It didn’t matter that I had probably lost any early season fitness previously gained by spending too much free time building this bike in April. It didn’t matter that I had a hectic, six-cities-in-four-days, trip to the west coast last week, and arrived home last night a little knackered. It didn’t matter that today’s wind would quickly drain the energy from my legs. I’ve got a new bike, a publicly stated goal to do some longer rides, and it was time to shut up and pedal.
Today, five hours was long. The ride started directly south, and for almost two hours, the noise of the constant headwind was like the roar of a locomotive. No-stripe, rural county roads guided me over small rolling hills, into more urban surroundings, and finally into the Denton square. The annual jazz festival was in full swing. It would have been nice to stay, but I had many more miles in front of me. So I turned east and headed over to the southern limit of the Greenbelt trail to start the offroad portion of the outing. It’s butterfly season down on the Greenbelt Trail. Thousands of them would be lounging on the trail, until I’d get near. Then they’d take flight, let me by, and (I think) land to continue their lounging. It was as if I was being escorted, encased in a continuous wave of butterflies. The trail ends at the eastern limit of the Lake Ray Roberts Dam. I turned left to begin the westward portion of my circuit, and rode across the top of the dam. The late morning sun was beginning to turn up the heat, and the blue lake water was inviting, but my sights were on Sanger. Gusty cross winds, with no rhythm, forced frequent steering adjustments, and fatigue joined my journey. One more crossing of IH-35, one more patch of gravel, and one more short section of direct headwind, and the loop was completed.
Today, a five-hour ride was long, but I want to change what “long” means. Making that happen shouldn’t be too hard if I’ll just shut up and pedal.