OK, I have to confess that yesterday I didn't ride. I was supposed to do a flat 50, but I worked on my novel, instead. I don't think I'll be able to make it up, but I could tell that my body just needed a little down time.
Riding through The Dalles isn't much fun. You just go through downtown, and then, after 20 miles, there's 15 miles uphill through rolling wheat fields, past an old, abandoned farm, under views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. That's the Emerson Loop, except when you turn back toward TD, there's a gentle downhill for miles. Coasting along at 21 mph, I felt like a real cyclist, that is until the border collie came out of nowhere and kept up with me. Yikes! Luckily, it didn't try to grab my wheel.
Anyway, the whole trip back was great--no wind--which those of you who have ridden in the Gorge know that is unheard of. Especially on Friday, the 13th.
There are so many things to think about when you're on the cycle for 5 hours: keeping the front wheel steady, figuring out how to deal with 20 degrees more heat, how long is that hill? Well, there are other things, like the sorrow I sense in my chiropractor these days; like the surprise of discovering that my dogsitter, whom I've known for 20 years, died in April and I knew nothing about it (and feel so badly that I did not help or say goodbye); and like figuring out words or twists in my novel. When I get bored with my thinking or need a boost, I turn on my speakers with the iPod inside; the "exercise" playlist gets me going. It's a blast to have music blaring when I'm trudging up a hill.