Reading, thinking, biking, sharing…

Les Boise May 27, 2008

Filed under: Boise,family,love,mountain biking — onarete @ 7:49 pm

Some highlights from a wonderful Memorial Day weekend:

  • Getting to see my mom, sister, and boyfriend.  Each of them are so wonderful in their own unique ways; and all together they make a guaranteed  good time.
  • Mountain biking.  Blair and I got in a ride each day (Saturday, Sunday, Monday).  The highlight was our ride on Sunday.  Blair had mapped out an epic route with lots of alpine views, lookouts, pine trees, wild flowers, thousands of feet of climbing, and an all singletrack descent.  I still can’t wipe the smile off my face.
  • Greenbelt riding.  Saturday, the four of us rode the greenbelt to Lucky Peak Reservoir.  On the return, we stopped at the new Lucky 13 in Harris Ranch.  The place was full of bike parking and had an awesome patio.  The pizza was delicious and we had  so much fun it was hard to leave, but the ride home made it worthwhile.
  • Debra’s new house.  My little sister just moved into a house in Boise.   It’s really cute and was fun to finally get to spend time at “her” place.  She’s getting so grown up, and I am so happy to be a part of her life.
  • Sunny skies and green grass.  Boise is the most beautiful city anywhere.  The sky is so blue, the trails are full of happy people, and all the streets are idealic.  There’s no way I could have had a bad time.

Until next time….


Evening ride May 23, 2008

Filed under: mountain biking,Nature — onarete @ 4:46 pm

I drove to Redmond after work yesterday for a mtn bike ride.  The sky was dark and threatening but I was determined; and it payed off as I stayed dry the whole ride.  I started from the ballpark near Redhook and rode the Thrilla route with a few short detours to explore.  It was fairly warm and the senses were alive:  the smell of barbeque on back patios, the sound of lawnmowers taking advantage of a break in the rain.  The whole ride I only passed one person on a bike; we shared a hello, both acknowledging that we were in on something special.

Twenty-five miles on a Thursday evening can improve my attitude 100%.  I’m back to my normal self.  And now I am off to Boise for the weekend, to get in some good rides and see  my loved ones.


Urban Assault May 20, 2008

Filed under: bikes,happiness,love,seattle,urban assault — onarete @ 3:41 pm

BB flew in for the Urban Assault Race this weekend.  We were blessed with a few uninterrupted days of high temperatures and sunshine.  On Saturday, we did a pre-ride and mapped out a route.  It was hot, hot, hot and we took plenty of breaks to find gatorade, sprawl on shady grass, and even to take a swim in Green Lake.  We also went to the Arbotoreum and took a long walk.  There are miles and miles of beautiful walking trails there; lots of varieties of flowers and trees and ferns.  Everyone was happy and smiling, enjoying the first nice weather in a long time.  For dinner, we walked to Queen Anne Boulevard and ate outside at a great Thai restaurant.

Sunday, we woke up way too early and tried to get ready to leave for the race.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the pedals off my road bike to swap out with my mtn bike pedals so I had to ride with tennis shoes.  I think this actually turned out well as we spent lots of time off the bike.  BB and I rode down to Fremont for breakfast at a “hippy diner” that had lots of vegan options; and then headed to the start point for the race.  Right from  the start, the race was a blast.  Our first checkpoint was at Gas Works Park where I had to balance on an ab-roller type wheel while BB held my legs and ran us through an obstacle course of orange cones.  I was laughing so hard it was hard to breathe.  Checkpoint #2 was at Recycled Cyles where BB had to ride a bmx bike and I stood on the pegs holding a long jousting pole.  Blair had to ride the bike while I tried to grab hoops with the pole.  Impossible!  Poor BB!  I was choking him and laughing and totally incapable of grabbing the hoops.  Finally we got it.  The next spot was REI and we had to run around the trails there looking for hidden letters and unscrambling them to find an answer to the clue “Follow your Folly.”  It took us forever to find the first couple of letters but then we called DB and her and Dad figured it out: Skinny Dip.  Our first mystery checkpoint was 2020 Cyles and we got some crazy clue about a barista cutting off a bunny ear.  Again, DB and Dad saved the day and we were soon on our way to some coffee shop with a statue of a one-eared rabbit.  At Gregg’s Cycles in Greenlake we had to walk on mini-beer kegs across a field and back; at a bike shop in Ballard I had to ride around a circle on a banana-bike and throw BB newspapers that he had to catch in a box.  Again, I was laughing so hard and am not a very good thrower so it took a while.  The last mystery checkpoint was a man dressed as a fairy running along the Burke Gilman traill.  We headed back to the finish line where we had to do 2 laps on big wheels and then we were done.  Our finishing time was 2:30 and we made it to all the checkpoints so we were thrilled with that.  The after party was just as much fun.  We had pizza and Fat Tire and watched a limbo contest on bicycles.

Photo credit


Fresh Air May 12, 2008

Filed under: hiking,mountain biking,Nature — onarete @ 3:43 pm

My plan for the weekend was to go camping; but a lousy weather forecast and record snow levels caused that plan to fall through.  Instead I got up Saturday morning and packed all my stuff in the car and headed out to the Mt. Si parking lot.  I rode the CCC Road/Trail from there.  A nice long climb at the start got my heart rate up as did a fear of wildlife hiding in the forest.  After a few successful creek crossings I came to one that seemed a little sketchier, and upon examining my cell phone I also realized I was out of service.  I ate a mini Cliff Bar and turned around.

Back at the car I changed out of my bike clothes and put on my trail running shoes and started up the trail.  I had read that there was a lookout at 1 mile so that was my destination.  Somehow I completed breezed by the lookout and next thing I knew I was at the 2.5 mile point.  Part of me wanted to keep going and make it to the top.  But I also knew I only had half a bottle of water and some Cliff Shots and it would also be slow going on the way down, so I turned around.  Now I have something to look forward to going back and finishing!

Sunday, I took the mtn bike out to the Thrilla Route.  The first half was really enjoyable.  A little chilly, but I had the trail all to myself.  Once the skies opened, I realized why I was all alone.  I spent a little over an hour riding as fast as I could back to the car in a massive downpour.  At some points there was so much water blowing directly into my eyes, I couldnt see!  I hightailed it home, took a warm shower, and put on some sweats.  I spent the rest of Sunday on the couch and finished an entire book. 

 Another good weekend!   

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Mountains May 9, 2008

Filed under: God,mountains,Nature,seattle — onarete @ 5:15 pm

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Some days in Seattle the sun actually comes out, the horizon is clear, and you come around a corner and are taken breathless by the mountains.  I think everybody has a landscape that they identify deeply with: the desert, the ocean, a river, dense forest.  For me, it is the mountains.

I’ll be stuck in traffic on the I-5, anxious and disconnected and suddenly, where there is normally gray, there will be a jagged, snow covered peak.  It is like a punch in the stomache, a slap to the face that brings me back.  Mountains are humbling, and mysterious, and deeply spiritual.  Their tops were home to the gods of the Greeks, the Norse, and the Iranians.  The sense was that mountains held spiritual significance because they were higher and closer to nature and to the gods.  I dont see the mountains as homes to gods, but rather as God.  That god might be vengeful and powerful, but always beautiful and demanding of respect.  A mountain can also be peace; it has been for me.


Sun worship May 5, 2008

Filed under: adventure,desert,happiness,life,love,mountain biking,Nature — onarete @ 7:57 pm

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Turn your face to the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.”

Fed up with the rain, I flew south for the weekend.  It was a releif to feel the heat on my skin, the sun on my face.  My apartment was intact and my car started despite the remnants of 6 weeks worth of dust storms on the exterior.  After getting some blessed sleep, the singlespeed and I headed out to explore the desert.

Saturday I rode at Hawes; Sunday in the McDowell’s.  I love riding in the desert.  The rocks, the dirt, the mountain ridges for a backdrop.  I share the trail with all sorts of animals: small lizards, snakes, jack rabits, and roadrunners.  There is always another ridge to ride along, a long sweeping trail, a beautiful sky as far as you can see.  I am alive in these wide open spaces.

I only ate Mexican and ice cream; swapped out water with margaritas after retiring on the porch for the afternoon.   I played in the pool and went to bed early.  Two books were easily devoured.  Now I’m back at work, skin burnt, lips chapped.  I might be at a cubicle, but my soul is roaming through the desert; my heart is climbing the singletrack.  Some people like the rain; give me the sun.


No more May 1, 2008

Filed under: Iraq War,Politics — onarete @ 6:22 pm

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They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.  -Ernest Hemmingway

Some numbers on the war in Iraq:

  • 4,063: Number of American military casualties
  • 29,829: Number of American troops wounded
  • 1,205,025: Estimated number of Iraqi civilians killed
  • $516 billion: Amount spent on the war
  • $1.4 billion: Amount taxpayers have spent in Idaho (my homestate) on the war
  • 391,430: Number of people In Idaho who could have had free health care instead
  • $3 trillion: Opportunity cost of the war according to Nobel-Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz
  • 1 in 5: Soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • 1,500: Soldiers in Iraq of Afghanistan who are now homeless or at risk of homelessness

Should I keep going?  Or is that enough?