Reading, thinking, biking, sharing…

Breakthroughs June 25, 2008

Filed under: road biking,summer — onarete @ 8:16 pm

Two to be exact.  The first breakthrough of the evening was the sun.  For the first time since I moved to Seattle, I was able to wear shorts and a sleeveless jersey.  Finally, it felt like summer.  I rode my bike and pretended that I was a kid on summer vacation.  It almost worked.  I even passed a lemonade stand on the side of the trail.  Smart kids.

The second breakthrough had to do with my bike.  When I first bought it, the shop spent about 45 minutes taking measurements and fitting me,  which is way more effort than I’ve ever put into getting the right fit on a bike.  Usually, I just move my saddle up and down, back and forth until I feel comfy and like I am getting an efficient pedal stroke.  So, even though the saddle on my road bike is significantly lower than on my mountain bikes, I hadn’t moved it.  I figured that I should adapt to the ‘correct’ seat height.  For a year I have been trying to adapt.

Last night, I finally got out a hex wrench and raised it about an inch.  Wow!  That was the best thing I’ve ever done.  Immediately, I was able to push a higher gear at a higher cadence, and my legs felt snappy.  Climbing was about a million times easier, and I had no knee fatigue after riding for 2 hours, which I usually do.  I feel like road biking is going to take on a whole new chapter for me.  Boy do I feel dumb that it took my a whole year…..


Solo June 16, 2008

I love the look of shock on people’s faces when I tell them my plans.  I am going to the movies, to dinner, on a hike: alone.  Some people worry about my safety, some feel pity.  Often both.  Last week, I had a friend respond to my plans with an “I’m sorry.”  Don’t be.  Everybody has times in their lives where they are on their own; I just choose to make those times adventurous ones.  I’m not going to sit at home and watch TV just because I dont have anybody to keep me entertained. 

And so, this weekend I set off on a road trip.  Alone.  Gasp.  And it might have been one of the funnest weekends of my life.

Saturday morning I loaded up the rental car with my bike and camping gear, cup of cofee in hand and radio dialed.  I cruised up Highway 20 to Gold Bar where I stopped at Wallace Falls State Park to bike.  The route was a 20 mile out-and-back that took me to Wallace Lake and then the Upper Falls.  The falls were lovely but the mountain had developed a cool cloud-cover and I hammered downhill all of the way to the car, ready to head over the Cascades. 

The pass was breathtaking; so much prettier than Snoqualmie Pass.  Beautiful, jagged peaks greeted me around each winding turn.  The sun was out and the river was flowing high and my spirits soared.  Not far from the pass, I turned off the highway towards Lake Wenatchee State Park where I had a camping reservation.  After setting up camp, I spent the afternoon sprawled on the lovely beach, alternating between reading and basking in the sunshine.  The lake is long and narrow, surrounded on both sides by an impressive mountain pass and the Cascades in the background. 

The rest of the day I spent exploring by hiking and biking.  I cruised around in my Tevas and baseball cap, following lovely forest roads and fields of thousands of lilacs.  I passed a YMCA camp, laughter and screaming floating in the wind.  As darkness neared, I crawled into my sleeping back and enjoyed the family next door singing camp songs around the fire.

Sunday morning I called my Dad to wish him happy Fathers Day and headed down to the Lake to read.  The best thing about being an early riser is getting to experience the world without all the noise, without all the people.  I always feel like I am getting a glimpse of something special, a little secret God has shared just with me.  The beach was empty and I watched the perfectly still water, the early morning sun slowly illuminating a lone kayaker gently carving his way.  I breathed in and breathed out.  I was alive.

The final gem of the weekend was my Sunday ride.  I was tired and didnt really feel like biking but I had spent hours earlier in the week looking at forest service maps, checking trail conditions, and mapping out a ride.  It spent me a good half hour just driving around the maze of forest service roads looking for FS6001.  No signs anywhere.  Finally I found the trailhead, in the middle of nowhere.  Suprisingly, a car with mountain bikes pulled in moments after I.  The young couple chatted with me and shared their bug spray.  They had lived in Arizona for 4 years and we talked about mountain biking and this particular trail.  They gave me some pointers and took off; they were the only other bikers I saw all day.  The trail started off pheonomenal, and it stayed that way.  It was a motorcycle trail and had all of the tell-tale signs: woop-doo-woops and bermed turns.    I saw a few guys on their motorcycles and they were all friendly, slowed down to pass and said hello.  Other than that, I was on my own.  The trail had it all: steep up and downs, gently rolling sections that propelled me forward, stream crossing that required wading, sunshine, and shade.  I had a blast for 4 and a half hours and by the time I got back to the car I was out of food, out of water, out of energy.  I couldn’t have been happier.  What an amazing day. 

And I did it all on my own.  Nothing bad happened, I wasn’t lonely.  I just was alone.   Having alot of fun; having adventures and irreplacable life experiences.  That is the moral of this story: I’d encourage everyone next time you’re bored and alone.  Go do something.  Anything.  As long as its lots of fun.


Still alive June 12, 2008

Filed under: life — onarete @ 10:12 pm

…Just quiet.  I promise to start writing regularly again soon.  Life has been a whirlwind and quite frankly I’m just doing my best to stand upright.  In the meantime, here’s a smile for you:



Bike love June 2, 2008

Filed under: bikes,family,life,love,mountain biking — onarete @ 5:47 pm

It was a weekend of remembering why I ride.  My parents and I toured the city on Saturday, riding our bikes from Queen Anne to the University District to Greenlake to South Lake Union.  We weren’t the only ones enjoying the freedom of two wheels.  There were expensive racing bikes speeding by, and cruisers made from spare parts ambling along.  We saw and a Dad and daughter leaving the bike store with a her brand new bike, racers in training, and moms pulling babies in Burley trailers.

You notice more on a bicycle.  There are the cracks in the pavement, stores hidden away in alleys, friendly faces that you meet along the way.  Every fence, pole, or bench is an instant parking space.  Miracles abound around every corner.  On a bicycle, the journey is more important than the actual destination.

On Sunday, we did a different type of exploring by bicycle.  We went to Tiger Mountain to do a little mountain biking.  On the way, we passed a couple of guys out enjoying the day.  Their bikes were outdated, one pannier rack was falling off, and they didn’t know where they were going.  At the top, we saw them again.  One of these guys was so proud of himself, you could see the joy radiating from his smile.  Soon, he’ll be addicted.  My mom was out mountain biking with us also.  She is part of a generation of women who weren’t encouraged to do sports as young girls.  And yet, she was out there doing a difficult ride, digging deep, never complaining, doing something truly extraordinary.  You don’t get those experiences watching TV, going to the mall, sitting in a coffee shop.  She should be an inspiration to everybody.  You don’t live life by staying in your comfort zone, by doing things that are easy.

People who ride bikes are happy people, kinder people.  It doesn’t matter how fast they are riding, what sort of bike is between their legs, whether they are on a road, a paved path, or gnarly trail.  Biking people are swell people.  I’m glad to know them.