Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Springwater Savior

The sun was shining when I rode off today dressed in my bicycle tights and my ride sweatshirt. My goal today was to ride 40 miles and I've prepared myself by eating a hearty lunch, drinking lots of water and packing two water bottles and two peanut butter and cherry jam 1/2 sandwiches.

When I get to the Eastbank Esplanade I switch on my Ipod to my current favorite, The Freestylers, and I start my ride in earnest. I'm amazed as I ride at how much easier it feels than two weeks ago when I rode to Powell Butte. I've made some serious strides in my cycling fitness because my legs are just spinning effortlessly. Ten minutes later I'm at the Sellwood park and it has taken me 10 minutes less than it usually does from my house.

"Right on," I think as I turn off the Springwater Corridor for a short trip through Sellwood. I turn off my Ipod for this part and pedal casually through the neighborhood. When I get back to the trail a few minutes later I restart Drop the Boom and really get into it.

Before I know it I'm an hour into my ride and passing Powell Butte. I take it easy for a song, eat one of my half sandwiches and revel in that "I'm somewhere I've never been before" feeling that anyone who experiences serious wanderlust knows.

There are lots of pedestrians on the trail and I usually just ring my bell if they are a little too far to the left. Today as I was coming up on a threesome I rang my bell, and the severely obese man on the left puts out his left arm with his hand in a fist right where my neck would have been if I had been trying to pass him. I wait until he puts it down and he moves over a bit then and as I ride by I say, "Thanks, " sweetly. Of course, "Geez, what an asshole," was what I was actually thinking.

About a minute later I stopped at a stoplight and across the street is a 60ish man riding a recumbant bike with one of those colorful bike condoms on. He looks ridiculous and it makes me smile. But, he returns my smile by creepily checking me out by looking me up and down. "In your dreams, Grandpa," I say as I ride away.

A minute after that I come across two elderly, tiny but round Russian women talking to each other emphatically and taking up the entire path. They see me and hurriedly scoot out of the way. Thinking back on that last 1/2 mile I think, "You definitely don't get that on a stationary bike."

The awesomeness of my ride is hitting me now as I look down at my clock and realize that I definitely have time to do 40 miles. I notice now that the Springwater Corridor signs now have the town of Gresham on them and I stopped to take a picture. "I've cycled to another town," I think as I watch the miles click by. At 19.5 on the mile post which is about 22 miles from home I turn around.

At this point, I've switched to my riding mix and I've moved into the endorphin high. This makes the music sound even better so when I get to the David Byrne song that I had my perfect moment to last week I decide to just ride easy, eat my second sandwich and bask in my cycling high. And then, pop! my tire blows.

I feel too good to panic so I just blow up the tire and hope I can ride home with less than three stops. Two pedals later, it is flat again. Darn! I've got to change it. No problem, I've done that before. So, I flip the bike over, pop off the wheel, unhook the chain, and set to work. Five minutes later, I'm back on my bike, my hands are a filthy mess and I'm calling my mom to tell her what I just accomplished. Wait, what's that? Oh no, it's flat again.

At this point I am still seven miles away from home and I have an appointment in an hour. My client, Amanda, had said that if I ever had a bike emergency to call so I give her a ring. No answer. I call my father-in-law. He is very confused, has no idea where I am and has dinner in the oven. He says he'll call me back. Then I see that Amanda called me while I was talking to my father-in-law and I rejoice. I call her back and she says she knows exactly where I am. She's got three kids with her but she'll make it happen. Yes, my savior!

It's getting dark now and I shiver at the corner of Johnson Creek Blvd, talking to my mom about Tolstoy and living a full life and Amanda shows up. I make it home in time for my session even though I am dirty and stinky. Feeling satisfied that Tolstoy would have been very pleased with my day I sit down to calculate just how many miles I did do and, lo and behold, I got in 35 miles. Its my longest ride ever, I changed a flat tire and I got to experience how much a beloved client cares about me. If that's not living life to the fullest, I don't know what is.

No comments:

Post a Comment