I got up early and went for breakfast. A chicken, spinach, cheese omelette with mushroom sauce from La Madeline was exactly what I wanted, even if I didn’t know that it might be my last meal. I consumed it heartily with 2 glasses of tea and a delicious cup of hot coffee.
I went back to the house and got ready to take a long bike ride. I figured that this Sunday I would have “church” while spending one-on-one time with the Lord and by riding about 30 miles. I loaded up the iPod with soulful tunes from Nate Sallie and Selah and then packed my backpack with two 32 ounce bottles of water. I also loaded up my bike pump and an extra innertube because there is nothing worse than a flat when you are 15 miles from home – at least I thought that was the worst that could happen…
The ride started out delectably. The air was cool, the cloud cover perfect. I easily road 4 miles, then 5 and eventually made it all the way to McKinney from Plano. A good portion of the ride I road in the ditch to avoid being hit by cars and because I wanted the extra workout. I stopped for some much needed water and I was going to lock my bike up and go into Wal-Mart to use the bathroom when I realized that my keys were not in my bag. I dug furiously in all the pockets. No Keys. I looked again. No Keys. I retraced my steps and remembered leaving the keys on the side panel of my truck. Oh crap. I realized that here I was 15 miles from home needing to pee, rest, rehydrate and re-fuel but I could do none of those things because I left my keys on the bed of my truck. An open invitation to any theif or teenager that just wanted to go for a joy ride.
Ugh. I frantically put my backpack back on and got back on my bike. Unfortunately, Plano is up-hill mostly from McKinney and the wind was at my back on the way down, but now it was an uphill ride against the wind and I had to pee.
I slowly ground out mile after mile wishing and praying to God that my truck would still be there when I got back and that I wouldn’t die trying to get back. My legs burned and ached because not only had I been riding already for an hour and a half, I had been on a low-carb diet all week and so I was severely carb depleted. This was day 6 on a diet consisting mostly of broccoli, chicken, salad, and peanuts.
In the distance I see a port-a-potty. It might as well have been an oasis in the middle of the desert. As I neared it I wondered if it was a mirage. The door was unlocked and it was one of those newer port-a-potty’s that has a side urinal which is awesome for dudes that way you don’t have to deal with opening the lid and peeing on everyone else’s waste.
I peed a dark dark yellow stream which signaled dehydration. I knew that there was 7-11 just up the road and that if I could make it there I could rehydrate and get some peanuts and almonds.
On the way to McKinney I had stayed in the ditches most of the time, on the way back in such a hurry I rode on the one lane road nearly be hit by rude drivings who even though they had the room to scoot over they felt like 6 inches was plenty of room to pass me with.
My legs hurt, but I was pleased with how my heart was feeling. It seems to be tireless. I could push and push and I wasn’t really feeling too out of breath, just the legs burning to impede my progress.
Slight muscle spasms kept teasing my qauds. My calves would lock up momentarily if I pushed down on the pedals too hard, but eventually I made it to 7-11. I rehydrated quickly and at a bag of peanuts and a bag of almonds all in about 3 minutes.
I had about 4 miles to go. I started pedaling slowly, my two shirts soaked through with sweat, my palms slippery, my right chest muscle locking up. I desperately needed to get back to my truck and my keys. I imagined all sorts of things: If someone finds my keys will they break into my truck and my apartment? What if someone just breaks in my truck and vandalizes it? What if I can’t get into my apartment so that I can get changed for this birthday party that I need to go tonight at 5:30?
Stress was a burden that I carried along with the already heavy pack on my back. I pushed on and eventually made it to the my apartment. As soon as I saw my truck I said a prayer of thanksgiving. Then I rode over and found my keys sitting just as I had left then untouched. It was a miracle. The truck was still there and I was still alive.
When I finally made it into the house I drank tons of water and took some electrolyte pills. I realized that leaving my keys was probably one of the best things to happen to me. It gave me the motivation to ride hard and long and to not give up and take my time which is probably what would have happened if I hadn’t had something to work for.