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?!


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