Leaden skies, leaden legs? Check. Let’s go for a ride!
Today was going to be solo century/adventure day. Hop on the Poprad and see where it leads you, that sort of thing. Interestingly it led me to this trash can, just off the Sammamish River Trail:
What’s the universe trying to tell me? Can’t the universe just send a text? Something like ‘yr meant to do ____’?
As I said, leaden skies. Rained pretty much the whole day, just a light sprinkle kind of rain. Only justified a rain jacket a few times, but still, what is up with this rain? (all the Seattleites say Amen!) And what is up with this temperature, sort of too chilly for short-sleeves, but too muggy for long… like anti-Goldilocks temperature?? (all the Seattleites say Amen!).
Leaden legs. I knew within a few blocks of home there was no way I’d pull off 100 miles today. Yesterday’s personal trainer session had been brutal on my chest, arms and back… the trainer had applied the concept of ‘overload’ with gleeful torture… my whole body felt as bruised as my elbows, that I bruised while doing pushups…
However, this was adventure day with the SurlyLady at home chilling and therefore this was my chance to not take a map or a consequence and reconnoiter and loiter around. As such, I finally, and I mean finally, saw the trailhead for the Tolt Pipeline Park trail leading off the Sammamish River Trail. It’s only an extremely wide double-track gravel and dirt line that goes straight up to the nearby hill, and straight up that hill, in a very clearly dirt/gravel looking kind of path. I can’t believe I’d never seen it before… guess my mind wanders a lot on the Sammamish (note: we had simply stumbled on it the other day, at a higher altitude).
So I rode along to the foot of the hill, looking up at the awesome verticality, as nervous as Galahad approaching a castle filled with virgins and visions of the Grail. Feel free to mentally insert some Terry Gilliam-influenced paper cutout talking dolls from on high.
No way am I going to take that hill with road slick tires in this mud (I said to the Poprad, who snorted and tossed a handlebar in response) and so I scooted down the paved road southward, and then up the hill at that roundabout intersection, keeping vigilant for an opportunity to cut back over and catch the Tolt. And, not too far up the hill, there it was: an elevated walkway spanning a depression/valley, right next to the pipe that’s part of the titular. Dismounted for the rough stuff under the bridge and then I was on the Tolt! And immediately slowed to a muddy halt. Whoa. Not so fun on a road bike in the mud. I fishtailed a few times but mostly sought out the relative safety of the gravel while avoiding all the walkers.
Alone, I had time to daydream a lot. I was thinking about the Hendrix CD I’d been listening to, and thinking about generational context. When I first heard that CD in college I remember thinking, what great songs, and man they rock! I can only imagine how mind blowing it must have been back in the day. It wasn’t mind blowing to me, in other words, but it was vintage and cool. For me, mind blowing was Sonic Youth tweaking that first song on Daydream Nation, Teenage Riot, and how when I first really got into it I pictured the four of them on a jungle gym thing and the bass and drums sitting on top of the monkey bars sort of swinging back and forth in tempo and Lee and Thurston each off doing their thing but also in lock step, little acrobatic swings on the ends of the monkey bar… just this sort of sympathetic chaos and what the hell is that tuning all rolled up in a sort of messy post-T-Rex/Hendrix snot rag kind of thing. That song, and Total Trash, just used to make me so happy and charged up and ready to change the world! That, I thought, must have been what college kids back in the 60s and early 70s thought of Hendrix, as they listened to the vinyl on their oversized headphones. As I thought about these generational analogs, I moved on somehow to Elliott Smith. In my mind, Either/Or was my generation’s equivalent to CS&N (see below) or Simon & Garfunkle’s Bridge Over Troubled Water. I started playing some of the songs in my head, thinking how I love how the drums come in a bit of the way into Pictures of Me, the doubled-vocals on that song and the self-harmonies on Say Yes, how genius and exciting it was to hear those back in the late 90s… I even wrote a record review for it for a weekly paper where I worked.
Then Bear Creek Road, then Paradise Valley Road:
As I cruised along at a good clip I thought, I need some motivation. What’s my motivation? I looked around for a director. The Poprad flicked an STI shifter, used to hearing me talk to myself and to a non-existent director and/or editor. Hey I know why not try some of those there interval thangs? I got out of the saddle and tried to up the ante but eh, just wasn’t feeling it. I needed motional if not emotional motivation. Something to drag me all the way to Snohomish, and help me rationalize getting a cheezburger at Pilchuck Drive In… maybe something like those (not one but two) groups of pacelining roadies who just whizzed past! I quickly scooted and took up Tail End Charlie and followed them into the Maltby area where, inexplicably, in spite of rocking some belted 32s and a full Carradice I powered along with the leading pair, wheweee! I was on a roll, averaging mid 20s all the way into that last lap before Snohomish, even blazing along up that Connelly Road hill, all in order to make it to the castle which held visions of a my own Hamburger Holy Grail:
Sat down, made conversation with bored local teens who seemed to veer between wanting to laugh at me in my get up and genuinely curious about how much my large iced tea cost (ah, to be a teenager again!)… so I Fakebooked, checked some email, chugged the cheezburger, stood up and… oh crap. I felt like my real age suddenly (42). This is going to be a grind home, isn’t it? The Poprad waggled its fender flaps and looked for a bit of sugar.
The way back from Snohomish back to the Woodinville-terland is comprised of one looooong elevation gain. I spun up the Broadway hill, up to Maltby again, across the highway, and back down Paradise. Then right on the Woodinville-Duvall road, but not too far, as I took the 194th Ave turnout to avoid all the shopping sprawl (a very pleasant suburban backway with forested hill on one side and dreamy old-school suburban domestics on the right), then a right on 165th and past the marshland area and then up, up, up more elevation to the Woodinville/Bear Creek plateau then the exciting downhill slalom course leading back to the Sammamish Trail and then to Lake Forest Park where I stopped at the Farmer’s Market and I picked myself up a couple of Farmers, along with a half-dozen Farmer’s Daughters:
I got a pound of ‘spray-free’ cherries and a pair of pears and high-tailed it home, where the shower and smells of wonderful crock-pot cooking greeted me in a way that, in this generational context daydream day, full of bikes and music and iPhone pictures and modern cyclotourism, provided comfort affinity-tones along the lines of basics, such as warmth, food and shelter, boon companions for centuries of weary travelers.