Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sometimes An Easy Pace Is Better

The Buena Vista Ferry--cyclists now pay $1 to ride, cash only.
After being sidelined by a nasty virus the last several days, it was nice to wake up and feel a little bit of energy come back. Today's 80-degree weather was perfect for a much-needed spin on the bike, even if I wasn't back to 100%.

The Flower Shop in Buena Vista
But did you know, there's an unspoken rule in cycling that if you've been sick, you can use your car to take your bike  to a flat area for riding? True! Just thought you might want to know that in case you need an excu--umm, have a good reason not to ride a big hill.  Oh, and there's no limitation on how long ago you might have been sick. Yes, you can quote this blog anytime you need. I got your back.
So, I brought the necessary $1 cash fare to ride the Buena Vista Ferry across the Willamette. This loop, Ankeny-Buena Vista-Independence, is almost all flat, and allows a slow pace with lots of enjoyable scenery. Going slow allows you to notice more things, so that was my goal for today. The ferry ride is fun and sort of a novelty, although it's an extremely short ride.  Just off the ferry, the first thing that greets you is a great little flower shop.  Seeing it again reminded me that I need to take Mrs. C there...

A couple of minutes later on Buena Vista Road, a great blue heron took flight right next to me, its vast blue wings dwarfing me and my bike as it rose and turned away. Watching that little sequence happen was the reward for getting out on the bike today.

As I predicted, I didn't have the gas to climb.  I couldn't even make it up a modest little slope. It was a reminder that I’m just a day or two this side of a virus. I rose off the saddle, geared all the way down, huffed and puffed, and still couldn’t do it. I barely clicked out of the pedals in time before falling over...that would have been the icing on the cake. 

Now, here's another cycling tip you must know: the trick to stopping on an uphill is to make it look like you’re not stopping because it's an uphill. Absolutely not.  You’re stopping because you need a drink of water, or making a phone call, whatever. Of course everybody can see right through your motivation because your chest is heaving as you try to get some air, but you do get extra style points if you make the sham look somewhat believable. Like when soccer players fall to the ground writhing in pain when they get bumped, only to make miraculous recoveries as the ball goes back into play. Of course it’s all for show, but it's part of the game. So today, I did the “stop-for-a-drink-of-water-and-take-a-picture” combo. I don’t think the nearby cow who watched it all cared much one way or the other.

The summer weather got off to such a late start that all the timetables are sort of jumbled. I don’t ever recall seeing such an abundance of blackberries still ripening on roadside vines this late into September. They sure smell good as you ride by. Grapes had a rough start too with the cold and rain in June, but the long stretches of warm sun in August and September may have come to the rescue, just in time.  Fall harvests have begun: roadside stands are offering up apples and pumpkins. Sweet corn is plentiful right now. My favorite time of year.

The forests and fields are showing the first hints of the turning to autumn. For the next several weeks the harvests will all come in, the colors will change, the grass and the leaves will fade and fall, and nature will begin to turn inward for a time.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Mmmm... fall. My favorite season. Glad you're feeling better!
You've inspired me. I need to get back into the habit of riding. When you can't remember the last ride you took, it's been too long! ACK!