Out and Back: bicycle diaries 2012, day 289
Overjoyed that the McDowell Grove trail has been reopened to cyclers, walkers and runners, allowing me a direct route to connect with the prairie path. No need to mount flashing lights to ride on the streets. The preserve lands are still fenced off — reseeded and planted with saplings — and the auto entrance closed.
At the north end I travel through the golden forest, the sunlight filtering through a stand of yellow maples, the ground carpeted in bright yellow leaves.
I take the Batavia spur, first paralleling I-88 — the doppler of engines and whining tires distracting. Four more miles and the trail opens out onto cornfields and wetlands. Then through a series of rectilinear tree tunnels. It is at about the 10 mile mark that I enter a meditative state; the rhythm of the pedaling becomes hypnotic. The landscape rolls along around me. The blur of a thousand starlings turning and wheeling over the fields.
Usually when I’m riding an out and back route, I find a natural turn around point — a crossroad, a bridge, or trail head. Today I’m urging myself to go a little farther, farther yet. The air is cool and clear; the trail entices me. I know the way back will be mostly down grade and down wind, so I tell myself I can coast back home. Finally I find the place: Fox River flowing serenely, sun glinting on ripples.
I’m in Batavia, faced with a 17 mile return trip and now feeling my chronological age.