sharing the road

Biking With My Buddy

I think it’s been like a month since I biked to work, or close to it! I was focusing more on running and then I had a knee flare-up that stopped a lot of activities for about a week and a half. Michael threw out his back last month and while he’s getting better it’s still not great. He hasn’t really biked much, either. He went from doing 100+ miles a week to none. He was starting small getting back into it and the other day we biked into work together.

We parked at the Park and Ride and rode in together. Even injured Michael is still faster than me. At one intersection Michael made it through the light before it changed but I didn’t. So I fell behind, party because I’m slow and partly because I was waiting for the light.

bike1

We rode through Sellwood and caught the Springwater Trail. I caught up with Michael and was able to draft off him for a little bit, so that was nice! It was pretty warm out–I was wearing arm warmers but really didn’t need them. It was humid and kind of gross out, actually.  The closer we got to downtown the more the clouds burned off and there were blue skies.

hawthorne

The Hawthorne Bridge was really crowded. I hate it when it’s that busy. At the end of the bridge Michael and I split off. He went to his office and I took the waterfront to mine. Here is the morning ride in:

bike2

It was a gross, sweaty, muggy ride in but I’m glad I did it. I preemptively iced my knees just to be safe. I miss the old days when I was able to bike to work a few times a week and not have any issues. It was such a nice way to get to work and save some money on gas, stay fit, and free up my evenings…

bike3

The day warmed up and the skies were clear. Sunscreen sunscreen sunscreen!! I set out after work, crossed the Morrison Bridge and met Michael at the entrance to the Springwater Trail so we could bike the rest of the way to the Park and Ride together. But that wasn’t before I had a very negative encounter with a car who almost hit me downtown. At first the guy was stopped at the light in the MAX lane (which clearly states NO CARS) and he was trying to turn right on a one-way street. Then he backed up and moved to the proper lane, behind me. The light changed and he sped up around me, cutting me off and almost hitting me. I yelled at him that we was an asshole and he pulled over aggressively and asked what he did wrong. I said, “You cut me off and almost ran me over” and he said he didn’t then responded with “I’m a tourist.” Um, what? Does that mean you can’t follow basic rules of the road and common courtesy?! What a jerk!

Anyways, I met up with Michael, a little shaky from the experience and we biked together on the Springwater. He ended up going ahead of me once we got to Sellwood. I tried to go faster to keep up but that ended up irritating my knee so I backed off. Oh well.

bike22

pmbike

Wow, my morning and afternoon calories were almost the same! Total Miles: 14.64 and Total Calories Burned: 709. After we got cleaned up we decided to go out for dinner. I had planned on being “good” and making something healthy for dinner but the prospect of cooking with a broken dishwasher and I was hungry and gave in easily…

mexican2
We went to Iron Horse in Sellwood, one of our favorites. The service is always great, the food is good and there are healthier options. It’s not your typical greasy Mexican restaurant with congealed cheese and super fatty foods. The portions are also fairly reasonable. I ordered a Boneyard IPA–my favorite beer!

mexican1

I ordered the special. It was some salmon encrusted with chile (so basically blackened salmon), saffron rice, a small salad and black beans. The salmon was topped with a chile sour cream sauce. Everything tasted so great! I ate half of my dinner and saved the rest for leftovers. When we got home Michael worked on removing our old dishwasher so they can take it away when the new one arrives.

popcisle

I played with Bella outside and then enjoyed a 100 calorie creamsicle. It was so good! It tasted just like those little dixie cups of orange and vanilla ice cream I used to get as a kid. I loved that it was only 100 calories, too. The next day my knee was “ok” but not 100%. I had an amazing massage to help work out the kinks and tightness.

A Peach of a Century, Finale

If you missed part 1, you can read it here.

After the first rest stop, the route wound through the town of Scio, over some bridges, across the Santiam River and into farm land. It was miles and miles of corn fields and recently tilled land. There were very few trees in this part of the route and because it was down in the valley there was just WIND. Wind, head wind, side wind, unfortunately no wind at our back making it any easier to ride!

This was the most difficult part of the metric century for me. I was feeling slow, lethargic, my lower back was starting to ache, I was getting a bit saddle sore, my neck felt fatigued. It was just hard. We were working so much harder than we had to because of that damn wind. I stopped a lot during the next 15 miles. I just had to. If I didn’t, I think I would have felt the mental fizzle and lost all of that excitement and fire that was motivating me to the finish line.

We were riding in the middle of nowhere, ironically not too far my aunt’s farm. I recognized a lot of the landmarks and road signs because of summers spent down on her farm when I was a kid. We rode over a covered bridge, which was really pretty.

Mentally I used the tactic of denial to get through this stretch. I refused to let myself dwell on the discomfort or pains I was feeling. None of it was so bad that I was miserable but it was definitely difficult and uncomfortable. Michael and I stopped under a tree in the shade to reload on water and apricots and just rest for a few minutes. I asked him how close we were to the last rest stop. “Have we at least gone 30 miles so far?” Yes we had. But not by much more. Okay. I can do this.

The last ten miles or so to the rest stop were hard but I made it. I was ready to eat lunch, too. The last rest stop was at the Pioneer Park in Stayton, at mile 43.5. That meant we had about 20 miles to go to the finish.

The food was set up in another covered bridge in the park, right next to the creek. They had the same food that was at the first rest stop, but also the sandwiches for lunch, too. You had to pre-order them and I’m glad we did. I needed something more substantial than trail mix, bagels and cream cheese.

I ate most of my ham sandwich, which wasn’t exceptional in any way but who cares at that point? I’d burned around 1900 calories by mile 43 and was ready to EAT. It came with Sun Chips and I ate 3/4 of the bag, and a Snickerdoodle cookie which I devoured all of. We let lunch sit a little bit (but not long enough for my liking) and then got back on the bikes. The thirty minute lunch break was a good rest. I felt like I got a second wind after lunch and the last 20 miles were MUCH easier for me.

DON’T GET CONFUSED! Make sure you take the right route! That could be awful! Like I said, I was feeling much better after lunch (despite a too-full tummy) and made better time. My body felt better, too.

There was still a heavy wind but it wasn’t as miserable as the other part before lunch. The back roads were pretty quiet and it was such a scenic route that I just enjoyed myself. I thought about how happy I was that Michael and I were able to do the event, and how happy I was that my body was relatively good.

See! I’m smiling! More cornfields. More farms. GENTLE rolling hills…at least for awhile. Then we saw came around a bend and saw this:

I think my exact words were: “Are you kidding me? COME ON!”  I mean really, who puts the hardest hills at the last 10 miles of the event?! That’s just mean. I saw the hill coming so I had plenty of time to dread it, anticipate it, and get nervous butterflies in my stomach. I huffed and I puffed and I made it up that hill without feeling awful! I was really proud of myself. Michael and I took a little break at the top.

Thankfully, the next part was a downhill coast. I’ve never been more happy for a downhill descent. We were so so close to the end. The next part of the route was on a really busy road. The bike lane was pretty wide but the cars were going really fast. It made a little bit nervous. Luckily there weren’t any crashes or anything (that I am aware of) during this event but when we first started out I did see a car almost clip one of the cyclists and that was scary.

We arrived at the starting point happy and accomplished! Michael reached out and held my hand for a second while we rode into the college parking lot. I had a big smile on my face and I felt SO HAPPY that I ended my summer on a high note. We did it!!! 5.5 hours of actual riding time! (I didn’t stop my watch during our lunch break.) It was a little slower than I had predicted we’d be but that damn wind slowed us down.

Stats:

Time: 5.5 hours
Miles: 64.2
Calories Burned: 2768

How was I feeling? Awesome! I felt even better once we changed out of our spandex! My body felt really great after I got off the bike. I was expecting to be stiff or sore but I wasn’t. After we changed and locked up our bikes, we grabbed our pie reward. You could choose Marionberry or Peach. It’s been years since I had Marionberry pie so that’s what I got. Michael got the peach. (I won’t lie, I was tempted to go back for a slice of the peach, but I resisted).

That pie was to-die-for.

Doesn’t that look good? After relaxing for a bit, we drove home. I was sweaty, sticky, sleepy and ready to be home. I took one of the best showers of my life, second only to the post-Hood to Coast shower–slathered on some Biofreeze and put on my compression tights while I relaxed. I felt awesome.

Dinner was simple. Michael grilled up some steaks, I steamed the last of our broccoli and made salads.

I also opened up a nice bottle of red wine that we got the last time we went wine tasting. I figured a nice bottle of wine was a good way to celebrate a good day! I had one glass of the red with dinner and it made me want to sleep. I may or may not have been in bed by 7:30 p.m. Sunday night!

This is what I wanted. I wanted to finish the summer with a happy fitness memory. Sure, it wasn’t the full 100 miles like I had hoped to do this year, but that doesn’t mean 64 miles is anything to sneeze at. I am proud of myself. I’m proud of Michael for doing it with me even though he wasn’t really in cycling shape (he’d been golfing and using the kettle bell more than cycling this summer). I was happy he was at my side to do the bike ride and that we both felt pretty good at the end!

QUESTION: Did you have a fitness event this summer? How did it go?