photo credit: Lisa Ruskanen

photo credit: Lisa Ruskanen

Saturday morning found me somewhat discombobulated (read: hungover) for no reason other than I failed to drink any water Friday night between beers. And I only had, like, a few beers. And I was definitely in bed by midnight.

Yet when I woke up Saturday morning, it was to a headache that only grew worse as the morning progressed. Of course, this may have been at least partly due to the fact that instead of chugging water when I woke up, I chugged coffee.

But I persevered, because I had stretching before me an abnormally warm 70 degree day (in February!?) and a 30 mile bike ride with some friends on the Prairie Spirit Trail in Ottawa, KS. The Prairie Spirit Trail is a 52 mile rail-trail built on an old railroad line, making it a flat and fun trail to bike on, devoid of cars and killer hills. We did a 15 mile out and bike, starting at the northernmost trailhead in Ottawa and heading south towards Iola, where the trail ends. Fun fact, this past weekend’s ride was the most miles I’ve ever spent on a bike. Before this, the most I’d ever ridden was about 20 or so miles.

The morning was a struggle, to say the least. After popping a few Advil and finally catching up on my water consumption, I managed to end up at the wrong trailhead, forget the $3.50 needed for the permit, and put the whole group behind by just over half an hour. I hate, absolutely hate, being that person. You know what I mean - the yahoo that holds everyone up because they just do not have their shiz together. So I began the ride embarrassed and slightly grumpy that I was totally being that person.

That all fell away as the pedals began to turn and I felt the sun and warm breeze on my skin. I always forget how much fun it can be to get out with friends on a sunny day and just ride around on bikes. We passed cows (of course, it’s Kansas) and a good Samaritan brought us cold water from her kitchen on one of our stops (who my friend Lisa ended up knowing, totally randomly, because of course, it’s Kansas).

And let me say this: I do not have a fancy bike. I have a fairly comfortable, functional, six year old hybrid that’s mostly been used for commuting. I have a very chunky helmet that I got as a part of a giveaway at an event I went to a few years ago. I have a kickstand. I have, in other words, a number of things that "serious" cyclists don’t have and I lack more than a few of the things they usually do. Absolutely none of that matters, ultimately, because what’s important is that you get out there on a sunny day with friends and play, whenever the opportunity arises. Treat yourself to adult recess. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll find yourself going a little farther or a little longer than you did before. Or not. It doesn’t really matter, because it’s recess, for crying out loud. It’s just playtime - an activity we could all use a little more of in our lives.