By Diane Kukich
It’s an unexpected spring day in February—76 degrees and sunny. Although my road bike is on a trainer in the basement and the bike rack is in the shed, I can’t pass up the opportunity for a ride on the Michael N. Castle Trail along the C&D Canal.
After lunch, I throw my hybrid bike into the back of my Honda CRV and head to Delaware City.
Most of my rides on this beautiful traffic-free paved path have been on summer mornings when there is minimal wind. Today is a typical windy spring afternoon, but I’m happy to note that all of the colorful flags on one of the restaurants along Clinton Street are blowing hard toward the east.
This means that I’ll be riding directly into a west wind on my way out, but the payoff will come when I turn around to come back.
Helmet on, Garmin set to cycling mode, I head out.
This wind is no joke. I’m working hard and the little Cat-Eye computer on my handlebar shows that I’m going only 10-12 MPH. But I focus on the unspoiled beauty of the wetlands, with the marsh grasses waving in the breeze and the water a beautiful dark blue.
I look across the canal and see houses that weren’t visible when I rode last summer. Traffic over the bridges is much lighter than I’m used to—it’s early afternoon now, and I’m used to being here during morning rush hour.
After 45 minutes of hard work, I reach the end of the flat part of the trail eight miles out, stop my Garmin, and take a brief water break.
Now, it’s time for the fun part.
With the wind at my back, I feel like I’ve grown wings. I’m pedaling hard, and now the speedometer is showing 18, 19, 20, 21 MPH.
I make it back to the starting point in just under 25 minutes.
Tomorrow, it will be cold again, and my next ride will be back in the basement on the trainer, laptop in front of me with an inspirational running or cycling movie playing on Netflix.
But today, I’ve experienced not only the gift of movement but also the joy of movement.
Diane is a retired science writer. She holds a senior fitness training certificate from the University of Delaware and a Level 2 Running Coach certification from Road Runners Club of America. She started running in her late 40s and has won hundreds of first and second place age-group awards in local, regional, and national races at distances from the mile to the half marathon. She swims, runs, or bikes every day and strength trains twice a week. Diane lives in Newark, Delaware, with her husband, Doug, her yellow Lab Jodie, and her orange tabby Pax.