Friday, May 18, 2012

A fun way to end the day

I had an offsite meeting late yesterday afternoon so I used that as an excuse to get home early and go for a ride.  The meeting ended right on time so I buzz home, change and get ready to roll.  Looking at the clock on my way out the door I see it’s 5:30, and not my usual 6:40, so I have plenty of time.

I start to work out a plan as I roll down the driveway.  Since I don’t have any big rides coming up I don’t have a training plan from Coach Tim that tells me what to do.  I am truly free to ride however I want.  As I start to pedal away I think through my options.  How about hill repeats?  Probably not a good idea since Saturday’s club ride features over 3,000 feet of climbing in 40 miles.  I could do speed intervals.  That sounds too much like work.  How about we just ride and play on the bike until it’s time to go home. Ding, ding, ding, ding – we have a winner!!!

I decide to go play out in Oakmont since it has very little traffic.  Normally, I would time trial my way down a very busy road that is the most direct route there.  Yesterday, I cut through Spring Lake Park.  I don’t normally do that because of all the foot traffic but yesterday I did it because of the foot traffic.  It was so much fun.

I rode nice and slow saying hi to people, waving at kids on bikes, and just really trying to be a good ambassador for cycling.  Spring Lake Park has a large dike around it and I encouraged one young girl as she rode for the top.  Finally, I decide to leave the park on the entrance road, which has a small but steep hill.  Actually, I attacked the hill.  Not for the training but because it seemed like the fun thing to do.

After Spring Lake Park, I followed the road that is the main entrance into Annadel State Park.  Annadel is a phenomenal park that is great for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking and I saw folks getting ready for all three sports.  I guess I’m not the only one who knows a fun way to end the day.

At the end of the pavement, there is a 100 yard section of gravel fire road that drops you into Oakmont.  As I hit the gravel road I notice a woman standing about half way down the road.   Oakmont residents claim, incorrectly, that we can’t use this path and I was afraid I was about to get a lecture that might otherwise ruin a great ride.

I am happy to say it wasn’t like that at all.  Instead, she was pointing further up the road where two small skunks were playing.  So, we stood there chatting for a while, as I kept creeping the bike a little closer, until they finally headed off into the forests.  After bidding my skunk watching companion a good day, I was once again rolling along enjoying the warm weather and my carefree attitude.

Once I finally reached Oakmont, I only did the 5 mile loop once before heading home.  The coolest thing about this part of the ride was that nothing really happened.  I just rolled along enjoying the view of Mt. Hood, watching people play golf, and saying hi to the residents.  Finally, it was time to head home for dinner and some serious TV time spent watching the time trial stage of the Tour of California.

So there you have it.  A perfect evening ride on the bike just playing around.  What did learn from this fun little adventure?  I learned that I definitely need to book more late afternoon off site meetings.


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