Next week at this time, I will either (a) be boring everyone I know with happy stories of bicycling glory or (b) laid up on the couch unhappily recovering from a trip gone awry.
While I’m hoping for the first option, I’m afraid the second is more likely.
That’s because I’ve done next to nothing to prepare for a trip I’ve been talking about for years.
Ever since we moved to the Eastern Panhandle, I’ve had my eye on the C&O Canal towpath. Just ask my wife.
Each spring, she tolerates all of my talk of bicycling the 184 miles from Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD. She takes it in stride but I usually know when she’s had enough when she raises her eyebrows and glances at my waistline.
She’s not checking out my six-pack. She’s telling me I’ve got work to do if I don’t want to hurt myself.
That’s when I stop annoying her and start bugging my cronies, instead. (let’s face it — when hair starts sprouting from your ears, you don’t have friends, anymore — you have cronies).
Most of them humor me for a while, too. But some of them actually take me seriously, even though plans for what we’ve come to call “The Fat Guy Bike Ride” more often than not remain just that — plans.
This year is different, though. Much to my surprise, the plan is actually coming together. And, at least three of my cronies are coming along for the ride. They’re probably out on their bikes preparing for the trip right now.
I’m writing this column and using my deadline as an excuse to put off getting my butt in the saddle for yet another day.
I’d blame my lack of motivation on the weather, but I can’t. Next week’s trip has been in the offing since January and it’s not like the streets were ever clogged with snow. On the contrary, the clear skies and fairly warm temperatures we’ve had for weeks should be encouraging me to get rolling.
But they haven’t.
I’m still sitting here in the comfort of my favorite chair tapping out words on my laptop’s keyboard and trying not to think about what lies ahead.
I’m probably worrying too much, anyway. It’s not like our plans haven’t been scaled back.
Instead of doing all 184 miles, we’re just riding from D.C. to Shepherdstown — a distance of only about 75 miles — not even half the full length of the towpath. Plus, we plan to do it in two days. As long as the cool weather holds, it should be a cinch for an out-of-shape, middle-aged dad like me.
Then again, the only other time I rode more than 40 miles in a day, I was reduced to a quivering lump of jello.
I still have time to back out but that would be bad form. This whole thing was my idea, after all. To squirm out now would only invite ridicule.
So, I guess I better go saddle up.
First, though, I need to trim my ears. Getting rid of unnecessary weight is a key concern for us long-distance cyclists.