I joined my colleagues Ron and Steve (pictured) for a good-sized loop south and west of Salem. Through Ankeny, Independence, Monmouth, Rickreall, back into Salem. 45 miles in all, but it felt more like 20! We had miles of empty road with postcard-perfect views and riding conditions the whole way.
I know I’ve said this before, but the Willamette Valley has got to be at the top of your list of places to ride. It’s got some of the best roads you’ll find anywhere. Not a lot of traffic, postcard views in every direction, even the pavement is smooth!
We rode through vineyards, orchards, wildlife refuge, farmlands...the common denominator everywhere is the color green. It’s so intense right now because we’ve only had rain and more rain all spring. The sunshine is a long-awaited gift, making all the colors just pop.
This blueberry farm (pictured) reminded me to mention...berry season has begun! The strawberries are on right now blueberries are a few weeks off yet. For the next several weeks, folks around here will all be going a little crazy over the local berries.
Personally, having dropped 40 pounds has revolutionized my riding. Last year it was so disheartening to come to a hill and know that I was going to fall farther and farther behind the rest of the pack. Today, I kept up with my buddies and was even in the lead a few times! Losing the weight has not been easy, but it’s definitely paying off. I'm still no "greyhound;" at 199 lbs I think I still have some weight to lose. But this is a 40-pound saddlebag I intend to leave behind.
The good weather is going to hold for at least a while...it's a great time for riding right now! Git on yer pedals, folks!