downtown Portland

Ghost Town Ride

The warm weather streak is continuing in Portland and I got another opportunity to ride my bike to work. I prepared a little bit better this time. It had also been warm for about a week so I figured that arm warmers were all I needed instead of my cycling jacket. It was 52 degrees Tuesday morning, last week my morning commute was 48 degrees.

Michael kindly helped me with breakfast and pumped my tires for me! Queen treatment! It was really helpful because I was running a little late that morning. I set out a few minutes later than I wanted and for the first 1/2 mile regretted not wearing my jacket.

Luckily I warmed up as soon as I hit the first few hills of my commute. This particular commute I got stuck at two lights because there wasn’t enough traffic and the sensors couldn’t detect me on the bike. This is one of my pet peeves about commuting by bike.

I enjoyed my morning commute a great deal. Traffic was light. The weather was warm. My body was feeling really good. I just enjoyed it. I made my way through Sellwood and then picked up the Springwater. Unlike last time, the Springwater was enjoyable. I wasn’t biking into a wall of wind resistance.

The city seemed to be a ghost town. There was hardly any other cyclists out for some reason. The Springwater was nearly empty. The Esplanade loop downtown was eerily quiet. I made it downtown and headed to work.

Despite getting stuck at a few lights, I made it to work pretty quickly. Check out my stats for the morning:

Pretty good if you ask me! I’m happy with my time and average speed. I have a lot of stops before I get to the Springwater trail so I doubt I will ever be any faster than that.

Morning Stats:
Time: 53 minutes
Calories Burned: 540
Mileage: 11.71

You know what else? I’m already itching to start commuting twice a week. Unfortunately the weather forecast for next week looks like rain again so back to Spin I think.

Afternoon Commute

Another warm one! But it was a pleasant ride home. I’m really glad that the Morrison Bridge is open again because that’s how I prefer to go home. It’s a quicker route out of downtown and there’s barely anyone on the bridge but me. Shooosh, don’t tell any other cyclists out there.

Once I’m on the other side of the river, it’s easy sailing for the most part. The route I take to the Springwater is not the best one because the roads are just AWFUL. It’s a very bumpy ride.

The sun felt nice and there was a comfortable breeze on the way home. I made it to Sellwood in no time at all and headed home. My new route is pretty scenic; I pass by a few farms on the way home.

It’s funny because my route home is just a tad shorter than the morning. I guess going over the Steel Bridge in the morning adds more distance than I thought. I also burn less calories on the way home (which is also weird because I feel like it’s uphill on the way home). Here’s the afternoon graph:

Afternoon Stats:
Time: 46 minutes
Calories Burned: 479
Distance: 10.49 
Average Speed: 13.46 mph
Fastest Speed: 25.15 mph

Total Mileage for the Day: 22.2

I’m so happy that my first few commutes have been so great (knock on wood). I am considering adding a second day a week already. I don’t need time to recover and have felt great the day after.

Another bonus to commuting to work on my bike: it frees up my evenings for fun things. It’s amazing just how much time going to the gym takes and I just want to enjoy my free evenings.

QUESTION: How is your fitness changing with the season changes?

Why I Dislike Fitness Classes

The biggest reason why I dislike fitness classes is the schedule. It’s usually too difficult for me to get to the classes in time. It tends to add extra stress and anxiety in my life that I just don’t need.


On Thursday I planned on going to another Spin Class. I’d tried to do it since the first time I went and the schedule just never worked for me. I was getting off work Thursday with enough time to get to the gym for the class–if there weren’t riots in the street downtown.


I had 1 hour to take a bus out of downtown, get to my car and drive across town to the gym to make it to Spin. Normally that would be enough time. But it was kind of like a war zone in downtown Portland yesterday. Streets were being diverted by motorcycle cops, news crews were everywhere, there were tons of people marching and the groups were splintering off. The MAX and bus service was massively delayed and they weren’t allowing people into downtown.

I ended up bus-hopping and finally walked to just get out of downtown. I had doubts that I would ever make the class. I finally got to the my car after over 30 minutes (usually it takes 15). The traffic was pretty light on the eastside so I made it to the gym with 5 minutes to change!

The routine was different this time. I liked it! It was a routine of hill climbs that was a bit different than the last routine with hill intervals. This time we spent about 8 seconds in the saddle on the climb, then standing for 8 seconds, then back in the saddle and so on. Just when you got comfortable in one position you were hopping up and sitting down again. It was a sweat-inducing, intense workout.

I was so glad I made it to the class! My thighs were burning from the hills (but I’ve yet to be sore the day after a Spin Class–maybe I need to push myself more?). After class I headed home and made a VERY quick dinner I wanted to share here.

Fastest Tortilla Soup Ever

from Spark People

Servings: 10   |   Calories: 141


1 can Fat Free Refried Beans

1 Can Chicken Broth

1 Can Corn

1 Can Black Beans (rinsed)

1 Can Diced Tomatoes (Rotel with Chilies)


Rinse the black beans and pour everything into a pot. Cook until refried beans are no longer thick and the soup is hot.

Variations: Add chicken, chopped onion, taco mix, lime juice.


Seriously–the fastest dinner I’ve ever made. It was the perfect dinner for after the gym. I got home and Michael was on the bike trainer finishing his workout. Another reason I liked this recipe: I was able to clean out 4 cans from the pantry!

It didn’t take long at all to make this soup. I added some taco seasoning to the pot but not too much since I wasn’t sure how the seasoning would change the flavors.

I wanted to turn the soup into a tortilla soup but realized we were out of chips (boo). So I toasted us some bagel thins to go with the soup.

I topped the soup with some shredded cheese and dinner was served!

Michael liked the dinner a lot (always a bonus when the partner comments dinner is great!). I would definitely make this again and I’d add some chicken and crushed up tortilla chips.

QUESTION: How do you fit in fitness classes? What’s your favorite “quick” dinner?