The plan was to get in a fitness ride on the Raccoon River Valley Trail trail between home and Dallas Center. I would ride at a fast (for me) pace and plug in some intervals along the way.
Heading towards Dallas Center I was feeling strong and quick. The bike computer showed I was traveling at a speed I don’t typically reach. Wow! Strength training and spin class seemed to be paying off.
Distracted by the bright blue sky and the view of empty farm fields, I stopped at trailside memorial for John Cisar, Jr. I took a picture and returned to my bike. After finding my original cadence I pedaled on to Dallas Center. At the trailhead I paused for a drink and turned towards home happy with how my bike ride was going.
Darn it! My speed was noticeably slower on the ride back. Feelings of athleticism and accomplishment vanished realizing the strength felt earlier was not entirely mine but a helpful push from the breeze at my back. To help pick up the pace I completed a few intervals with rarely used bigger gears. With the blood pumping and the heart rate up I hit the brakes and slowed to a crawl, distracted again.
A flat? A broken chain? Nope. Nothing mechanical caused me to abandon my workout, it was a rooster pheasant. Seeing these birds is always a treat for me. I watched him make his way through the grasses in the ditch. Scolding myself for having stopped again I quickly headed down the trail only to slow...and then stop...once more. This time it was to admire a pair of bald eagles effortlessly float along on the thermal updrafts.
Nature was reminding of the true reason I ride my bike. Fitness isn’t the objective, it’s merely a side effect.
Abandoning my ride plans I made my way back home pleased with my bird sightings. Despite the ride evolving into something different than planned it turned out better than anticipated. Distractions and all.