Friday, June 18, 2010

Pedal Petal

Tomorrow I hope to ride a century, 100 miles through the rolling hills of Marion County. I'll get up around 4:30am, be on the road by 5am to Salem, and I'm hoping to be on my bike around 6am. We'll see. I don't feel ready. I don't feel rested. I'm nervous and somewhat scared. Why do this to myself? I'm not sure.

Part of it is doing something I don't know whether I can do. Sure, last summer I completed 2 centuries. Sure, I've been riding long rides this spring. Part of the reason is that I love long rides. Zoning out to the rhythm of my own legs, not having to worry about getting lost because so many people have worked so hard to make the turns noticeable. And then there's the scenery, usually stunning. Tomorrow's course has some really steep hills, mostly in the beginning. We'll see.

I've gotten to the place in life where walking or taking my time doesn't seem criminal, at least when I'm riding by myself. When riding with others, I can't stand the idea of holding them back, slowing them down. What's up with that? Few people really mind. So much of sports is the mind.

Well, wish me luck. I'm shooting for 100 miles in 8 hours. We'll see.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Laughing all the way...

My good friend, Linda, and I went for a bit of a ride on Sunday, the sunny day. We got to Mosier around 9am, parked near the totem pole, and then, started up. Linda didn't know Mosier, and I didn't know if I could make it up the hill that I've been climbing all these months to get to the land we're going to build on. That hill just keeps going and going. The road is aptly named: 7 Mile Hill. It tours the cherry orchard and town cemetery, curving around knolls, curving past organic farms, up and up. Over our shoulders we could see Hood, like some snow cone, so white in the blue-blue. And then, the road tilted up. Like a machine, Linda pumped up the hill, and I zigzagged, watched my heartrate flash at me from my monitor: 178, 185, 193... I just didn't want the pain when it exceeds 200. And just when I thought I might lose it, the crest came in view. There was Linda staring out at the Columbia, taking in the liminal place between Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. And we breathed.

Somehow I hadn't thought there was a mile of uphill after the turn off to Dry Creek Rd, which leads to Osborn Cutoff, then to our road, Further Valley Rd. The sign says 6 miles to Mosier, and somehow the math had eluded me. We made it to the summit of 7 Mile Hill, 1780 feet up in 7 miles. 

And oh, the downhill was worth it, 6 miles of screaming turns, basalt cliffs, no guardrails, 15-mile-an-hour turns, wild blue flowers showing off against the dark, dark rocks, The Dalles far below, and we clocked 38 miles an hour and couldn't stop laughing at the bottom. 

It was a short ride, and my ribs hurt from laughing.