Sunday, February 14, 2010

Just Ride

I rode off today trying to shake off a terrifying nightmare...or really a napmare. My dad and I have signed up to ride RAGBRAI (the (Des Moines) Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa). I'm super excited and trying to temper that excitement with the reality that we ARE in a lottery to get in. Our chances are good though and in preparation I read a great book about long-distance cycling this weekend to make sure that I train smart, not just train hard. The book recommended a short nap before afternoon rides and feeling a little groggy from some allergy medicine I took last night I thought I'd give it a try.

Two hours later I woke up covered in sweat and with trembling hands. I'd dreamt that I'd lost my mom to a frightening event and couldn't get my hands to stop shaking. I called my mom and she was, indeed, how I'd remembered her being and then I called my husband. At this point, my hands were still trembling too much to ride my bike so I was thinking of riding my stationary bike, but after a short conversation with my husband I was laughing and my hands had settled down.

Needless to say, I needed something from this ride besides a good workout. And, I got it. As soon as I got to the Springwater I put on the song Zion by Fluke, kept an eye on my heart rate to make sure it didn't get too high, and tried to spin my legs. I counted my RPM for a minute to be about 70 which is right in the desired 60-90 that you want. Sipping from my homemade cocktail sports drink and remembering to stand up and pedal every 20 minutes to stretch out my back, legs and give my seat a break, I pedaled happily down the trail in the rain.

At 45 minutes, I turned around and it was here that I had the moment that I want to remember. The sun was low over the hills and was lighting up the rain as it gently hit my face. The bridge was up ahead and this woman with a dog smiled so nicely at me as I rode past her. I held this moment with me as I pedaled through Sellwood, along the Willamette river and past OMSI.

Just after passing OMSI I pass a family taking up nearly the whole trail. As I slowed down to pass them I saw that they were huddled around a two foot snake that had wandered onto the trail. Not being a huge fan of snakes, I still could appreciate the wonder of seeing this wild animal in the city and smiled.

Keeping a careful watch on my heartrate, I pedaled happily home up the hill. Next time I think I'll skip the nap and just ride my bike.

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