Friday, November 27, 2009

Tabor and Tacos

The day after Thanksgiving requires some activity in my book and if Mt. Tabor was any indication, others agree. The park was filled with families walking 4 or 5 across and it was nice to see. Of course, they were completely oblivious about cyclists so their aimless meandering required some careful navigation, especially on descents. We climbed the mountain two times, avoiding the steep side because of my back, but taking two different routes. After rounding the peak we headed back down the steep side stopping to take a picture of the moon.
As we headed back down we decided to check to see if the taco stand was open and it wasn't. So, we headed over to Powell's to pick up my new book, French Revolutions, hoping that it being Black Friday that it wouldn't be to busy. There was no line, however, so we were in and out.
Still craving a taco we headed east past our house to the other cart pod and secured ourselves each a taco al pastor and a chorizo taco. I also got us some guacamole for garnish. It was a very tomatillo rich guacamole so it was very light.
After reading the Hungry Cyclist our thoughts today have gone back to traveling by bike. I read an entire blog today about a family's trip across Europe and we're wondering if we could become accustomed to camping because it might be the only way we could afford 6 weeks in Europe. That remains to be seen, but it sure is fun to dream.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

To the Top Again

I made it to the top of Mt. Tabor today after taking over a week off of riding. Last night when I was trying to fall asleep I noticed how much tension I was holding in my body. I knew I needed to really get a good workout...really sweat. So, I was happy when my back tolerated our pretty hilly ride to the grocery store and decided to give Tabor a try.
The mountains are BEAUTIFUL in the winter. Because it is often cloudy this time of year getting to see them is a treat. It felt so good to circle around the top being among the hikers and cyclists that were pausing to appreciate the view.
I'm in my second reading (in a row) of The Hungry Cyclist. He is in Mexico right and eating his weight in tasty tacos. I've been, understandably, craving a good taco al pastor so on the way home we stopped at Lindo Michoacan, our favorite taco truck. There is really nothing like a good taco al pastor, complete with its spicy sauteed pork, onion, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. I topped mine today with a little pico de gallo, habanero salsa and red salsa. The flavor exploded in my mouth as I tasted my first biteful and before I knew it I was dashing for napkins to blow my nose. A true culinary experience.
After our tacos, we hopped back on our bikes and I realized that my back was feeling the best it had since it seized up last Monday. Happy that my back likes biking almost as much as my mind and heart do, I pedaled home.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Back in Gear

This blog post is in celebration of me getting back on my bike. I hurt my back pretty badly about a week ago and had to take a hiatus from riding. It served to cement in my mind how much I love cycling because I missed it like crazy. My back is still injured and I can't do a long ride yet, but I rode about 2 miles today to the movie store and the grocery store and it felt great. My back actually likes the position of sitting with leg movement. I had actually been doing less riding and more elliptical when my back seized up so I am wondering if there is a correlation. (I was on a Matrix trilogy movie watching kick). Nevertheless, I am happy to at least be able to do a short, flat and slow ride.

Before hurting my back and having to drive to the doctor I had gone 4 weeks and 4 days without using a car or bus. The holidays are probably not the best time to try to match that streak, but hopefully in the new year I can try again.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


There was a rainbow today as I was riding up to Mt. Tabor for a massage with my amazing massage therapist, Taya. It was just the very bottom right portion of the rainbow but it was right in front of me as I was riding east to Taya's house. The little bit of the rainbow you could see was low enough that in a picture you would notice all the power lines in front of it. So, I was content just to enjoy how pretty it was as I pedaled up, up, up the hill. Taya actually lives on the same street as me, only 46 blocks east, but I take a small detour to the south to ride through the park on the way.

As I pedaled up I thought of Taya's beautiful greyhound, Chico and decided that a picture of Chico would be my beautiful thing for today. I have a thing for greyhounds. I love their graceful lines and their athletic beauty. Chico doesn't appear to realize what a stunning dog he is...he just acts like a dog. Maybe that is part of what I like so much about him. When we got there I asked Taya if she would take a picture of me with Chico and she got a great shot of him giving me a kiss. Taya said that last year she took her camera with her every time she went for a walk in the park. There is something about just having the camera that changes the way you experience the world. I can see why we are becoming fast friends.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Feel Good

I take off yesterday for the mountain in the mood to work hard. It is a beautiful day again...60s and sunny. I am really moving, passing two cyclists on road bikes on my way to the park and by the time I get there I have a stitch in my side. Pleased with myself for having pushed it so hard I pick up the pace and power up the hill. A convertible passes me blasting James Brown singing "I Feel Good," and I couldn't agree more. The mountain is beautiful and clear and I stop for a shot which makes my stitch go away. I circle the top and head back down for a second pass, stopping on the way down to photograph a little vignette with stairs leading up to somewhere magical it seems.
My second time up I think about my client that inspired me to start riding and how she has ridden in every condition, rain, snow, hail. She admitted this morning on Facebook that she rode her trainer inside this morning and I gave her a hard time because it is absolutely freaking gorgeous outside! I start planning on how I'm going to kick her butt in her session tonight and start designing a circuit in my mind. It'll kick my butt too, but that's okay because I'm in the mood to work.
I circle the top again and then come down the steep side pleased with myself for being able to ride up the little hill and around the gate that is closed on Wednesdays. My first time up Tabor I had to get off and walk through the tiny opening on the side of the gate. As I leave the park and am about to cross the first main road I am stopped by a funeral procession. I watch it in its entirety and feel a little catch in my throat. It seems too beautiful today for a funeral.
I ride home, temporarily subdued, but before long the beautiful day has me feeling good again. I mentally sing a little James Brown and pedal with purpose having made one of my best times on a two hill Tabor ride.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Beautiful Day

It was so pretty today. Today was the first day that I had done a fitness ride since Thursday, but I rode to two grocery stores and to NW Portland on Friday and to the Hawthorne area on Saturday just living life. Yesterday I gave up my ride to garden for 3 hours pulling out all the tomatoes, cukes, strawberries and melons.

Today my first ride was to the Mexican cart on Division for a burrito. I was sporting my Iowa sweatshirt and feeling proud of my 9-0 team. After lunch, I rode up to Tabor going to the top just once. It was absolutely beautiful and the views were stunning. The locals were out biking and walking just enjoying the sunshine. It was great to be out although I didn't have much time because I had to be back at work.