We then had to plod uphill for about 1/2 mile, over big rocks and super steep sections, difficult even to walk the bikes, to get to the next rideable section. This section rocked! We were stoked! Until we got dumped out onto a gravel road, indicating a rather disastrous wrong turn. We had missed the correct trail and were now 500′ below where we needed to be, with only 90 minutes of daylight left. Gearguy was OK with it, but I’ll just say I was straight PISSED. We were so far out of position that we had to bail, lest we get caught in the woods after dark with no lights. I also really wanted to ride the loop we had planned, and I knew that I’d have to go through all that uphill hike-a-bike AGAIN someday just to do the loop. So he philosophically mused, and I tantrummed, and we agreed that given the late hour we had to bail. So we did.
I only fumed for about five minutes after that, and then forced myself back into a decent mood. If we hadn’t taken the wrong turn, we wouldn’t have had spectacular ocean views for our snack break. We might have ended up with too ambitious of an objective, and found ourselves in the woods after dark. It’s not like the trail was going anywhere. We could always come back later and it had been such a fun day, it would be a shame to end it in a bad mood. So I shook off the mistake and we finished our ride in peace.Once I shook myself out of my funk, the day’s events got me thinking. Wrong turns and goofed-up routes really get to me. It feels like a lost opportunity, a squandering of something precious. As if this was the one time it would have all come together…the one chance to ride that trail, climb that route, see the sun for the last time for months, whatever. If I miss it I feel really let down and actively have to try to steer away from those kinds of thoughts. Sometimes I suspect that I would not make a very good high altitude mountaineer because of my inherent focus on the objective. On the other hand, this makes me a very tenacious and reliable partner. I am hard to dissuade from a goal once I set it. This can be a positive trait and it can also ruin your day when you make a wrong turn.
What do you do when your plans go awry? Are you bummed? Do you look for the silver lining? Or do you take it as it comes?