Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Self portrait with the Brugmansia. It's giving us 10 blooms at
once! Never before has it done this!

This has been a brilliant summer...kind of like the never-ending
summers I remember as a kid. I think it seems longer
and more intense because I'm spending hours out on my
bike seeing the seasons of wildflowers blooming, smelling
the trees and earth, wind in my hair and all that. (Not really
all that.....I wear a helmet, so the last one's poetic license.)

Not to be overlooked, however, is the fact that this summer,
we're not swimming in a deep, choking pall of forest fire
smoke. For the past 3-4 years, every summer has been
blighted by weeks of acrid smoke from thousands of acres
of the state burning.
This summer?
Sunny mornings, enough rainy nights to make the garden
happy and sweet, clean air every day. Pretty amazing.

This summer's work has been some major rennovation
to our landscape. Bad drainage and sharp slopes made
the area around our house hard to get full use of. This is a
weedy "before" shot. (Why would I mow anything if a
bulldozer will do it for me?)

Here is the "after" shot. Now a new landscape
to play with! I have GRAND fantasies of sculpture
with flowering perennials planted around them,
slate walkways, cold-hardy flowering trees, berry
bushes, a greenhouse....

Right now it's a lot of open soil, just waiting for weed seeds
to float in and take up residence. I have to get down some
grass seed quickly......

And here is my new love, Sheila! She arrived about
a week ago and Fromage and I have been assembling
and adjusting her various parts and pieces to make
her fully road ready. I've been out on a few totally
blissful rides in the past week. She's aluminum, and
the transfer of power through her frame is SO different
than my steel mountain bike. On these maiden
voyages together, I'll be zipping along with her and look
down to see that regardless of the fact that I'm
putting in the same amount of pedalling energy as
with the MTB, Sheila is doing about 5 mph faster.
She is soooooo wonderful.
I seriously am in love with her.

When we first put her together, we had a couple of
days of rain. I just couldn't bear taking her out on
some icky, muddy ride first thing and getting her all
I sat on her in the kitchen, holding onto the countertop
with one hand and, listening to an audio book, spent
some wistful minutes just rolling her back and forth
with a light touch on the pedals......

Having two bikes has suddenly necessitated buying
two of lots of things...bottle cages, cyclometers, seats....

Turns out my dream saddle, the one that took me FOUR
YEARS to find, is obsolete and can't be purchased anywhere!
I have to switch my one special saddle from bike to bike
before every ride, then go through the tedium of getting
it back into the perfect height and tilt adjustment. Urgh!

Yesterday was a 31.6 mile ride with my new riding pal
(and great printmaker) Sara Tabbert. She and I have
the same cadence and pace, so training with her is
really fun. She's a tourer, not a racer, so like me, endurance
is the key. Another good thing is that Sara is interested in
my century ride goal and may do 1/2 of it with me...the
second leg of the trip which is the 60 miles from Fairbanks
to Chena Hot Springs.

What better idea than to end a century ride at a Hot Springs?
I am a genius.

(I plan to eat lunch halfway through the ride at an ice cream shop,
too.....most serious athletes swear by liquid nutrition, so I think
a thick strawberry milkshake is pretty darn clever thinking...ha, ha)

I've set a date about three weeks from now....I researched my planned
route, and it's about 114 miles, technically.....but I like the start and
end points for the ride, so I just have to adjust my training schedule
accordingly. (i.e., more miles......)

The day is slipping away and I'm tapping here at this computer.
Old Cat is sleeping next to it, drooling and groaning.
Gotta get my MTB ready for a ride tonight. I'm going on an 18+
mile women's ride with the Fairbanks Cycle Club. Should be
interesting to see what they're all about.....

Until next, faithful readers.
P.S. I LOVE comments.....


bike&beer said...

hey there, eero... i have been traveling SO much -- new orleans with bugheart, then rome for a conference on butterflies (and some sightseeing of course), then my first cycling event this year (about 200 miles -- blog postings about all of the above soon) -- that i feel like i came back to a whole new blog! all the biking! all the miles! the new bike!!! so exciting!!!! congratulations on your beautiful new bike, i hope you get many enjoyable miles from it. i am about to clock 12,000 miles on elle's odometer (since 2003), and i truly believe you will be up there -- and maybe pass me -- very soon :-)
more later... just wanted to say hello!

Eero said...

Hi B&B,
I look forward to hearing about your travels. 200 mile event? One single ride? Do tell!

Riverlark said...

Mazel tov, Eero!

BookGirl said...

E, Sheila is a beaut. And all that newly cleared land to work with. You have a lot of adventures ahead of you, girl!

bike&beer said...

the 200-mile event was over 3 days. it was supposed to be about 220 miles total (67-105-50), but my knee hurt, so i did 67-90-20. not bad, considering :-) oh, and i answered to your question about the 450-miler on my blog! cheers....

Jill said...

What a great bike!