Sunday, September 19, 2010


Well, I can't believe it. I made it: 50 rides AND Cycle Oregon. Thank you so much for cheering these wheels. The rides on Cycle Oregon were... stunning. Doing such long rides back-to-back was really challenging. Unlike most of the 2,200 riders this week, I took 2 days off, the 2 optional days. Even still, I rode 358.3 miles, for a total elevation gain of 21,722 feet.
As you may have read in The Oregonian, the last ride was the hardest last day they've ever planned: 73 miles with 6,650 feet elevation gain. The picture on the right is a sweet canyon we climbed out of at the very beginning of the day. We had approximately 40 miles of climbing. (That may be worth repeating: 40 miles!) And at the summit, we still had rollers. My legs were mush by then. My friend, Dave, who has completed 9 COs and is an animal up the hills, kept me laughing. Otherwise, he might have had to tow me. Seriously, I had nothing in my legs. The good thing, besides the amazing scenery and the shared sense of discomfort and dismay, was the cloud cover. The temperature was perfect: between 60 and 70 degrees.

The last 20 miles were blissful. We glided down along a dry stream at about 25-30 mph on a road with very few cars. The town of Elgin was even more welcoming, and I felt downright euphoric (perhaps deliriously tired, too) returning to Elgin. Here's a picture of Dave and me on the way to the (separate) showers at the end:
After we showered (separately) and threw our bags in Dave's truck, we ate the entire town of LaGrand. The 5-hour ride was tricky because we couldn't move our legs, but somehow we made it home. Phew.

Tomorrow starts my school year, and I know that no one has sympathy if I whine about going back to work. May I just say that this summer has been one I will never forget: the summer of privilege, the summer of love. I have never felt so held. And I can't believe how fortunate I've been: Africa, building a house, the riches of friendship, seeing my sibs, spending time with Cheryl, sending our daughter off to college, transforming our front yard, and more. Overwhelming is one word for this summer. Abundance is another. I am just so incredibly grateful.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cycle Oregon

Here I go. Thanks for your massive support. If you want to follow along, here's the link to the interactive map:

Have a great week!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

many rides, few days

Today was one of those days when the sky opens up and almost swallows you. It was bad news in an email about a wonderful person who is facing very tough medical procedures after having come through cancer surgery and horrendous chemo. But biking a lot helped. Kind of. Yesterday I biked to CCC and back. Today I biked to a hair cut, to a walk with Linda Vogt (which was wonderful), to CCC and back. On River Road in Milwaukie, a woman in a minivan came from the right, and looked to her right, kept rolling. I was coming from her left, slammed on my brakes and fishtailed. When she saw me, she just smiled, not realizing that she had almost struck me, that I was panicked. My fear squeezed tears out of me.

There were good things about the day, though. Walking with Linda Vogt along the Clackamas River was wonderful. She asked what turning 50 has meant to me, and I said that everything seems more precious (not in the cutesy, surgary type of way, but the sacred type of way). She said that's how she felt about turning 60 and 61. I added that I've realized that I have to make my dreams come true because they aren't just going to happen. Of course, I don't need to make all those dreams happen in one summer like this one! Sheesh.

And then, riding home I set a new record for time (52 minutes), and I didn't feel like I was pushing myself. Very cool. So, I've completed 35 rides. And on Saturday I leave for Cycle Oregon and will probably complete 15 rides during that time. I'll also be out of internet range, and won't check back until Sept. 18th.

Have a great week. Please take time to work against ministers promoting hatred, think of all the peace that has been achieved through collaboration, keep up the good fight for me, please. Love you like smooth pavement and a tail wind. -Kate

Monday, September 6, 2010

What a ride!

My good friend, Linda Brumder, who is an ultra-rower, decided to brave 70 miles with me today. Friends are amazing people; they're like salt. They keep your systems working. After the last ride (see post on Aug. 4), I ended up in the ER because a pain I noticed got quite a bit worse. In the post I mentioned that I wasn't feeling 100%... So, Cheryl and I thought that perhaps I was having an appendicitis, but instead, an ovarian cyst had burst. I wasn't in the typical horrendous pain from one of those, but it wasn't a lot of fun. So, Linda decided to accompany me on ride #29.

This ride, the Goldendale Loop, is hugely diverse in scenery: from river, desert, to farmland, to forest, to river. It's a nearly 3,000 ft elevation gain, and I start the ride going east on Hwy 14 from Lyle toward the Maryhill Museum. We started around 8am this morning, and we weren't quite sure we were awake when we saw the following:

What ARE those things? Yaks? Below them were a herd of deer, and Linda thought we just needed antelope roaming...

There are great rollers especially above what used to be Celilo Falls. The wind was carrying us some, and whenever I'm up there, the wind and the silence carry loss; a whole way of life has been totally lost. You can feel it from that viewpoint.

The clouds lifted, and we were able to see Mt. Hood at that point. Soon we could also see the windmills. They are eerie and graceful and majestic. The Maryhill Museum, in all its funkiness, is its own unique landmark on the right.

From there we headed north, up a steep 3-mile climb complete with traffic, through the dancing windmills. Linda smoked me up the hill. At the top we were greeted with views of both Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. Later as we moved past Goldendale and into the farmland, we spotted the very top of Rainier, up north in WA. Everywhere we looked, it was beautiful.

The wind was incredible, though. It sapped my energy pretty quickly. It was against us most of the ride, but luckily I had my trusty speakers for my iPod, and we boogied up the hills (kinda). I have to say the scariest part of the ride was the town of Klickitat. I usually hear a banjo when I go through there, and today, they did not disappoint. In the middle of town a guy in camouflage was carrying a rifle and walking his enormous pitbull down the rails-to-trails path. And then, later outside of Klickitat, a woman was walking along the side of the rode with a huge pistol. We rode really fast in those places. Yikes!

Anyway, Linda was a champ, and we made it despite the hills at the end of the ride. It was really fun to laugh our way around the loop. Now, I just taper this week before Cycle Oregon. I'm excited. Thanks for all your good thoughts and support. This summer has been a summer of love--I have felt such incredible support, tenderness, from so many people. Those ways of reaching out have been such blessings to me. On the way back from Mult. Falls the other day, I read the sign at a church which said, "The older one gets, the more blessings one counts." Ain't it the truth?!


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ride #28

September in Oregon has to be the most beautiful. Today from sunrise to sunset, it has been incredible. After a walk with my dog, Rafi, at sunrise, Cheryl and I picked up my former neighbors and drove out to Mosier, to our property where we are building a cabin. It's growing! My former neighbors, Bob & Rosie, are surrogate parents for me, and the sweetest. They are well into their 80s now, and Bob isn't sure who I am sometimes. But every 5 minutes or so, he said, "Isn't it the most beautiful day?! Man, I tell you." Every tree delighted him. Years ago he's the guy who inspired me to bike. At age 60 he started running marathons, and he helped the guy who started Specialized with bicycle designs. Bob would try them out.

So, on the way home, they dropped me off at Multnomah Falls, and I rode home. Maybe it was too much lunch or too many days in a row of riding, but I was not feeling too strong. And well, there was also a pretty good headwind, which prevented the bliss of the downhill from the Women's Forum through Springvale. The few miles along the Columbia on Marine Drive before turning on to I-205 were pretty dicey.

But here's to ride #28, for a total of 534.5 miles since Aug. 1. (the scary thing is that we'll do almost that much in a week on Cycle Oregon!)... Hm...

Friday, September 3, 2010

summer's not over

My life is at its fullest right now: how rich it is to be able to escort my partner to work by bike and not have to rush off to work or grade papers or something else. Well, I didn't go all the way to PSU, just to the Hawthorne Bridge as the sun warmed up the Willamette. Another gorgeous morning.

And then (then!) Rita Shaw, a colleague, came over and we drove to Gail Alexander's kayak shop in Ridgefield, WA ( which is a very special place, tucked in the confluence of 3 waterways. Gail is doing me a special favor of letting me store my kayak there, which we transported there this morning, in exchange for special kayakers being able to use it during the season. It's an incredible deal for me.

Gail joined us paddlers on the water in the coolest canoe, outfitted with an electric motor:
You can see how stressful the time was. The water was flat, no wind, little current, and Great Blue Herons dripping from trees. An occasional Kingfisher kept us alert with its brilling. Rita and I got to float along, under the strong sun, under the steady eye of Gail. An idyllic couple of hours.

So, just a 6-mile flat ride this morning, and a lovely flat paddle this afternoon. I tell you: turning 50 has been the best thing I've done. I wonder why I didn't do it earlier?!
P.S. Gail is offering a poetry and paddling get-together. There's one left this season. The way she describes it gives me chills of delight: paddling up stream, receiving a packet of prompts, pens, paper, and taking some time to write, then returning to the boathouse for sharing or talking or reading or listening. What could be better? Give her a call.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

crossing the half point

Blazing!! Even though I didn't have my heart monitor/speedometer, I knew I was flying. Do you ever have those moments when the bike is tuned, you have kick in your legs, and there's nothing stopping you? It was one of those days. I made it to school, usually a trip of 1 hour 5 minutes, in under 55 minutes. And that included making a phone call on the way up Rt. 213.

The ride back deflated me. The headwind was fierce. Have you ever had those moments when what you thought was true, the way you built yourself up, couldn't be? Reality bites. What carried me there earlier was the wind. Oh well, I hope I'm getting stronger and faster, but the real factor is physics: weight, work, resistance.

Today I rode #25 and #26. Yippee, more than half way there!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

a little scary (ride #24)

Today was one of those inexplicable days. As soon as I set my bike on the ground in NW Portland to take a hilly ride, the skies opened up. I was drenched in a soft rain. Proving how thin the skin of presence is I could hear LadySmith Black Mombasa sing, "brrrrrr, rain, beautiful rain..." and I could smell the grass of the Maasai Mara. The rain is a blessing, but not being able to see as well with spots all over my classes, and not being able to shift gears because my hands kept slipping were annoying realities. I made it up the hills through Washington Park and the Arboretum, and for the first time, I didn't feel like throwing up. There may be a few reasons for this: 1) there was plenty of time between the ride and breakfast, 2) I wasn't trying to chase someone up the hills, or 3) I wasn't pushing myself. Perhaps 4) all of the above.

Once up to Skyline, I was a little more nervous than usual on the windy, no-shoulder road. One car came a little too close, a little to quickly, and about a mile later, his car was on its side, leaning up against the ditch. He was standing next to the car, and he looked unscathed. Luckily. But seeing his car made me realize how slick the roads must be after so little rain for so long, and I decided to get down off the skinny roads as soon as I could.

The ride wasn't long, but it was good to get some hills in. I'm building up to tackle Larch Mtn. And after the next few rides, I'll taper before Cycle Oregon. Thanks for your good thoughts.