I had left home a little bit late and had arrived at the meeting place late, but I wasn't that late. Still, when I got there, everyone was already gone.
While I had never been to today's final destination, I was familiar with the area and the roads I thought we would be taking. So I took off in pursuit.
I wasn't entirely sure, however, of the exact route and so I had some doubts about the road I was on. I was debating with myself about whether or not to call one of the guys to ask him what road they were on. I had just decided that I should call him when I spotted two cyclists — two cyclists I thought I recognised and one of which looked like the guy I was thinking of calling — pull out of somewhere ahead of me and turn on to the road I was on at the time.
Catching up to them was not difficult. There were indeed who I thought they were, two fellow cyclists from the group I usually ride with. They were coincidentally also the only two non-Taiwanese people — like me — in a cycling group of Taiwanese people.
But why were they there? Were was everyone else? Well, it turned out I was on the wrong road after all. The other guys were on the next road over, so to speak. These two were here because one of them had forgotten his helmet and stopped by his home to pick it up.
By turning here and turning there, by going down this road and down that road, we eventually make it to the road that everyone else was on.
After that it was just riding to catch up to the rest of the guys as we assumed that they were ahead of us. After a few minutes we saw some cyclists in the distance and they looked like our group. Except after a while they seemed to not be getting any closer but actually farther away, so, uh, maybe they weren't the people we were looking for?
So I decided to take off in pursuit, leaving my two companions behind, to see if the people in front of us were with us or not. It took some time and some effort, but after a few minutes I caught up to them. When I did, they informed me that the other two guys were ahead of us. I told them that they weren't, they were behind us. Their response was that they could then slow down. Apparently they had been riding faster than usual thinking they had to catch up to the other two.
The next little bit was just riding along, enjoying being on the bike. We then reached our destination. Well, kind of. The guy at the front, the guy we were following, the guy who was supposed to know where we were going, missed the turn. By the time we discovered that we had miss the turn, going back would have added too much distance to the ride so we just turned for home. By this time I had already ridden about fifty kilometres and the return trip would be another fifty kilometres or so. Adding ten more kilometres to that might be been fun, but probably would not have been a good idea.
On our way back we stopped at the "biggest 7-Eleven in the country". This was my first time there despite the fact that I had seen countless posts on social media from other cyclists who had been there. I was not impressed. I've seen bigger. The store itself was quite small, apparently it only becomes the biggest in Taiwan when the surrounding property is included. I didn't take the time to explore that, though. The sun was very hot — upwards of thirty-five degrees Celsius — and I was wearing road cycling shoes.
While we were in the store resting and refuelling — a little R&R, I guess — I noticed that one of the guys was drinking a beer. At ten-thirty in the morning. When I mentioned it to him, he said that drinking beer was a good way to prevent heat stroke.
I like his thinking. Remind me to prevent heat stroke as much as possible.
After that all we had to do was go home. One hundred and eight kilometres, four hours and fifteen minutes. Not bad at all.
And if one guy hadn't have forgotten his helmet or I had been a couple minutes slower or faster, I wouldn't have gone with them and probably wold not have gone so far.
It was a really nice ride. Even if it was a one-hundred kilometre ride that essentially went nowhere.