Friday, July 20, 2007

The bike, the wind, the storm...

Although a 60-70 mile ride was on my training schedule today,
I didn't get out early enough to get the entire thing done. I
told myself I'd do two 35 mile rides...but that didn't happen,
It was kind of a tough day for riding---I didn't have enough
to eat, and the temperature climbed to +85F. I just didn't
have the gumption to do my usual 35 mile loop...
plus, that loop is getting a little boring.

I decided that today was a day where ANY time on the
bike was good time. I did 30 miles at a good pace and just
tooled around town, exploring and letting my directional
whims drive me.

On the first 10-15 mile leg, I kept hitting a hard headwind
whenever I turned South. Luckily, I got to a point where
there is a long, straight stretch on a little-used road
behind the airport---headed North---where I got up to 18.5
mph, just coasting along with that lovely tailwind. I was
actually spinning inside the wind, suddenly finding that
I was riding in a pocket of silence---no wind rushing
past my ears that every cyclist hears all the time. Inside
the wind, going the same speed, and I heard only the
slight hum of my new chain ticking over on my new bike....
A real moment of bliss!

To tell a secret...I think of these as "sacred moments"
and am teaching myself to always acknowledge them when
they so mysteriously arrive...let myself feel the magic, you know?

A great view along my Airport circuit----there are
several yards with derelict planes in them. And why
does Eero like these things so much?

My Dad is an aircraft mechanic and I grew up in
and around his hangar. When I was a little girl, he
had several wrecked and old planes in his yard. A
couple of them were quite big (to a 4 year old) and
my sisters and I played in them endlessly, usually
taking turns being Pilot or Stewardess. Great fun!
So--I have a soft spot in my heart for old aircraft.

On a related note, I spent almost 10 years as a
documentary photographer, seeking out and shooting
b&w images of abandoned my love lost
things doesn't stop at aircraft....

At 30 miles, I still felt good and could have gone
farther, but for the past hour, I'd been watching a
storm gathering on the Northern horizon....

Time to head in before I got caught in it...

Tomorrow---hopefully 30-40 miles with new
cycling friends.

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.....