Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cycle Touring Dreams

This weekend was filled with lots of cycling, eating, drinking and dreaming. Cycle touring dreaming, that is. But, I'll get to that later.

We started with a ride to Peter's periodontist (his 8th appointment this year - yeck!) and while he was in there getting his checkup I hurriedly tacked on a quick 11 miles. I was riding on a street that had cars parked on the right hand side so I had to vigilantly watch out for drivers opening their doors, but I had fun. One driver did try his best to hit me with his maladjusted window washer (before and after a stoplight), but I deftly maneuvered my bike to avoid a direct hit muttering to myself, "You're maladjusted."

After Peter's appointment, he needed a drink. Not being one to recommend cycling under anything stronger than good cup of coffee, we opted for a pub close to home, Bridgeport. Peter got the ESB and I had a Porter and they were delicious. The pleasant buzz I got, sitting outside (keeping an eye on the bikes) was partially from the strong, thick beer and partially because doing two hours of cardio (as hard as I can ride) is now just commonplace for me.

The beer was powerful and after checking our wallets for cash we decided we needed a little ballast. So, we headed a few blocks over for the best tacos in town. Lindo Michoacan, the taco cart across the street from Lauro, makes one of the best things I have ever tasted...the taco al pastor. We ordered one each and sat in the sunshine enjoying them on this perfect Portland summer day.

For dinner we rode over to Gladstone Pizza to use a gift certificate my friend Lori gave us. She felt bad for Peter having to go through gum surgery and got us a 20 dollar gift certificate to use after he felt better. The pizza was great, Lori! Thanks!

Friday morning, I was back on my road bike, doing a 4-time up Tabor, 20-mile ride. The more I ride, these days, the better I feel and this one was a great one.
When I got home we decided to walk downtown which is about a 6-mile roundtrip walk, but it was beautiful and we were in the mood. We stopped first for some crawfish pies which were tiny and tasty and a great appetizer for lunch. I had a greek salad for lunch and Peter had chicken paprikash with perogi. We sure were eating well.

On the way home I said to Peter that I'd like to go camping next weekend. He said, "We need some sleeping bags and something to sleep on." So, we stopped at Deek and Bryan's and spent the next hour trying out sleeping bags and sleeping mats. We've been talking about taking up cycle touring. A little cycling around Oregon, a two-week trip to the Netherlands, and (the real dream) a 6-week trip from Paris to well, wherever we can get to in six weeks- Copenhagen, maybe. Stockholm if we are feeling ambitious. From now on any camping equipment we buy will be cycle-tour friendly.

When we got home we dug out all the camping supplies (tent, cooler, my old mats, picnic basket) and decided to set up the tent in the backyard. We just spent 400 bucks on camping equipment and we want to try it out! The sleeping mats we got were made of bamboo and you had to blow them up. The were in the shape of a mummy bag and super light. But, at 2 am we both were woken up by backaches. We decided to let a little bit of air out of them and this helped, but this morning we decided to take them back. We are willing to spend more for a little more comfort and our research says the Exped air mattresses are the way to go.

So, we cycled back to Deek and Bryan's and they very graciously took back our mats. Then we rode over to REI and got the Exped Synth 7 air mattresses which immediately feel more comfortable, but I'll let you know how it goes tonight. It's possible that we are WEE bit pansyish from our super high-end expensive king size bed. But, if there is anything that I learned from RAGBRAI, it is that the number one thing you need to be able to accomplish something outside your comfort zone it is determination. More than training, equipment, food, hydration, whatever...determination. And, we've got that in spades.

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