The Road Less Travelled*
* Because it was the wrong fucking way.
It turns out that when a certain cyclist in our group issues an invitation to swing by his house for beers; the group immediately rides to his house en masse.
Nobody was going via the usual way home, which I have yet to commit to memory, having only managed to ride it one time, about 3 months ago.
I learned about this route change after we’d already departed Observatory Hill and thought to self, “Oh well, take the beer detour. What's the worst that could happen?”
It was even on my way home and actually close enough that I could get from the festivities to my own house without a guide if need be. All was fine while we were on a route I’d been over once or twice before, but when we hit the new-to-me part of the route, I got dropped like the proverbial hot potato;
As I slowed to make a few unfamiliar descents, and take some very tight corners on a narrow winding bridge, my group pulled ahead more and more until only a single jersey remained in view. I kept him on my horizon for 10 minutes and peddled like a m*therfucking dervish to shrink the gap, and drew level with him as he waited for the lights to change. At which point he jumped and said “Where the hell did you come from?” Followed by “Ah, and where are you going?”
Turns out I followed the one person who wasn’t going to drinks, and who was heading off in a completely different direction from where I live. Awe …some…
A quick chat with him regarding directions revealed a stunning lack of knowledge on my part as to a) the suburb I was in and b) the suburbs surrounding the suburb I was in.
Given that I had missed a crucial turnoff many kilometres back, and probably wouldn’t be able to find the group again anyway, I decided to continue on and see if I couldn’t make my own way in the general direction required and somehow cross paths with them on the National Park trails. Yes, the odds of that happening were firmly in my favour…
Anyway, a long a tiresome ride heading straight into the baking Sydney summer sun, along the side of a major road, eventually I found a few signs pointing to a university halfway between the city and home. I knew the SO used to ride through the campus on his journey home, so a quick chat with him on the mobile, and I found the entrance to the bike path, and boom, a mere TWO HOURS after setting off, I reached home. Utterly parched. Probably sunburned. Certainly very happy. I lay in bed, ate a small bucket of pasta and passed out.
[Edit] I kept an eye and an ear out for signs of their Hobbit gathering, but no luck, and I also updated my Strava the moment I arrived home, in case they were worried by my disappearance; and lo their Strava routes revealed some repeated back and forth at a key junction which could only have been them retracing their route looking for me. That offset my inner pouting a great deal. Thanks ER Hobbits and Blue Stravos in particular !