Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happiest on Two Wheels

Yesterday we didn't do a long ride, but we did do a shopping trip in the morning. We also did a lunch trip to the cart pod (above) for gumbo, a burrito and a lemon curd, lingonberry and chevre crepe.

Today was the best day that I've had since returning from Finland. After a nice breakfast of oatmeal and rye bread open faced sandwiches (a breakfast we saw a Finnish woman have in Finland), we headed off on our bikes for a long ride to the Columbia River. We headed east zig-zagging our way through the bike boulevards almost all the way to the I-205 bike path. The bike path mostly runs along the interstate and isn't beautiful but allows you to pedal unimpeded for miles at a time. There is a little stretch at Maynard City that is pretty darn cute, complete with flowers and grass and adorable little houses.

After passing the airport we turned west on Marine drive and rode along the beautiful Columbia River. I remember driving into Portland along this river nearly 10 years ago with my face pressed to the window and thinking we had found the garden of Eden. "I can't not look at it," I said to Peter as we drove in. Today we were riding about 15 miles an hour with an about 15 mile an hour tailwind so it felt like we were almost floating. It was rainy, but pretty and there were birds floating on logs in the river. At one point we saw a Great Blue Heron.

We turned back at a little neighborhood of houseboats and into the wind. As we headed back east we drafted off each other, taking turns in the lead. We turned south and stopped at Ikea for some meatballs and coffee.

I'm not sure if you can ever truly stay dry on a long ride on a wet day, but wool socks help you stay warm. Peter didn't have any so we rode over to The Sports Authority after our meatballs for some wigwams. "Oooooohhhhhh, that feels so good," said Peter as he pulled on the socks.

We heaeded back home, away from the river so it was uphill. We were grateful for the hills to keep us warm.

A couple of hours later, I had an appointment downtonwn and I was psyched to test out my cute outfit raingear. I got dressed on some fun slacks and a cute top and completed the outfit with my Finland scarf. Then I pulled on my bike booties and my cycling waterproof pants. Peter stayed home to finish his demiglace and I headed back out into the rain. I pedaled across the river, through downtown and up giant hill to my appointment. When I got there, I stripped off my raingear and wahlah! all dry! The appointment went great and I headed home.

On the way home I stopped at the two grocery stores for dinner. One for cheese, a baguette, and orzo salad. Another for wine for tonight and our dinner party tomorrow. I even got a wine called Red Bicyclette. As I was riding home I realized I was having the best day that I had had since Finland. With a smile on my face I also realized that I am happiest on two wheels.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's a Fine Day

I woke up this morning with wanderlust. I just wanted to see something new. Live somewhere new. Well not completely new, but I had a dream last night that I discovered a beautiful new floor to my house. It was full of light, with hardwood floors and I moved my studio up there.

So, I decided to ride somewhere new. I first rode over to the cart pod on Hawthorne and got a veggie chorizo burrito which I ate half of. Then I rode over to Ladd's Addition which is a neighborhood shaped like a wheel with spokes coming out of the central garden. I rode the spokes each time coming back to the center and stopped at some beautiful rose gardens for some pics.

Later in the day I rode up Mt. Tabor to my massage therapist's house and had a great massage. As I was riding up the rain started coming down, but it was still sunny. I looked everywhere for rainbows but couldn't find one. It didn't matter, it was still so pretty. After I was getting dressed after massage I felt I couldn't agree more with the little sign she has displayed, "It's a Fine Day After All."

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I had a hard morning. Work was stressful for a variety of reasons. I was too hungry when I ate lunch so I ate too fast. I started my ride in a funk. I ride first to the pharmacy to pick something up and then on towards Mt Tabor. I can't seem to shake the funk, though so I veer off into the neighborhood, riding on some new streets. I ride directly in front of a beautiful school and take a picture. They should make all schools that pretty. As I ride back towards Tabor I see a splash of yellow and some beautiful roses.
I get into Tabor park and get smoked going up the hill by a 12 year old all clipped in on a snazzy road bike. I can't shake the funk and end up tearing up when I see the beautiful tree I shot last week all withered and almost leafless as it prepares for winter. I decide that I must do the hill again...I can't finish like this. Snazzy road bike kid passes me again.
I get stuck a lot feeling like a failure, or rather that I am not measuring up. I think it is a human problem because people that I think are so much more successful than me tend to get jealous of my life and my successes. As I am riding down the hill I ponder the human condition, the feelings of insecurity that plague us all. Snazzy road bike kid passes me a third time.
I make my way back up and about half way up remember the decision that I made after getting home from Finland. The purpose of my life is to love my husband and see the world. I feel instantly different. Alive. Happy. I make my way to the top feeling like a whole new person. How many times have I done that on this mountain? Been stuck in one way of thinking and then moving through to the other side one pedal at a time.
I round the top and make my way back down. Snazzy road bike kid passes me a fourth time. I feel so pleased with myself for the transformation I have made that I stop on the way home for some sushi to eat after my sauna.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hawks Win!

We got our new fenders today in the mail and spent some time putting on the front ones and my new rechargeable headlight before we headed off to North Portland this afternoon. The Iowa Hawkeyes were playing Michigan State today and we were riding up to the official Iowa Alumni bar, Tom's Pizza. Peter was dressed in his Iowa jersey and I brought my Iowa fleece. My fleece was purchased at the U of Iowa Bookstore in Iowa City when we were there on sabbatical in 2007.

Riding up to the University of Portland Area is fun because you start off by the river which is always so nice. Then you ride past the Rose Garden Arena. Then there is a pretty decent climb for about a mile that takes you past the Adidas campus. After that, we rode side by side through pretty neighborhood streets until we were at Tom's bar.

When we walked in we knew we were in the right place. The bar was filled with about a 100 Iowa fans. All the tables were filled so we asked a table if we could join them and they obliged. We are not heavy drinkers so we were planning on the ride up how we were going to make pub food last 3+ hours. The game had just started and we ordered a couple pints of Guinness and settled in for the first half.

The first half was slow. By the end it was 3-3 and I was feeling more entertained by the steam cleaning infomercial playing on the neighboring screen. I mean, really, what can't you clean with that thing? We were munching on a plate of fries when the half ended and contemplating pizza when the half ended.

In the second half, we ordered another Guinness and Michigan State scored a field goal after we did a nice goal-line stop. Midway through the third we ordered a pizza. Peter got pepperoni on his half and I got ham and pineapple to remind me of Finland.

The fourth quarter is when the action happened. We tied it with a field goal and then got another on to go up by three. And, then with a minute and a half left they scored a touchdown. They set up the drive with an incredibly tricky pitchback play that wowed and frustrated the Iowa crowd. Things looked bleak for the Hawkeyes, but they put together a great drive. At 30 seconds left, 9 seconds left and 5 seconds left we had incomplete passes near the goal line. And then, with 2 seconds, the pass was complete and the HAWKS SCORED!!!!! The crowd went wild. Everyone was on their feet and double high fiving. The guy next to Peter embraced him in a giant hug. It was fabulous! It was pandemonium! The crowd broke out in the In Heaven there is no Beer song and we sang along joyously.

We left the bar on a football high and rode through the streets admiring my new super bright headlight. We were particularly impressed with our timing. Peter had signed the check with seconds left and I took the last sip of my coffee right after our touchdown. And, we have another meal of pizza (possibly two) that we carried home in my basket.

We had the esplanade almost to ourselves as we rode home. It wasn't late (about 8pm) but Portland is a sleepy, sleepy town. It was a happy evening, a happy game and a happy ride.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wet, Wet, Wet

I woke up feeling bad today because we had a run-in yesterday with a Greenpeace canvasser. We rode our bikes to REI to get a rechargable light for my bike because I have been blowing through batteries with my current one. We also needed a new bike pump as our current one would pop off whenever you got some decent pressure on it. It's a nice ride over their to REI, across the river and along the west side for a bit. We rode past the horses which is always fun. So, we are feeling pretty good when we get to REI and see two Greenpeace canvassers standing in front of the bike racks. Because it takes a while to lock up your bike, we were trapped there having to talk to them. I finally said that I don't give money to people that approach me on the street, but I do give money to environmental charities. The male canvasser says, "Well, do you know about tree topping?" I said no and he says "Well, how do you want us to inform you about it?" "Send me a letter," I said. He says, "But, that uses resources. This is the only way we can do it." Already frustrated I answered, "But, this interferes with quality of life." And, we left and went in.
As we were unlocking our bikes and securing our new bike pump. He says, "Excuse me, did you say I was interfering with your quality of life?" Peter says, "You're doing it right now." And I said, "I just want to be able to ride my bike to REI without being harassed." And he says, "I just care about the environment." I said, "So do we, that's why we are riding our bikes." He says, "But you're still buying things. We're not going to consume our way out of this." And, we rode off.

I do not deal with conflict well. I always feel guilty even if I was totally right, so this morning when I woke up thinking about this stupid conversation I didn't care that it was pouring rain. I wanted to get on my bike. I got all dressed up in my riding gear and Peter decided he wanted to join me.

So, we took off down toward the river, past the submarine at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and on the Springwater Corridor. We were virtually alone on the bike path and Peter commented on how nice this was since we could ride side by side. I asked him what it said about us that we were the only ones out on the wet, soggy day. He says, "It says you're antsy and I love you." It was fun to look over and see Peter's bright smile as we made our way down the river. We took a little detour at Oaks Bottom, then rode down to Sellwood park. It was amazing how many leaves were off the trees that I had photographed last Tuesday.

My shoe covers did pretty good. Some rain still got into them from my ankles, but they weren't soppy. When we got home we jumped in the sauna that we had turned on before we left. I felt so much better and happy to have gone for a ride despite it being so wet.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sellwood Park

The city just before dawn

Sellwood Park

Fun building along the way

It was still dark when I set off this morning down towards the river. My muscles were tired for doing hours of toning work yesterday with my clients, so I wasn't up for a big hill. Riding the river is nice because it is all bike paths so you can ride for miles without cars. I really didn't need to exercise much because I did so much yesterday but I just wanted to be out in the fresh air. Riding for me is a sense of exhilaration and freedom and is worth doing even if my muscles are a little sore.
As I ride south along the river I pass many commuters on their way downtown. Most of them look focused and serious and are riding with purpose. I even saw a woman on a recumbant bike with a tent-like thingie draped over her entire bike. I actually laughed out loud to see this little head poking up from this floating tent on wheels.
I make my way south to Sellwood Park and down to the river. Across the river are a row of houseboats and behind them a giant hill filled with changing trees. A man is fishing in the river and dogs are running free in the park. I snap a few pictures and head home.
Along the way back, past the amusement park, I notice this odd-looking building across the pond with birds painted all over it. I've ridden this path many times and never noticed it, but somehow with a camera in my pocket I couldn't miss it. I snap a picture and marvel at how such a simple tool can actually change the way you experience the world.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Salmon Statue

I set off this morning dressed in my new biker chick socks, shoe covers and reflective vest for a quick ride on Mt. Tabor. I am feeling happy and content today with my life and thinking of nothing more interesting than what I am going to eat for lunch. I contemplate going for some sushi but ended up eating a grilled cheese with gruyere.
It is a foggy day that becomes most apparent when I have climbed the hill. I try to take a few pictures, but it is early so they don't turn out. I look to the west from the top and see only gray where the city is supposed to be.
On the way home I stop by the beautiful salmon statue above for a picture. The statue is carved out of a tree trunk and right behind the tail fin of the salmon clover is growing. I've been saving this statue for a day like today when it is hard to get a pretty shot.
I pedal home weaving my way past the library and the school feeling happy and lucky to have such a great life.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Picture of the trees with the steam coming off my hands

Same trees about an hour later.

If I had been able to get it straight in my head today that it was Sunday and not Monday I would have been less surprised at not getting passed by a car my entire ride this morning. But, alas, the whole day today I have been certain that it was Monday. There are hardly any cars on a weekday too. Portland has these great bike routes on what are called bike boulevards. They are designated streets, many with gentle speed bumps that are specifically for cyclists. Motorists that don't live on these streets avoid them because in my neighborhood 30% of the commuters are on bikes so your drive would be pretty slow. My 90-minute ride this morning consisted of 30 minutes on the bike boulevards, crossing the main streets with lights, and 60 minutes in the park.
I am amazed as I ride at how really beautiful the changing trees are. I think of rain as equalling winter here, but with my riding I am appreciating the season change more. It does rain in the fall, but it is a warm rain.
This morning I am struck by the beauty of the trees, especially the large groups of trees. After climbing the long steep hill I stop to try to photograph them, but I can't get it to come out. The pictures keep showing this white fog in front of the lens. But, the lens looks clean, so what could be wrong. I try turning off the flash until I realize that there is too much steam coming off my hands. The air is thick with moisture. It reminds me of the day I was walking with my dad in the Pearl and he told me that the Irish call this a "soft day."
As I round the top and head back down the shallow side I am thinking about how I am almost incapable of journaling in past tense since coming back from Finland. I have been keeping a diary in past tense for almost three years, but since taking this transformative trip, I just keep going back to present tense. And, in my life I have been more in present time. I'm feeling less regret about the past and less worry about the future than I have in years. It reminds me of learning Italian and how the Italians use present tense almost all the time when they are talking about the future. It think this is undoubtedly tied to their renowned ability to appreciate the present moment. I think too that when I am riding I take a full and complete break from worry and regret and just experience life. This is surely a reason why experiencing a little rain on a ride seems a small price to play for all it has given me.
I make it to the top a second time, stopping on the way for a beautiful shot of some berries hanging from a tree. I am making plans for a new and difficult ascent I rode down yesterday on the way to Rocky Butte. It is fierce, but I know I can do it. I head back down and out of the park coming down the steep long hill of my massage therapist's street. I head back up saying hello to the very elderly couple crossing the street on their way to church. The hill tests my legs and my lungs but I make it back up and into the park. I snap a shot of the trees that turns out and round the top one more time. I ride back down the shallow side, out of the park and home.
Later in the day I ride to the Pearl for some rain gear. REI had all the gear I wanted: shoe covers (I got the cutest ones), rain gloves complete with extra gripping on the first two fingers, a thin hat for under my helmet, and a reflective vest for wearing over my coat. I didn't want to shell out for an expensive cycling jacket so I figured the vest would be a good idea. I shot the above picture on the way home riding down the Eastbank Esplanade. My culture shock after coming back from Finland is wearing off and I'm feeling happy again to be in such a beautiful city with such excellent biking.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Two Peaks

Portland to the east from Mt. Tabor.

The rain coming to get me.

The tunnel on the way up Rocky Butte.

My first shot with a timer.
Mt. Tabor is part of a network of extinct volcanoes called the Boring Lava field. The next cinder cone north of it is called Rocky Butte and my plan today was to ride to the top of both of them. Mt. Tabor is the main ride that I do so their is a familiarity to it, but I am always struck by its beauty. Depending on the cloud and fog cover, the views of the mountains to the east and the city to the west are always changing. I tried to take a picture of the view to the east with my panoramic feature, but it didn't turn out. So, I took a regular picture because it looked so pretty.
I pounded up the rest of the way to the top mostly feeling excited about getting over to Rocky Butte since that would feel so new and different. At the top I got a shot of the city with DARK clouds looming. "Whoa-ho-ho, that rain is coming to get me, " I said.
As I rode through the neighborhood just north of Mt. Tabor I saw a beautiful rose garden and had to stop. I flipped down my new trusty kickstand and got a shot of all the color. It is the middle of October and this gardener still has plants filled with flowers. Impressive.
Riding further north a couple of cyclists on road bikes passed me at a light. This gave me a bit of a challenge so I turned on the gas and powered past them. It was easy riding through the neighborhood south of the mountain and I glided past the most beautiful park filled with giant Douglas firs.
I turned left and started up Rocky Butte. Halfway up I entered the tunnel and realized that I had to turn around to get a shot of it. The two cyclists passed me as I rode back to the entrance and probably thought I was turning back. I got my shot and rode the the tunnel just as my phone started ringing. Must be Peter. I waited until I was through the tunnel, put on my jacket because it was starting to drizzle and called him back. He wanted to know if I wanted him to turn on the sauna because it was pouring at home. "Great idea," I said.
At the top I tried out our new camera's timer feature and got a shot of me with my bike including the camera strap and some of the stone post I set the camera on. Still, I'm really proud of the moment because the rain turned drenching while I was riding up and I was still having fun.
There weren't any good shots of the view at the top so I made my way back home. It was a warm rain so I didn't feel cold, but my feet were s-o-g-g-y. I definitely need to get some waterproof booties for over my shoes. Even though I was soaked from head to toe I was having the greatest time.
The ride home was uneventful. I noticed that the hospital was more beautiful than I had ever realized. I'm always in a bad mood when I have to go there, but as I rode by it I thought about how pretty it was. I also thought how having a camera with me helps me look for beauty.
When I got home I stripped off my shoes and socks, wrung out the socks and padded into the house a soggy mess. The last four minutes of the Iowa/Wisconsin game was on so I watched it with Peter and drank some water. Iowa won 20-10 so Peter was happy he stayed home to watch the game. Just sitting for those few minutes really made me cold, so it was most pleasant to step into the sauna. A perfect end to my first true rainy Portland long ride.

Friday, October 16, 2009

River Ride

Peter and I set off today for a ride by the river. We headed off toward the esplanade passing under the I-5 bridge and passing the homeless people sleeping in their sleeping bags. I wistfully thought of Finland and their lack of homelessness. We wondered what they do with people who have given up on life and chosen the life of the bottle or the needle. Surely they must have them, do they just provide for them and their addictions?
We cross the river and plan on heading north, but the train is crossing the path, so we turn around and head south along the waterfront. We pass under the Hawthorne bridge to be greeted by a gaggle of geese blocking our way. I take a few pictures and wonder why the camera is acting so strangely only to discover that it as stitched the photographs together into one picture. I might have try that feature out again.
We head further south along the river and travel to the south Waterfront for an unremarkable visit and head back. We've been contemplating taking up French so we stop by PSU to see what a French workbook would cost. It comes bundled with the text, they explain and costs 118 dollars. We pass.
We head back down to the river, south, across the tracks and over to where the police horses are stabled and trained. We stop for a picture that doesn't turn out because I was so worried about spooking the horses with my flash. So, we head back and at this point it starts to rain. The rain adds a sensory experience that I really like. I don't like being cold, but I don't mind the feelining of raindrops hitting my skin. We pedal purposefully along the river, up the winding ramp and onto Hawthorne avenue. Then we turn and pedal through Ladd's Addition, remembering how close we were to buying a house here.
We stop at New Seasons for the ingredients to make pea soup and Finnish pancakes. Thursday is pea soup day in Finland, but we missed it so we are going to do it on Friday. Peter is almost sick he is so hungry so we sit out front at the tables and eat a pastry.
Then we head home the long way, past Broder where we stop to check out the menu. We like this way better because it is safer and you get good lights for crossing Division and Hawthorne. It was a nice morning for a ride, and fun to get out and see the city.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Coat

I didn't do a long ride today, but here is a picture of me in my new wool coat and a scarf a client got me from Paris. I'm about to head off to the store to pick up some olive oil. Like a 16 year old who just got their license, I'm quick to volunteer for an errand if it means I get to ride my bike.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Riding with Peter

Patches woke me up this morning at 5:50 with a string of constant yelling. She was demanding food and since I wanted to get up early I was happy to oblige. Peter was sound asleep so I tried to be quiet while I made myself breakfast. He woke up at 7am and I asked him if he wanted to join me for a ride to Tabor. He said yes and quickly ate and dressed since I had clients this morning and needed to get moving.

Riding with a partner is more conversational and less observational than riding alone. As we navigated our way through the chestnut strewn streets we pondered living abroad. We do this everytime we come home from Europe. Today we are thinking about the town of Grenoble in France where they have a silicon-based fab where Peter would be qualified to work. It is just a musing, but it musing is what we are good at.

Upon entering the park I try for the third time to get a picture of the orange bushes above and it finally turned out. No photographers today...too cloudy. We climb to the top stopping once to adjust Peter's bike which we call "The Crusher" because it is so tempermental. It really needs a new deraileur and shifter...the tires and frame and brakes seem to work fine though. :)

We head down the shallower side and back up one more time and then head home because I need to take a shower before work. We are amazed at how relaxed we are. In everything we have done since we have gotten home, including biking, we have been mellower. I could really use a two week vacation every month.

This afternoon we went for a short ride to the record store to pick up the new David Byrne album and snapped a couple pictures of us in our street clothes on our bikes. I think Peter, especially, looks like a well-dressed cyclist in his new corduroy jacket from Finland.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

First Ride in the Rain

Today was my first ride in the rain. It was a drizzling rain, not a driving rain, but there was some wind so it gave me a chance to test out my winter gear. I rode cautiously, making sure my tires kept rolling and giving myself plenty of time to stop. My goal was to go to the top of Mt. Tabor only once because of the weather and because of time constraints.

My knees were feeling cold by the time I got to the park and my hands were cool, but everything else was toasty warm. I had on my Finnish hat under my helmet and it worked like a charm. I stopped to take a picture of the view to the east at the first vista. The mountain is behind the clouds so the the city in the foreground becomes my focus. I didn't even notice how pretty the city looks before because all my focus went to the distant mountain. A thing worth pondering, that is.

As I pedal further up I reach a stretch that is totally dry because it is covered by Douglas firs. The wind blows through the firs and the sound takes me back to camping in the Black Hills 11 years ago with Peter and my cousin Paul. The sound is as soothing as ocean waves.

I make my way up the third portion of the climb, this time crunching pine cones under my tires occasionally. At the top, I stop to take a picture of the giant statue, pointing east. I've never taken the time to learn who it is. Too bad the picture didn't turn out. Since entering the park, I still haven't passed a soul. The city is dressed in fog so I pedal by and make my way down the shallow side of the mountain. I pass a couple of women dressed in rain coats and rain hats and say, "Morning." "Morning," they reply with huge grins.

Coming down the hill, I realize that I had completely forgotten about being cold and wet and feel supremely content with myself for that. I stop and take a couple more pictures of the changing trees. I need a kickstand. I make a promise to myself to try to find something beautiful to photograph on every long ride.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Morning Ride

I set off this morning with my camera to capture Mt. Tabor at sunrise. As I rode off I thought of Finland and what a wonderful trip we had. For breakfast I had a Finnish breakfast again of a slice of ham, carrots, peas, pickles, an egg and oatmeal. I approximated forest fruit tea by adding a little mixed berry sauce and lingonberry jam to my green and white tea. Finland had such wonderful bike paths, but this morning it didn't matter. I was the only one on the road most of the time although I did pass a few bikers.
As I made my way up the steep side of the mountain I noticed a cluster of bushes that was a deep bright orange and tried to get a pic of it. Too dark. I turned the corner for the hardest stretch and passed the spot I had watched the sunrise at two days ago. The sunrise wasn't spectacular, but I got a decent shot of it. At the next clearing were two photographers, one being the one I saw last time. "Howdy, " I said as I passed by. I noticed my l-o-n-g shadow on the pavement and tried mightily to get a shot of it. Riding and photographing is not easy. I gave up and ascended the rest of the hill, altering my path slightly as I rode to crunch the leaves under my wheels. Just like bubblewrap, I thought.
As I rounded the top I saw the perfect shot of my shadow and nailed it. The city was beautiful too, coming to life and the sun lit it up. I headed back down and up the steep side to check on the sunrise and the sun and peeked up over the top right side of the mountain. If I had come yesterday it would have been directly over the point of it. I need to remember October 11 for next year to get a photo of that. I noticed one of the photographers packing up his gear in a backpack and heading down as I made it up the second time. Good for him, I thought.
My third trip down the hill I stopped for the picture of the flower above. Hydrangea, I think. A beautiful red head walked past me as I took the picture and said, "Good morning," with a smile. I missed that in Finland, I thought. A smile as you pass a stranger can do wonders. I made my way back up, this time up the shallower ascent taking stock of what is warm and cold on this 44 degree morning. Chest: warm. Arms: too warm, need a vest instead of long sleeves under my jacket. Legs: warm. Feet: big improvement with the wool socks my mom gave me. Ears:too cold, definitely need an ear warmer. Hands: perfect, but these Finnish gloves won't work very well in the rain. Face: grinning. Must be warm enough.
On the way back down I take the hill that goes by the resevoirs and stop for some pictures. Portland really is beautiful, I think. I make my way home past the library and the school. The bell rings and scares the daylights out of me just as I pass the door. Dexter barks as I ride down the driveway welcoming me home and undoubtedly wondering why I went without him.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sunrise Ride

We're jet-lagged so we woke up at 4am this morning. After we ate a real Finnish breakfast, my goal was to watch the sunrise at Mt. Tabor. From my ride yesterday I knew that the light starts coming up at least 20 minutes before the actual sunrise. Today the sunrise was supposed to be at 7:19 am so I started off at 6:30 with Dexter in tow. I got up the hill about half way and stopped at a great opening in the trees that looked due east towards the mountain about 20 minutes later. The colors had already started. Above the mountain there were wispy clouds that were a deep pink color turning a lighter pink as they moved skyward. At around 7am all around the mountain was a light orange color and the deep pink had moved almost 60 degrees up in the sky. The contours on the front of the mountain were starting to be visible. Dexter was getting cold so as we waited we jogged up and down the hill looking for the glowing ball to actually appear. At about 7:20 the tops of the clouds at the base of the mountain on the left side started glowing. We stopped jogging and sat down to wait for the big moment. And, we waited. I worried that the sun might be right behind the middle of the mountain when it was 7:30 and there was still no sun. Dexter started to shiver again so we jogged up the hill and back down and when we got back to the clearing, there it was! It was about 3/4 of the way up the mountain and was a bright burning yellow too bright to actually look at.

Feeling content at having seen my first Tabor sunrise I very carefully put Dexter back in his basket. He did great, delicately balancing himself on the side of the basket as I lifted the bike up and then settling down on his yoga mat seat, all harnessed in. After watching the sunrise for 50 minutes my muscles were cold. Starting the big hill in the middle of it was tough but I did it, passing a photographer at the next clearing on the way up. The last third of the ride up to the top is pretty easy and I geared down a bit to give my heart and lungs a chance to adjust.

As I circled around the top I stopped to look at the city and put on my gloves for the cold descent. I reached back to give Dexter a scritch and he was shivering non-stop. Dexter once got so cold from a bath that his legs stopped working so I was immediately alarmed. I thought about taking him out of his basket and running with him, but we still had the 20 minute ride home, so I just took off down the hill. I rode as fast as the bike and my legs could the highest gear hardly stopping the whole ride home. It is amazing what a little motivation will do. Riding that hard was harder than climbing the hill. We made it home in record time. I ran in the house and Peter got under the covers with him. In a few minutes he was all warmed up and ready to get out, so no permanent damage done.