I’d share this story in case any diabetic out there wants to do something similar now that its so nice out. I’m sure you’ll have more fun than I did :)