The only problem with a tour is that it comes to an end.

You spend your days riding, soaking up new sights, eating your own weight in whatever strikes your fancy at the moment, meeting new people, and laughing. And you get used to it. You accept this level of happiness as your new normal pretty quick. It feels right, like you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. And then you come to the end of the trail, and you think, maybe I should just keep going.

You haven’t had enough sunshine. You’re not tired of the smell of the rich loam of the forest, or the dust from the crushed stone. You’re not tired of being grateful for cloud cover that doesn’t rain on you.  You’re not tired of talking to people you meet when you stop for water, or food, or just to catch your breath after climbing a hill.  You really are perfectly content being out on the road and just spinning petals. And frankly, you’d just as soon not do anything else.

Western Maryland Rail Trail- this felt like cheating- smooth and fast

Western Maryland Rail Trail- this felt like cheating- smooth and fast

But every trail has an end. It’s part of their nature. And getting to the end is part of the experience. If it’s been a good ride, it will leave you feeling wistful. Now that we’ve gotten back to Denver, I’m looking for more trails. I’m just not as happy riding the bike paths I’ve ridden before. Well, the flooding that has made many of them impassible hasn’t helped. I find myself hitting Google and looking at the options. Where can we ride that’s near here? Where can we hit that’s a weekend ride? I’ve still got unburned vacation, what else can we do?

There are a lot of miles of trail I haven’t ridden yet. There are many more winding back roads I haven’t ridden either. I’m sure at least one more trail will get checked off this year. Maybe two.

Each trail teaches you something. This works better than that. Next time, leave this home. More hill training, less weight. More saddle time to get acclimated. This brand of bike shorts, not that one. More water, less food, or vice versa. Being on the trail always teaches you a good lesson. And you always want to run out and apply your shiny new knowledge right away.

So I’m thinking I want to see how pretty the rails-to-trails project in my home state is. Plus there’s one in South Dakota. And Nebraska. I think there’s one in New Mexico. I’ll have to look in to that.

It’s true that it’s a bummer when tours end. But that just prepares you for the next one.