bike rides

Solo Cycling

Saturday was supposed to be “long bike ride day” for Michael and me. Unfortunately, Michael was feeling under the weather so he stayed home. I didn’t really feel comfortable doing the 40 mile loop by myself. It’s not that I couldn’t physically do it myself, but the loop goes through a few parts of town that are a bit sketchy and I’d hate to have something go wrong with my bike out there with no one with me. I decided I would still go for a ride, I just wouldn’t do the loop.

Michael and I had breakfast together at a cafe in Sellwood (bagels with cream cheese and lox) and then I saddled up. I started out doing my commute until I got to the Springwater trail and then I headed east. It was similar to the route that we took Labor Day weekend. This time, I didn’t stop for a burger. 🙂

It was a nice hot day and my body felt so good! I didn’t have the saddle soreness I had the previous ride and didn’t have any lower back discomfort (that had also returned after my weeklong break). For the middle part of my ride on the trail, I apparently was playing Leap Frog with another pair of cyclists. I was much faster than them and I’d pass them, then they would catch up to me when I was stopped at a light and pass me. A few times the woman actually said, “I’m going to go around you”…why? They were pretty slow, so slow that when I was stuck behind them I didn’t have to peddle. So then I would pass them and zip on ahead, leaving them in the dust. I have no idea why they were insisting on playing that game but I was glad when they turned off the trail and I didn’t have to play anymore. 😛

I rode east as far as I wanted to go and then stopped for a snack.

I ate the little 90 calorie pack of raisins, drank a bunch of water and then decided to turn around. I’d been biking for about an hour and while I could have physically gone longer, my phone battery was quickly diminishing and I didn’t want to get stuck out there with a dead phone. Just in case. Remember to be safe. I was safe and even carried my pepper spray since I was out alone on the trail.

I turned around and took the I-205 bike path home and made pretty good time the way back despite being in a head-wind every direction I went that day. Here’s how I did:

That put me in at just under 65 miles for the first week back after vacation. I was really satisfied with that and glad I went out even though I was doing it solo. After I cleaned up a bit, Michael and I got sucked into watching the rest of Season 1 of Game of Thrones (I’m on book 4 now) and then went out to dinner at East Burn. He had a Groupon so dinner was cheap!

Apparently it was Baconfest that day–how did we miss that?!

We sat in the cool little “floating” seats in the front of East Burn (it’s kind of like sitting on a porch swing while eating dinner) and ordered beers: the Mojo IPA (the Nitro beer I liked so much last time I was there). Mmm frothy and strong.

Since neither of us had really had lunch (and I had biked off 900 calories that day and was ready to eat my arm) we ordered an appetizer. The calamari wasn’t my favorite. It had a spicy mustard aioli sauce on it, which was the only saving grace to it. I don’t know why I didn’t like it very much but it just didn’t have a lot of flavor and I didn’t like the breading they used. Maybe it was cornmeal? It just reaffirmed that Jake’s is the best calamari in Portland.

Michael ordered the Lobster Mac n’ Cheese. I had one bite and it was tasty–not too much cream but still rich tasting.

I ended up getting the BBQ Chicken with a green salad and blue cheese dressing and their potato salad. I loved my dinner! The blue cheese was just flavorful enough without being overpowering like blue cheese often can be. The salad was delicious and the potato salad was one of the best I’ve had. Potato salad isn’t something I usually like but they did this right.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the BBQ sauce, it didn’t taste like a whole lot. But maybe I’m just spoiled with Michael’s AWESOME BBQ sauce. I will say this about the chicken: it was cooked perfectly and I did not need a knife to eat it. The meat fell off the bone.

With our bellies full and happy, we headed home for more Game of Thrones and thankfully an early night to bed.

QUESTION: What kind of mac n’ cheese do you prefer? 

I Used to Hate Mornings

I used to hate mornings.

I’m really not a morning person. If I don’t have to use an alarm to get up, my normal sleeping pattern seems to be 11pm until about 9am. I’ve always been this way. Getting up at 6am to go to work has never been an easy thing for me. And it’s nearly impossible for me to get up early to workout in the morning. The only time I manage to do that is when I have an early appointment and go into work late. It’s just not for me.

That has changed. I don’t hate mornings anymore. In fact, I often looked forward to them. I learned to like mornings from biking to work. How could this be?

It’s so quiet and peaceful out there on the road in the morning. The traffic is light, often times there aren’t any cars on the road for parts of my ride. There also aren’t a lot of other people out. It’s almost relaxing. I bike to work, enjoying the cool morning air, the sunrise, and I get my workout done first thing. It feels so great!

I take the time to smell the flowers.

I also get a chance to see the wildlife early in the morning. A few times on my commute, I spotted a beautiful deer next to the Springwater Trail. It was a shocking and cool experience to be that close.

I’ve seen a lot of other things, too. One morning I rode past some tiny swallows playing in a puddle (cute!) and there are also some feral cats living under a bridge on the Springwater trail. Someone has created a little sanctuary for them with a bunch of cat shelters and every ride I get to see the cute kitties.

I’ve also seen some not so cute things. One morning I was biking on the esplanade downtown and a creature ran in front of my bike and slipped into the river. I had no idea what the HELL that thing was! It looked like this:

It was a cross between a seal and like, a badger? Thank goodness for Facebook because my friends informed me it was a Nutria. *shudder*

Despite that, I like the peacefulness of the mornings.

Monday –

I usually don’t bike on Mondays but thought I’d change up my schedule a bit to get more training in. I have to say, I did not feel very good about getting up early Monday! I may be getting better at liking mornings, but this one was particularly hard. Until I got on the bike. Once I was biking to work, I enjoyed it and was glad I pulled my butt out of bed.

That happy, glowing feeling was short lived. When I got to work, I realized I had a flat tire.

There wasn’t anything clearly wrong with it, no punctures, and it was a slow leak, but still…Flat, flat, flat. 🙁

Wednesday –

Luckily my bike ride to work on Wednesday was not a repeat of Monday! No flat tire.  I successfully made it to work and home again. That’s always a good day. Morning Stats:

My morning ride was nice and the weather was cool, peaceful and relaxing. I was glad I got up early to do it, even though my energy levels this week have been in the gutter. Sleeping in sounded so much better…but I did it.

Afternoon Stats:

Finally, the best part about learning to love mornings: I get my workout in even before my day starts!

QUESTION: Are you a morning workout person? Have you tried to change that?