Monday, May 11, 2015

Meet The Beavs

Eight ladies descended on Champoeg Park, expecting to ride through slog and hail on our Fourth Annual Tour de Beavers.  We headed south through the sunny Willamette Valley, stopping on the way to drink champagne and pose for silly pictures, eat and drink and be merry in Salem, and finally relax at a posh hotel in Corvallis.  The next day, we woke up to do it again in reverse, the entire time reveling in our meteorological good fortune.

There was Trish, light and fast.  A physical therapist and smart cookie, she gave me helpful career advice.

Then Susan, also speedy.  Susan and I share similar hair and she announced she had finally figured hers out, then helped me figure mine out.

Sherri was absent due to injury, so we poured some out for her at the start of each day, and also at the champagne stash; hidden behind the same tree from the first Tour de Beavers.

Heidi spins a good yarn and even brought her knitting along.  She told how she recently learned to pee off the bike, without stopping and without making a mess.  True story.

Jennifer, young but so strong, and good to draft.  I need to make her a buddy flap so I can follow her around Portland.

Michelle, steady atop her orange CoMotion, complete with couplings.  She's a kitchen sink packer and the yin to my minimalist yang.

Linda led.  Also on my Outback team, Linda was our head planner and champagne stasher.  We'd be lost without her, quite literally.

The scent of a passing clover field in bloom reminds me of meeting MaryJean, several years ago now.  I quizzed her the next day on this reminiscent scent and she knew the right answer right away.

We started out as friends and acquaintances and even strangers, but all ended up as fast friends.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Ride Around Clark County

The Vancouver Bicycle Club's annual Ride Around Clark County century felt like coming home.  My involvement with this spectacular local club has fallen by the wayside, a casualty of so many other rides on the calendar.  Many people recognized me, and I grabbed a lot of hugs from a lot of good old friends, which felt great.  But it's not just the people that make it feel like home.

It's the roads.  These roads beg me to ride them.  They beckon me to push my personal speed limit.  Rollers seem to be everyone's favorite type of road, and there are no two alike.  The many variables include sight line distance, tarmac quality, length and angle of climb, etc (lots of etcetera).  But they all have one thing in common - they all go up and they all go down.

I stopped midway up one hill because my gears were clunking and my breath was panting.  I shoved a candy bar in and heard some dude say "slowpokes" as he rode by.  What the heck is wrong with people?  I remounted and wound Spooky up to catch this jerk.  Thanks to this lovely ti bike, I spun up quickly and caught them quite handily.

"Oh, it's you guys".  The Texan, and Derek from the Wheelmen.  Of course it wasn't some stranger calling me a slow poke.  Guess I have a hair trigger when it comes to accusations about bike speed, or lack of it.  Derek mentions he's going to shift down and let me go ahead, because he's out of shape.  My hair trigger rears its head again and I challenge him to race me to the top.

We match each other's pace for several breaths.  The hill would not relent, and neither would he.  He was slowly slipping ahead of me.  It's maybe twenty more yards to the top, maybe more; emotion and fatigue color measurement.  I had a tiny moment of awareness that I could push just a little harder.  So I did. And I caught him.  Passed him quickly and turned back in time to see him grimace.  I returned the look and stuck my tongue out and continued up.  Damn, it felt good.

The whole day felt good.  Looking down to check which ring I'm in, I see the blur of the asphalt underneath my pretty ti frame, and my standard cockpit with bell and computer and basket and sparkle sticker atop the stem.  Everything looked crystal clear and extra colorful.  There were many of those magic little moments that I always try to save up for a rainy day.