Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bender

Date: June 14
Mileage: 89.1
June mileage: 313.6
Temperature upon departure: 61

Self discipline has never been one of my strong traits ... especially when it comes to bicycling. I don't do intervals because I don't like to watch a clock. I don't monitor my heart rate or calorie intake or elevation profiles. That I've been able to bicycle a lot of miles during the winter months isn't really contradictory to this character flaw - I take plenty of sick pleasure from riding around in horrid conditions. But I take even more sick pleasure from riding around in nice conditions.

I left the house today with 40 oz. of water, a rain coat, sunscreen, a single Power Bar and a baggie of fruit snacks in my Camelbak. I had absolutely no expectations setting out at 8:45 a.m. ... maybe check out the latest line of crusie ships, take an easy spin north and be back before 11.

It's interesting how a ride with no purpose and no plan can be so helplessly self-perpetuating. The wind was moving out of the south, so I went with it. I hummed along with my intentionally lo-fi iPod playlist: Elliot Smith, Sufjan Stevens, Pinback. Every once in a while, that soft little voice of reason would tell me that now would be a good time to turn around.

But something else ... maybe those small pleasures that tug at my senses ... something just kept pulling me forward. A bald eagle hovering on the breeze above my head; the faintly lilac smell of lupin; the clouds rolling eastward in the clearing sky; the hordes of mosquitoes lingering at my back. Before I even realized it (really), I was at Berner's Bay - the end of the road, 45 miles from my house.

There was some guilt there, but more strongly, there was a sense of finding my way home after an extended period of wandering. I have not been to Berner's Bay since January. I remember it in its loneliness, frozen and remote. To see it vibrant and colorful, flowing with kayaker traffic and camper-toting trucks, was a cathartic shot of symmetry. I relished in the rush, and then I rode it home.











January ...................................................June

As I try to gain back my sense of what is enough and what is too much, I am inevitably going to hit some snags. But I truly feel that today wasn't one of those snags. In the back of my mind, I have the voice of reason chanting the virtues of prudent moderation, of small increments, of 10 percent plus 10 percent plus 10 percent. Then I have what's in front of me, calling with a color-drenched intensity that makes reason easy to ignore. Today, as I awaited the final stop light at the Douglas Island bridge, feeling strong, loose and still raring with energy, the world in front of me said "You should just ride to Thane and make it an even century." To which the voice of reason replied, "Don't be a %$#% idiot." (Yes, voice of reason sometimes has to use strong language to get my attention.

Still ... it's hard out here for a gimp.