Saturday, January 15, 2011

Here's That Rainy Day

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.


Jessica said...

We've coined the term "Scuba-camping" around our house. I think you can guess what this activity looks like... Seems to me that you enjoy "scuba-biking". I might enjoy it if I didn't get the stripe of mud up my back. It makes wearing glasses really hard too. Glad you were able to enjoy your authentic Oregon riding experience!

Kelly Carlisle said...

Scuba-camping, eh? It conjures up a memory of Mrs C and me in our tiny tent at Ft. Stevens, getting pounded on all night by rain, soaked and freezing, defeated. At first light we started packing up to go home while the scent of bacon and eggs came wafting over from the RV in the next space. It was many years before we tried camping again!
Yeah, I can't figure out how to keep the glasses from fogging up. I wonder who has an answer for that.

bikelovejones said...

Oregon IS different, because people her understand that if you don't go out and play in the rain, your playtime is sharply curtailed.

After morning Yoga, I am looking forward to my own scuba-biking session.

Jessica said...

Yes, we have many scuba-camping stories to tell. Someday I'll share some with you. Most of them include babies or very small children. Don't know what we were thinking!