Friday, February 23, 2018
When I was a little girl, my dad told me a story about how he got to know Wichita when he first moved there. He had grown up near Ohio, but moved to Wichita when he entered the Air Force. During his first week or two there, he drove around in his Le Mans and got himself really lost. Then he found his way home again. And that's how he got to know his way around Wichita.
On Tuesday, I got lost.
I planned a long ride using a combination of Strava heatmaps, local knowledge, and the few rides I've done with Alto Velo Racing Club. I loaded it to my phone, and hoped that would be enough.
First off, I don't know enough about the area to know high-traffic roads. Sometimes Strava heatmaps show a road that's popular for riding, but all of the rides are recorded on Saturdays and Sundays when the traffic's light, or it's all from weekday commuters who ride on the sidewalks. So I ended up on a long, steady uphill that was pretty high-traffic, and included lots of semi-trucks. That was mistake number one.
Mistake number two was missing my turn and going about 5 miles beyond it, mostly uphill. I figured it out and turned around straight into a headwind. Ergh. I checked my phone at the turn to make sure I knew the next few turns, then did a loooooong descent down a narrow road. I made my next turn, but had to stop and check my phone there.
Which brings me to mistake number three: not bringing a phone charger. My phone got too cold and froze. Have you ever had your iPhone literally freeze? The battery drains to nothing in a second and you can't turn it back on until you plug it in. So now I was about 15 miles from home with no idea where I was or how to get back.
So I tried to use the bread crumbs feature of my Garmin to guide me back. It didn't work. And the satellite dropped out. I was completely without technology, and had to use my wits to get me back home!
I'd just come down from the mountains, and I know those are west of where I live. And I'd seen the south bay from the top of the mountain, so I started heading north and east. I saw a sign for a familiar road, but couldn't remember if I should turn left or right. I guessed left, and followed the road hoping that I wasn't going to end up in San Jose.
After a few miles, I saw a familiar jersey up ahead--a Sunpower racer was within view! I went a little harder to catch up to him, and asked if he could point me in the right direction. He showed me where to turn, and I was back in a familiar area! I was able to get myself home from there.
Tl;dr: I got lost, and now I know my way around my new home a little bit better! But getting lost is worth it when it comes with these views: