It was 70 degrees Monday night. A chilly 70 degrees, but 70 degrees nonetheless.

After arriving home from spending the day at the Nine13sports office, I had a decision to make. Spin class or real bike ride? I chose real bike ride. So I tossed on the bike shorts and jersey, pumped up my bike tires, filled up my water bottle, put my shoes on, grabbed my helmet and gloves, and out the door I went with my bike. Riding down my street, I was trying to decide which route I was going to take. I chose the 19 mile loop my husband and I created/discovered a couple years ago. I’ve ridden it a lot, it’s our go-to weekend bike ride.

Ashley Blog 3

Ashley is an avid cyclist and participates in numerous cycling events throughout the Central Indiana area each year, including the Tour de Upland and Tour de Cure, among others.

Off I go, I leave my neighborhood, 1 mile east, and it turns to country roads. It’s amazing. Low traffic, and everything is a grid. The only downside is the wind. It whips across the cornfields, especially on days early in the season before the fields are planted. I haven’t ridden this route in about 9 months. Busy fall turns into winter. Going by memory, the route looks different when there aren’t leaves on trees and flowers aren’t in bloom. About 10 miles in, I had my head down fighting a nasty headwind from the south (which is rare) and I missed the right turn that turns me around to head home.

I realize it about a half mile later. “I’ll catch the next right turn,” I tell myself. Only there isn’t another right turn. I cross over the I-74 overpass. Now I debate. Turn around, or wing it.

I chose wing it. I stopped on the south side of the I-74 overpass, pull out my phone and come up with a general route to get me home. It was starting to get chilly, and I was now racing the sun. These roads I found all because of a missed turn made it worth the extra miles I was about to put in. I rode through two small communities that I had no idea existed. I saw some deer. A raccoon scurried out of a drain pipe. Geese were in the fields. I saw many horses grazing in pastures. But the most noticeable thing was a sound, not a sight. One road I ended up on for a few miles meandered along a creek. If I wasn’t racing the sun, I would have gone much slower and taken it all in. But what I did hear was the sound of tree frogs. Hundreds of them, all chirping to each other. A Sound loud it overpowered the rush of wind past my ears. It was awesome.

Ashley Blog 2

Getting thousands of kids on bikes each year throughout Central Indiana is something Ashley takes great pride in.

My 19 mile bike ride turned into a 31 mile bike ride. I’m tired, hungry, probably going to be sore tomorrow, but I’m super glad I took that “If not now, when” moment and rode with it. So glad, that this accidental route has added itself to the weekend rotation. As I pulled in my driveway, the street light turned on. According to my childhood, that meant I was home by dark.

This is why I love riding my bike. I saw parts of Indiana I would have never seen had I been in a car. I heard the tree frogs, and the horses burning off pent up energy galloping and bucking across the field. All the sudden the headwind I rode straight into for 5 miles (long, long miles) was worth it. And not just because I had a sweet, sweet tailwind as I made the turn for home.