It was good to ride today.
It was one of those days when even the most headstrong Oregonians reached for their umbrellas. An unrelenting rain has decided to park itself over the valley, swelling the river and sending folks in the lower elevations searching for sandbags, just in case. The saturated ground and puddled streets are all but colorless under this dull gray sky. Water, water, everywhere. In other words, this was a perfect day for an authentically Oregon-style bike ride.
Hard rain adds its own challenges when you’re on a bike: visibility, road spray, braking. Add to these, a heavy-duty mountain bike I call “The Blue Beast.” It’s truly a force to be reckoned with. There are also those unforeseen challenges you face during a ride, like when the rain collected down inside my shoes and made pedaling heavier. Still you sort of know that in some way, a ride like this brings its own rewards. That was certainly true today.
Paradoxically, the farther this heavy bike and my sloshy shoes took me, the more weightless I began to feel. I had this overwhelming sense of gratitude just to be out there, in the pouring rain, on a ride. Legs, bike, rain, hills, heart, mind...all of these things are gifts and they worked together in just that way. Had I not ridden today, I would have missed some valuable lessons.
Through town, over the Union Street Bridge, and a quick roll through Wallace Park. Riding past that little wooded area along the river, up came an overpowering sweet smell of a pine forest, right there in the city. Another gift.
Up the hills, past the two homes that held most of my childhood memories. First came Arrow Street, then Clarmount. Lots of great recollections of friends, funny stories, great siblings, amazing parents. More gifts.
Then, a long lazy pause at a coffee shop where I met up with Mrs C before riding back home. Robust coffee, laid back atmosphere, a good book. Please, don’t wake me up from this dream...
Wind pushed back at me as I headed out of town; all the way home, the pelting rain slapped against my face. The sensation was actually invigorating. Another reason to be thankful.
The riding gear is now draped over the bike, drying out for the next ride. I stepped into the house, prepared to be thankful all over again for the people who I call my family.
Yep, it was good to ride today.