Before someone calls CPS on this blog, please know that we know this isn’t okay. How is a bike blog supposed to flourish, left all alone in the dark while we live it up on two legs? The excuses: we’re busy! The lad is starting up about 1200 start-ups, and my work is its own special kind of special right now. Also, we have actual living things to nourish, like this guy;
Of course, if this dog had his way we’d spend 23.15 hours a day on the couch and .45 smelling butts, so we’re trying not to let him call the shots too much. In fact, we just wrote up our 2012 to-do lists and butt-smelling didn’t even make the top 10. Bike-riding did, though, so stay tuned!
A word of advice, so that you may not suffer as I have done. If you go on a really beautiful but steep hike and wake up the next day feeling sorta sore, and someone suggests going on a 60-mile “recovery ride” to stretch out the gams, DO NOT DO THIS. It’s a really bad idea, and you will be forced to curse out loud as you feebly pedal that last five miles home. You should probably just go to a matinee instead.
I went to a class with a new yoga instructor on Sunday and it was super inspiring. Lately I’ve been lulled into an easy, relaxing routine with an instructor who is very sweet and earnest but entirely too careful, which is not what I need. The new one was loud and high-energy and encouraged us to get off our mats and move around, way outside our comfort zones. THIS is what I need. “Go out into the world,” she kept saying as she made us partner up and touch!! strangers!! “The world needs you!” At the beginning of class everyone looked shy and vaguely horrified, but by the end we were all smiling, and I was relaxed on a level that way surpassed the physical. That’s what I need. I also need a lot of money, so I can go on a yoga adventure to India! The person who put together the amazing trip to Mexico earlier this year is leading a three-week retreat to India next February and it sounds all kinds of awesome. I had pretty much figured it was out of my league, but it looks like the lad might’ve found me some freelance work that could earn some travelin’ dough, so maybe it’s meant to be?? We’ll see…
I’m sorry to report that the Jamis and I have drifted apart. Irreconcilable differences, I’m afraid. I figured there would be a long, awkward breakup period where I’d have to avoid its morose gaze whenever I walked by it in the garage, but luckily it sold pretty much as soon as we put it on Craigslist, so yay! Next up, and this one will be a little harder for me—I’m dumping the Surly. I’ve been trying to ignore the fit issues with that bike for quite awhile, but last weekend’s brutal century made it pretty clear we don’t have a future together. Don’t feel bad, though—the lad is a really good matchmaker, and he already introduced me to this beauty:
Her name is Pearl, she’s a Salsa Casseroll, and I’m pretty sure we’re going to grow old together. And yes, the lad is really, really jealous, though happy that I’m able to keep up with him again—this bike is nice and speedy, and quite a bit lighter than the Surly.
We’re trying to figure out what to call ourselves now that we’re almost Surly-less. We’re going to have to re-brand this whole blog! Maybe this should be the new slogan:
Today it was hot! hot! hot! To celebrate not having to wear sweaters we went on a long, beautiful ride through Snohomish, Sultan and Monroe. After skirting a murderous pothole by millimeters and braving a shoulderless bridge in HWY 2 traffic I was feeling pretty cocky, but then we turned onto Mann Road and there it was — the Skykomish River. I don’t know what I ever did to the Skykomish River, but it has a history of trying to kill me. I spent a lot of time on its banks as a kid and we used to be friends:
Me & my sister & ponchos, down by the river.
But then one day it turned homicidal and tried to carry my tiny toddler self away. Luckily my dad caught me by the toe and I lived to tell the tale. When I’m around rivers I never forget who’s boss, and that goes double for the Skykomish. Even as I’m marveling at its gorgeous green expanse and peaceful, bird-chirping beauty, I’m imagining that breathless feeling of being pulled under and not even having the option of putting your foot down to ground yourself. When you’re inside your house and your car and your office it’s so easy to forget what a frail, breakable species we are, but when you remember it’s a magical thing. I think that’s what I love the most about biking and hiking, and the Skykomish River.
I flew home from Mexico last Monday, and boy were my arms tired! Seriously—arms, legs, brain, everything was just wonderfully exhausted. The trip was made up of moments I can’t even find words to describe the right way—hours of yoga every day, snorkeling with sea lions, investigating an amazing new landscape, intense massage therapy from a self-described witch doctor, mind-melding with a group of strangers who turned out to be smart and hilarious and exactly who I would’ve chosen to share the experience—but right now I’m thinking about the morning meditation. We’d walk through the warm sand up to a dune, with mountains on one side and sea on the other, and sit in silence, exploring the ridiculousness of our own minds. I can still feel the sun heating my back and the soles of my feet and hear the birds and bugs and waves that get so loud when your eyes are closed and all you’re doing is processing. It actually felt a lot like it does when you’re well into a long bike ride, and the endless pedaling lulls you into a state of relaxation that, if you let it, opens you up to a whole new level of sensory experience.
Morning meditation at home is a much different experience, with a cat head-butting my leg and a refrigerator cycling on and off, but it’s still a pretty amazing exercise. Just acknowledging the ridiculousness, appreciating it and letting it go.
It snowed all day, but that’s okay — in a couple of weeks, me and this sun hat are going places:
The vacation countdown is on—and just in time, too. Not much outside cycling lately, but the lad and I have been going to spin class, which is something. Today it was something else—we went to a new instructor who had a really disconcerting form of aggro/encouragement tourettes. She didn’t actually tell us what to do at any point, but randomly barked out things like “Take it to the top!” which, if you are familiar with spin class, usually means turning the resistance all the way up. But I think she meant something else, because a couple of minutes later she’d yell “Turn it up!” Maybe her bike was the Spinal Tap version that went up to eleven? But then she’d say “All the way!” and I had no idea what the heck to do. Also: the soundtrack. I have a friend who teaches spin and she puts a ton of time into picking the music, so I hate to poopoo other people’s choices. But…The Cure?? for spin class??? I just have no idea how anyone could think that’s a good idea. So, poopoo.
The other instructors at our gym have been fantastic, though. Two of them are clearly cyclists themselves, and their routines revolve around rolling hills, long climbs and things that actually happen on a bike, which is nice. Not as nice as actually being outside, but nice enough until the snow melts.