Sunday, March 11, 2012

still going long, only slower

Yesterday Sweetie and I went to a birthday brunch at a friend's house. After two hours of ovely conversation punctuated by a plateful of taty treat -- including a choclate cake that Sweetie had made for our friend -- we went home and I decided I needed a bike ride. So I changed clothes, got out the [original] Rivvy, and headed off to check out my Smith & Bybee Lakes loop.

I hadn't tried this 20-mile route since early last fall, when the bridge over the Columbia Slough had been closed for rebuilding. I hadn't known at the time and was forced to turn around and go back the way I came. This time, I checked ODOT road reports before leaving the house, and learned that the construction had been completed in December.

It was raining lightly but steadily when I left the house. I didn't care -- it was in the 50's and I needed to spin my legs. The stress of my work transition was getting to me and I'd had enough of staying indoors waiting for things to warm up. I was conscious of feeling much slower than on previous rides along this loop; but everything felt nice and smooth as I pedaled past Portland Meadows and turned onto the Columbia Slough bike-ped path. Winding my way past Heron Lakes, I saw cormorants, mergansers and a huge blue heron out on the water. A few hardy souls played golf in the rain -- if you don't go outside when it's raining in Portland, you will end up spending an awful lot of your time indoors.

I reveled in the relative silence -- at 2 pm on a Saturday afternoon, almost no one was on Old Portland Road as I crossed and headed into the Smith & Bybee Lakes Wildlife Area. I kept going, and felt myself warming up. Took the loop along North marine Drive, crossed the bridge over the Slough where Marine Drive becomes North Lombard, and followed the long loop all the way around and over the Burgard Street bridge into downtown St. Johns. After stopping for a cup of coffee I rode back along North Willamette and headed home.

This loop used to take me about two hours, including a short coffee stop. This time, with the rain and my lack of training, it took almost three. But I felt really glad for having gone, and will do it again soon.


Kent Peterson said...

Nothing wrong with going slow. I'm finding my best rides are the ones where I'm just having fun riding, whatever that pace happens to be.

bikelovejones said...

I sense an evolution taking place in my relationship with the bicycle.

I find myself transitioning away from the kinds fo riding that feel like "training". I still commute by bike almost daily, though sometimes those are multi-modal trips; and as I focus so much of my time and energy on my career transition I find I have less to devote to racing. So far, as long as I still have time for these longer, liesurely rides, that feels totally okay.

And lately, as I grow more and more interested in cargo biking, I am inagining saving up for an electric assist unit to mount on the Surly for longer trips with my guitar and related gear. I
ve grown to see it less as "cheating" and more as extending the range of my cargo bike -- and my legs. So yeah, things are evolving and so far it feels okay.