Highway to Hell
A lot of people have been asking me how the following story could have possibly happened. Honestly, I'm not sure myself. All I can say is that I think all this training is getting to me.
A little background: I live in downtown Glendale. It is literally one mile as the crow files from my place to Griffith Park. But because there are 2 freeways and a river between me and the park, it's a little tricky to ride a bike home from Griffith. I have to take a bike trail along the L.A. River to some side streets and snake around Glendale to get home. When driving, I go through Griffith Park every day after work and pick up the freeway for one mile to get across the river. And on the weekends, I usually drive over there for a run. So I drive the same route an awful lot.
I am a little behind on my workout hours quota for the week, so this morning I used some vacation time to go out for a bike ride. Just a couple of hours. I took the side streets over to Griffith Park, did a few intervals on the river trail, did the Travel Town loop a couple times, then started to head home.
From the bridge crossing the 5 (opposite the L.A. Zoo) I can see my condo building. And I was thinking this morning how annoying it was that I was so close to home, yet I had to ride so far out of my way to get there. On the other side of the bridge, the entrance to the bike path was on my right, the freeway entrance was on my left and for some reason I turned left.
I rode for about a quarter-mile up the on-ramp (and beyond) then looked up and saw a sign that said "San Ferndando Road." I thought to myself, "that's funny, I ride in Griffith Park all the time and I don't remember ever seeing OH MY GOD I'M ON THE FREEWAY!" I was completely disoriented, and for a split second I had a panic attack where I worried "am I in the middle of traffic?!" Earlier in the day I was riding in the regular car lanes to get to the park, and I thought that maybe I was doing the same thing here. Fortunately, I was at least still on the shoulder.
In hindsight, I should have just kept on going and taken the next exit, which would have saved me a ton of time. But I was still pretty close to the on-ramp and I was worried that a cop would pull over. How could I explain that I accidentally rode on to the Freeway? I decided to walk my bike back down to the bike trail. This is the on-ramp for the 5-North interchange, so it was pretty busy and I didn't want to be riding my bike against traffic. Walking my bike, I was surprised just how far I rode without knowing I was getting on the freeway.
The big question for Hawaii is this: How far will I go before I realize I'm riding into a volcano?