Sunday, August 8, 2010

On Your Left

One of the joys of owning your own business is that you can work long breaks into your day. I usually work until 7:30 or 8:00, but early afternoons are all mine to read, nap, and more often than not, ride. This afternoon I had a 4-hour break so I made sure I was all ready to go (trunk bag packed, water bottles clean and filled, bike unlocked, tires pumped up) and the second I was done with my session I was on my bike.

I thought I'd give the newly repaved Springwater a try since it has been a while since I rode the whole thing. Being an introvert, Sundays used to bug me a bit because there were so many more people on the path. But after RAGBRAI it seems positively deserted. "On your left," I call out as I pass couples out on their hybrids, families with trailers and little ones weaving uncertainly in front of them. The path is smooth and black and I glide effortlessly over it at 18-20 miles per hour. "Nice trail," I say back to a couple of mountain bikers I had passed (they caught up with me at the light). "I'll tell you what's nice," one of them says. "It is so nice to have a roadie actually say 'On your left' as they pass you. Thank you." "Your welcome," I grin back.

I think about how this is not hard. If you get bored, you can say 'On the left' or 'left side' or just 'left!' as you fly by. 8 miles later I see a crash. A woman with a skinned up left knee is sitting on the ground and two cyclists on mountain bikes are standing over her. I slow down and ask the woman if she is okay and she responds with dagger eyes. As I ride away I hear her say this to the two cyclists, "I had no idea you were there! If you had just said, 'On your left' I would have heard you and moved over. Please, please say 'On your left.'"

I ride into Gresham past the strangely deserted farm I love so much. Not an animal in sight. I pass a woman on horseback that I manage to snag a picture of while riding. Further into Gresham I notice that all the cyclists, joggers and walkers have pulled over to the edges. They've been beckoned by ripe, wild blackberries and when I get to the end of the trail I join them and eat a couple dark, tart berries right off the bush myself. I've gotta move on, though. Gotta get home, showered, and back to work.

At this point I'm at 22 miles and curiously my heart rate monitor is registering many fewer calories than usual. I must be in vastly better shape because of RAGBRAI and (no doubt) the 9 pounds I've lost in the last two weeks.

I catch up the the woman on horseback. I slow way down so as not to spook the horse and relish the clip-a-clop-a clip-a-clop-a sound the horse makes as it ambles leisurely down the trail.

At the I-205 bike path I turn north and ride at an easy pace uphill towards Tabor. The climb up Tabor feels effortless on my legs but my back gets really, really hot. I take it easy, making it all the way to the top where I stop to give my back a rest. Then, I ride home gently and pull into the driveway with a total mileage of 41.3. I remember when that used to seem so long.


  1. I am jealous. We have a stationary bike in the gym here, but it has some issues and the view is of the person who is on the elliptical in front of it. It is not usually a pleasant view

  2. Oh, that's a bummer. Do you at least have a TV?