Monday, January 17, 2011

riding for its own sake

Yesterday, after yoga class with Sweetie, I needed a longer ride. I hadn't ridden my favorite Smith & Bybee Lakes loop in almost a year, and the weather forecast called for highs in the 50's and light showers. Perfect weather.

I enjoyed a lovely, medium-paced ride on the Rivvy (the one converted to drops). At first it felt weird riding a 700c-wheeled bike again, and the handlebars felt sort of far away -- now that I've been riding the more compact, smaller-wheeled All-Rounder every day as my regular bike the Rivvy felt enormous -- but five miles into the ride I was used to it again and it felt fine.

The path along the Columbia Slough looked degraded, even chewed up in spots, and I was glad for having wider (32mm) tires) to handle the loose chunks and occasional potholes.

columbia slough bike/ped path

The sky was dramatic, all swirling clouds that moved fast overhead, with a breeze that gave a passing Cooper's hawk enough uplift to soar without moving a feather.



There were momentary drizzles mixed in with the breeze and since it was warm out it actually felt fine. Above the pathway at Smith & Bybee Lakes park, a parked string of railroad cars collected more rust.


I continued on along North Marine Drive, enjoying chevrons of winter geese and starlings in the sky interspersed with random seagulls here and there. It must've been raining harder at the coast. I skipped the little loop in and out of Kelley Point Park -- I had somewhere to be later and was already running a little behind with my photography stops -- but the feel of the mist on my cheeks and the purr of tires on wet pavement moved me forward as much as my spinning legs.

Finally, after looping around and riding past all the truck depots and plants (and sadly noticing where a couple of new depots had been built on formerly empty stretches of grassland) and pushing myself up the rise of the bridge over the north fork of the Columbia Slough, I could see the tall green spires of the St. Johns Bridge.

st. johns bridge

And ten minutes later, I was parking my bike in downtown St. Johns to order some lunch.
The remaining miles home were quiet and mellow. I finished my ride of 21 miles in a gentle but now steady drizzle. I noted the sky turning darker gray and birds flying away in search of shelter. I rolled up to my door and beat the heaviest of the rain by about twenty minutes, always a satisfying occurrence when it happens. This morning I awoke to the delicious feeling of a body made tired -- a good tired -- by a the first longer ride of the year.

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