Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Riding with Lori

"Can we meet on the I-205 bike path at 9?," Lori's email said last night. "You bet! See you then," I responded with more enthusiasm than I actually have for waking up before 7am. But, when the alarm went off I popped out of bed. I was excited for our first try at a ride together. To get to Division, I climbed over Tabor and pulled up at our designated meeting site exactly at 9am. Lori wasn't there yet so I pulled out my theraband and did some monster walks while waiting.

When I saw a beautiful brunette approaching on a spiffy little city bike, I was ready with my camera. "I'm feeling a little intimidated," Lori said when she stopped. "Okay," I replied. I get it. A year ago, things that seem intuitive to me now seemed like baffling mysteries to me. I had no idea how to pronounce chamois or derailleur. Chamois Butt'r and it's possible application were a complete mystery to me. Clipless pedals (and why they are called clipless) boggled the mind and why anyone would consider wearing them was beyond understanding. I thought riding jerseys were ugly and bicycle tans ridiculous looking. "Oh, what a year can do," I thought, standing there with my full kit on and well-defined bicycle tan. But, "Okay," was all I could muster in response not quite knowing how to put all that.

Lori is one of my favorite people. She is kind and warm. She loves her husband and her dogs and, like me, has a bit of wanderlust. She is a little older than me and I appreciate her insights and wisdom. Plus, she has a great laugh and when she laughs uproariously at one of my many stories, well, who wouldn't love to be around someone like that?

We rode south together for a while, Lori in front, so I could get an idea of her pace. Then we pulled onto the Springwater heading east towards Powell Butte. We rode side by side and talked like we usually do, some lighthearded topics, some serious, often funny. Then I said, "I'm going to stop," and I started slowing down. "Everything okay," Lori said, sounding concerned. "No, I just want a picture of the cat." "Oh!"

Making our way towards a 4-way stop, we came to a brief pause, but I continued on. A car was just coming around the corner an Lori yelled at me, "Sara!" with a stern, motherly voice. I felt immediately ashamed, but then thought, "Hey, I didn't do anything wrong. They have a stop sign!" So, I told her as much and she instantly switched to her normal ebullient tone saying, "Oh, I didn't see that! Okay."

We stopped on a bridge by a father and his toddler. The father wanted to get back on the bike but the kid just wanted to run! It was cute. I cracked a hard-boiled egg on my helmet and Lori said, "Whoa, old school." I love cracking eggs on my helmet. It's that whole easily entertained thing again.

A little less than three miles from the end of the trail, Lori was ready to turn back. We said our goodbyes as at this point we had been riding together for well over our initially planned hour. (1:20, I think). "Maybe I'll be able to ride to the end and then catch you before you get to Powell Butte," I said. Lori looked skeptical and said, "Or I'll just see you Monday."

I burst off, trying mightily to get to the end so I could catch her before she turned for home. At the end I stopped momentarily to eat a banana and was back pedaling before I was even done chewing. 21 miles per hour, 21.5 miles per hour. In my head I tried to do the LSAT question. 2 cyclists depart heading in opposite directions. One is averaging 18 miles per hour and turns around after 3 miles. The other is going 12 miles per hour. Will the first cyclist catch the second cyclist before she turns for home after 7 miles? Doubtful. At least, by the time I was about a mile from Powell Butte, and really wanted to take a picture of the sheep, I'd waived the white flag. I hope the rest of your ride was great, Lori. It sure was fun to try to catch you.

As I'm taking the picture of the sheep above, I hear the hearty laugh of a not-really-so-young-anymore-but-still-really-fit man coming towards me. His muscular pitbull is striding purposefully ahead of him attached to an eight-foot rope. "It's nice to have them on this trail, isn't it?," he asked. "I love the sheep," I said in reply. He had a long white beard and an Indiana Jones Hat on. He looked like he was the kind of person who could have hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. I liked him immediately. Then he said, "Well, you have a real nice day today, hon." Awww, and he talks like a New Jersey waitress. It's amazing how much more I like people since I started cycling. These short little interactions with people I would normally never see have, in many ways, restored my trust in humanity.
At the Springwater Corridor mural, I called home. "I'm freezing, can you turn on the sauna?"
I rode over Tabor and got this little shot of the city coming down and after 36.5 miles pulled into home. It's a great feeling to be well over my 83-mile road bike goal for the week and my plans are to just keep riding tomorrow with maybe some time on Reilly Friday. A great week of riding seems just mean a great week in general for me, now. I hope in a year, Lori, you feel the same way, too.


  1. Thanks again for such a fun ride. I'm heading out on my bike again today.

  2. Always love your pictures and your writing.