Sunday, May 31, 2009

changing plans

I am generally one who follows through on her commitments.
if I say I will do something, it is highly likely to happen. especially if it involves another person.

but sometimes I change my mind, and then I struggle to balance my needs with my prior pledge.
integrity is so very important to me, yet I know that I cannot be fully, completely, absolutely dependable, for that reduces me to an automaton, a being without options. there are times when I need to twist and flow with what comes my way, which occasionally wreaks havoc with those prior, proper plans.

and this all stems from the fact that I promised durango today, and I cannot provide it. it will come, but it's not happening today.

instead I want only to share the pure joy that I know with certainty just occurred within the man who just rode past my house.
I live at the intersection of two gently sloping streets, and often a cyclist will ride down the street to my east and then turn down the street to my south. as anyone who has ever been on wheels understands, gently downward sloping streets are a delight.

this gentleman was biking past my east-facing windows, slightly standing with his bottom out of the seat, feet unmoving in 3-and-9 positions, weaving in mild back and forth curves, testing the edges of his tires. as he approached the cross street he moved far to the left and swooped around the corner, and I could feel every bit of joy that coursed through his body.

my quirky nature just loves a pun, so to sum up my entire mini essay today ~ beginning with my shortcomings and ending with a joyful feeling ~ I will say only that
to err is human, and to swoop is absolutely divine.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

commercial break

picture a narrow canyon split barely wide enough for a tightly engineered 2-lane road and the parallel rushing creek. craggy rocks line the spare space between the walls, and they ascend a hundred feet and more straight up, occasionally spotted with shrubbery and trees and seeping water.

breathe deeply, and inhale moist earth and the gently warming air, and feel nature seeping into your pores and sending any inner stress far, far away.

the feeling is peaceful and lush, as the road climbs gently for half a dozen miles and the trees thicken and the water begins to rush with greater intensity.
the grade steepens, the trees grow together more thickly, and a sheer rock cliff lets loose small shards of itself, rock by rock, as they tumble down and land upon each other in the meager depression lining the road.

this time your breath sends the scent of pine needles swirling throughout your system, reminding you of summer camp, of camping deep in the woods, of walking through shady conifer forests.

soon the vista is a sea of pines, topped by the stark gray cliff face of mount timpanogos, still wrapped in its slowly diminishing coat of sparkling white snow. dense groves of aspen surround you as the roads twists and winds and determinedly claws its way to the summit, after which it falls in ribbons of twists and curves, mile after mile, stretching its way down to the southern foot of this spectacular mountain.

a final deep breath is full of awe and delight, as you leave this fairytale land.

this commercial message has been brought to you courtesy of the alpine loop;
tomorrow you will return to beautiful durango, colorado, for another story of another fairytale land.

Friday, May 29, 2009


when I have stunning new experiences, they take a bit of time to sink in. they gain quick access to heart and soul, but the mind tends to need to steep in them for a while before they become part of who I am.
I begin this way to explain why I went out of town last weekend, had an incredible bike ride, and haven't been able to write a word about it yet.
I think I may be able to today, 6 days post-ride, thus I am attempting it.

the Iron Horse Classic has been around for a mere third of the life of the Durango to Silverton railroad run, and neither were part of my world until last january, when bill said those famous words: hey, I'm signing up for this, it's a great ride, you should think about doing it too.
yep, that was a gauntlet.
and I will cheat here because the Iron Horse website tells the story better than I can, so here is a brief history in their words:

The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic was the brain child of Tom Mayer and his older brother Jim. Jim worked as a brakeman on the D & R G W railroad which had run the steam powered locomotive between Durango and Silverton since the 1880's. Tom was a young bicycle enthusiast who grew up alongside the tracks to Silverton. Tom challenged Jim to a race to Silverton. As the train came by the house, the steam whistle screamed and Tom climbed on his trusty steel framed 10 speed and pedaled up over the rim of the old volcano and descended into the caldera to the mining town of Silverton. The train takes a shorter and easier route, but with limited speed, so it is truly a race between man and machine. When Tom became strong enough to win, the bragging rights were his, and the whole town knew it.

the ride elevation is the graphic above, and yes, I was able to see this before I rode: roads and climbs on paper seem so much easier than they do in real life . . .

I'm still assimilating the experience a bit, knowing that I will write more about it as the days go by. it was stunningly beautiful, much greener and steeper and snowier than I'd envisioned. some of my thoughts on the way up (and I mean up) Coal Bank Pass were I am never doing this again and why did I think I could do this and oh, I want to get off my bike and I am an idiot.
other than that, I enjoyed the ride.
at times.
like when the road was flat or heading downhill.

it was a humbling experience, because about 1200 other people signed up to do this same ride: I am absolutely nothing special. there were riders who represented every decade of life from the teens to the seventies, and the incredibly fit as well as the not-so-fit.
there were people panting as loudly as I was.
there were people who finished long before me, and people who finished long after me.
there were people who had to get off their bikes and walk for bits of the steep uphill.
there were people cruising past me, and people I cruised past, or at least hobbled past.

and at every rest stop the overlying feeling was joyful, with laughter bubbling above the orange rinds and banana peels and cookie crumbs.

there's much more to be said, but apparently there's a little more absorption to be had as well. look for part II down (or perhaps up) the road . . .

Thursday, May 28, 2009


nothing is as it seems: it's all what you make it.

a few days ago someone asked me why I was so peaceful. I thought about it, and attributed it to my spirituality, my ability to access the divine aspect of myself, and my faith.
but this morning in yoga I realized that it mostly has to do with breathing.

our instructor this morning talked for just a moment (while we're stretching and bending and holding some impossible pose as our muscles and minds shriek at us) about yoga's ability to teach us to deal with difficulties presented to us. as we learn to breathe through those impossible poses (and what our minds and bodies shout at us), we are learning the life skill of being able to breathe through challenging encounters and situations that the world seems to throw at us.


it's really all in how you view it, isn't it?

so I breathe, and I re-frame things so that they look differently than they may at first appear.
it may seem that I am indifferent, or purposefully ignoring reality, but what I am really doing is accepting, surrendering, and finding a way to peace.

because our realities differ, our views and perspectives differ, and I find that what's most important to me is to make my reality one of a peaceful path through this journey we call life on earth.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


okay, the truth is that I like men.
really, I do.
and I'm slightly embarrassed to be writing about this as well as just a tad fearful that I might lose all of my female friends after they read this, but on I march, anyway.

I like being around men.
they are less complicated than us females, less devious and costumed and masked. they tend to see things more simply, and they tend to speak their truth more readily. they're better at saying what they're thinking without that sugarcoating process.
us females, on the other hand, have a reputation for spending a lot of words to convey very little information. we talk more about what others are doing, trying to find connections and commonalities. we worry about how others will respond and react to what we say, and we try to be kind.
yes, I'm generalizing and even stereotyping a bit, I know.
and yes, there are plenty men I'm completely uncomfortable with: especially those who live and breathe beer and sports.

but in general, I feel more settled and comfortable around men. they make me less nervous, I suppose, as they appear to be less evaluative and critical. men tend to make assessments quickly, where us females are always re-evaluating and searching for more information and looking deeper and winnowing out potential flaws.
I always had male friends growing up, and since I've started cycling I've added to my list. it's not that I won't ride with women: it just hasn't worked out that I have many to ride with. (yes, I have tried, but it's not simple when you're trying to match speed and schedules and personalities.) so along the way (and the thousands of miles) I've learned to enjoy male conversations and thought patterns, which are just slightly different than those of their female counterparts.

okay, and some men are just pretty darn fun to look at, as well.
you knew that was coming, and I cannot tell a lie. I'd be crazy not to enjoy looking at flexing muscles and rugged jawlines.

so here's to men: thanks to all of you for being a part of my journey.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


today was one of those days when I don't ride and I don't miss it.
at least not very much.
well, just a little.
and I experience that sense of missing it only while I'm driving around in my car, running errands or running kids around, and I see other people bicycling.

and this is the piece of it I miss: the sense of joy that bubbles up every single time I ride.
it's never there for the entire ride: it would be unrealistic to expect that. it's hard to be joyful when you can't breathe or your muscles ache or you're experiencing both of these things simultaneously.
but moments of pure joy always find me. they can be in the cornering on a swooping descent, they can be when a robin flies past me at eye level just 10 feet from my face, they can be in the split seconds between the touch of a cool breeze and the goosebumps that erupt on my skin. they are in the awe of dawn turning to day, they are in sunrises and the light sprinkling of scattered raindrops, they are in the rush I get from knowing I am one with my bike on a fast downhill.

it takes me more than a single day to pine for those moments, however. today I am relishing the extra time I had, the fact that I don't have that additional dirty laundry, and the lazy luxury of giving my muscles a day of recovery, knowing that early tomorrow morning I will get back on my bike and open myself wide to the possibility ~ and probability ~ of newfound joys.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I really don't like dust.
I don't like looking at it, lurking on my floors and bookshelves, showing off its ability to coat any old surface it pleases as quickly as I can ride up a canyon.
I don't like breathing it in.
I don't like knowing that the minute I sweep or vacuum it away it will immediately begin the process of recollecting.

the other day I left my sliding glass door open to allow a beautiful breeze access to my fresh-air-starved office. within an hour I noticed that my black shelf had turned gray, the coating of fine particles covering every single available surface. which of course meant dust had settled in all those other places I couldn't see, as well. argh.

dust represents all those things in life that mess with my plans. that harsh my mellow. that make me think I'm on the absolute wrong track.
those things that interrupt the flow, that make it difficult to believe that all is well.
dust is the broken bone that keeps you from participating in the sport you love; it's the fabulous deal you've worked hard to arrange that falls apart. it's the car that unexpectedly and expensively breaks down; it's the leak in the pipe under your sink and the rejection letter from the 30th agent you've solicited.
it's all dust.
it's inevitable, and it's temporary.
it's something to deal with, and then it's behind you.
it comes again, and you send it on its way again.

there's dust on my hardwood floor today, and I know that when I take the time to vacuum and mop that dust away, I will see that beautiful, warm, glossy wood and remember not only how much I love it, but how it is always there, underneath whatever might temporarily settle upon it.
and while dust comes and goes, that deep, rich, indefatigable foundation of flooring is always there, supporting me even more than I realize.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

the air out there

I love this: early morning in late may or early june, when my sprinklers have completed their sequence and the air sweeps over the wet grass and in through my open windows. I love this.
I know it won't last more than an hour or so, but each time a little gust of wind brings that cool dampness into my home I am filled with joy.
I have my own little oasis, I've created my own special house-cooling system, and I just revel in the unique little part of the world that I get to --- temporarily --- call my own.

sometimes I sit on my back patio on these same mornings, sipping coffee, wrapped in a blanket because it's still so cool as to almost be cold. my patio is tucked in the northwest nook of my L-shaped house, where the shade hovers for most of the morning. the skies are powerfully blue, and I can even see rays of sun shooting from the east, up and over my rooftop. but my spot is crisp and protected, the leaves and small branches on my trees moving gently with little breezes.

I sit and sip, I let myself be a being. I let thoughts drift in and out and make friends with each other. I contemplate as little as possible, knowing that it is this down time, this almost meditative space, that will strengthen my awareness, my resolve, my ability to be who I'm meant to be.

I love this, this window of opportunity, these weeks when the air gives me this incredible gift. my desire is to never forget to take these openings, these incredible moments, and let them refill my soul.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


two weeks ago I purchased something that's been on my wish list for quite some time.
and it reminded me why I don't get manicures.

you see, I have one of those lives that is physically heavy on the "doing" and light on the "being." (that's why I work so hard on mentally just being and not doing, but that is an entirely different subject.)
I am forever doing things with my hands, from cooking, cleaning, and gardening, to fixing sprinklers and cleaning/lubing my bike, to opening boxes, packing boxes, and moving inventory from one place to another. and occasionally, putting things together that come with 29 parts and graphic instructions drawn by small children in foreign countries.
this latter activity is what I had to do 2 weeks ago.
this project involved a minimum of 2 swear words, one thump on the head, my reading glasses, one take-apart-and-do-over, and 2 broken fingernails.
and it was all worth it, as I now have a fully functioning bike stand in my garage.

yep, I finally have a place to work on my bike, to clean it and lube it and play with it, where I can spin the pedals around and not have to have it upside down. (once I get it upside down, my brain has to work so very hard to figure out which way is which, which way the pedals turn, and I find it nearly impossible to change gears while turning the pedals in that position: this makes maintenance even more challenging than it already is.) it also keeps my bike from having to lean against a wall or the other bikes or the freezer or whatever else I could find to lean it against.
this is exciting.

and it only cost me 2 fingernails.

I can't seem to do much of anything without splitting, chipping, or breaking one of my nails. or getting grime in the edges of my fingernails. I've dated guys whose hands are softer and have prettier nails than mine.

but I can fix a broken sprinkler, weed a flowerbed, scrub my floors, and put together furniture with 6 different types of screws, allen wrenches and nuts & bolts.

who needs pretty nails?

Friday, May 22, 2009

yellow daisies and white moons, or, evening rides are great, too

I rode last evening, and was gifted with the realization that evening rides this time of year are pretty awesome.

it began with the weather: mid-seventies, not too much of a breeze, and pure sunshine everywhere. pretty good foundation.
then the cyclists: I was just one of many out and about. I was heading up the canyon, and cyclists passed me coming down in two's and three's and a few singles, and not a one of the first dozen or so even acknowledged me. but I knew the sun was behind me, lowering itself in the western sky, so I just laughed and decided those other people just couldn't see me, and that's why they weren't responding to my waves and smile. attitude is everything.
and then came a few great big smiles, which cheered me considerably, convincing me to retain my affable demeanor. those grins coming at me could have been due to my somewhat bare top and sexy (or frumpy, depending upon your perspective) biking skort: but it really doesn't matter. it's nice to be on the receiving end of a little friendliness.
and did I mention the weather? a few degrees cooler in the canyon, it was the absolute perfect temperature, and the air surrounding me welcomed and gently embraced me with that early summer feeling that can't be found any other time. the gift of a new season.

and then the daisies. the entire northern hillsides that line the road by the reservoir are bestrewn with gorgeous yellow daisies, whose faces lift joyfully toward the sky. I haven't ridden that road in at least a week, and I want to know when they burst forth, for they must have all decided to do so at the same moment. a delicate explosion of color and glee.

finally, the creme de la creme, the piece de resistance. I had ridden up the road toward east canyon just a mile or so, and turned to head back home. approaching the eastern end of the reservoir, I noticed the collection of cars in the parking lot. many people park there to then go hike, or kayak, or mountain bike on the nearby trails. the cars were probably 50 or so yards from me. a handful of men caught my eye, as they must have just returned from a mountain bike ride, standing with their bikes in the lot by a couple cars. one man was near a car door, with his back to me, and suddenly he bent down and stripped off his bike shorts, presenting his naked backside to --- well, the world, truly --- me and I could do nothing but grin from ear to ear.
I think I tried to look away, but geez, here was this very nice looking male backside just available for view . . .
and then I was past, as a girl on a moving bike can't just stop moving (I think that's one of those laws: an object in motion will remain in motion......).
and that caps my incredible evening ride.
I may have to switch to evenings for a while, when the flowers are fully open to the day, and the moon is possibly visible, as well.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

1181 words; 181 of them superfluous

if a picture is worth a thousand words . . .
then I need not say much more, need I?

bill took this picture at 6:29 am yesterday morning, as we crested the little mountain summit. he paused to play photographer, and I rode circles in the road as the sun pulled itself above the mountain peaks. we then headed down to the reservoir, where we rode great big circles in the empty road before turning and heading back up to the summit, then down to the city.

at the summit the sky to the east was pale blue and split with pure morning sun, while the sky to the west was a dense, violet sapphire blue, thick with the tension of suspended moisture.
I felt the first few raindrops on my helmet during the climb back up to the summit, and by the time we reached the bottom of the canyon my glasses were so speckled with drops that I could barely see.

and then the sun filtered its way back through the clouds, as strong and brilliant as ever.
good day, sunshine.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

the unexpected

I absolutely love the unexpected.
it makes me happy, tickles some little spot deep within that must be filled with great ennui.
it's my decorating theme: put something somewhere you wouldn't expect to see it, or use a fabric or color or design that isn't quite along the lines of what is normally done. enliven things! surprise someone!
my kids think I'm weird, in part because I do things like cook eggs for dinner and color their milk for holidays or make their snacks in the shapes of animals. yes, they are teenagers.
but life is too short for boredom and predictability.

I love the incongruous, the quirky, the seemingly inexplicable.

which is why I was giggling inside and quite pleased on my way up emigration this morning.
a mile or so from the bottom, there is an artfully displayed bike part, and I am most curious as to who placed it there and what their thought process was.
at that section of the road there are some wooden posts, perhaps 30 inches high or so, which are spaced regularly along the right edge of the road. someone has taken a portion of a bike which includes the handlebars and perhaps just the front post --- maybe a beginning of the frame --- and has "hung" the handlebars on the far side of the post, facing in toward the road.
it's one of those things you would easily pass by, as it is subtly placed, curiously positioned, and just far enough from the road that it might not catch your eye.
I saw it for mere seconds, and have the impression that the metal was rusty, the handlebars a time-weary chrome. but I need to visit it again to be sure, because that initial glimpse was so startling I'm not sure how much of what registered was real and how much was my own story of what I saw.
regardless, the image has returned to me time and again as I've woven my way through the day, and each time it reappears, a smile comes to my face, and to my soul as well.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

inverted L's

I took my first yoga class 12 years ago, and I knew going into it that I would have a difficult time. not because of the movements, but because of the pauses between and within the movements.
hold this position and breathe.
breathe in and out.
settle into the pose.

these things were hard for me then, and it took me 7 more years before I attended my second class. and another 3 before my third class.
today I am writing myself a big congratulatory note because they have now become a part of who I am: I am no longer antsy, impatient, and restless.
during yoga, that is.
a wee bit of this new skill may be spilling over into the rest of my life, as well. which is a fantastic thing, as I am a mom of four teenagers. breathing is crucial during this parenting stage.

one aspect of yoga that really came to life this morning is the process of learning a new, challenging position. like a handstand.
this morning we once again worked on the beginning steps to a handstand.
which entails forming a reverse L with your body: your feet against the wall 3 feet from the floor and your hands on the floor 3 feet from the wall, with your body bent at a 90 degree angle at the hips. then stretching one leg at a time straight up.
and this was what we practiced.
there is no rush, no posted time frame, no schedule to be met so that we know exactly when we will be doing a complete handstand.
you start where you are, you practice, you make small progresses, and you keep breathing.

I may be 55 before I can do a handstand.
or I may never be able to do a handstand.

but neither of those outcomes matter.
what matters is that I continue to practice and move slowly in the direction I aim for.
while I breathe, and relax, and learn a little bit more each day about how to be a human being, not a human doing.

Monday, May 18, 2009

a sign of three

sometimes messages come to us in the most delightful ways.

this morning I rode at dawn, and although I am grateful for the summer season which is beginning to surround and absorb us, I also regret the loss of those dense, dark mornings of early spring. it is only the first 10 or 15 minutes now that I need my light, and need is even too strong of a word for the circumstance.

so I climb in the light of a world that is waiting with bated breath for the sun to emerge from behind the eastern peaks, a world that is clearly defined yet less than what it soon will be.

I reached the summit this morning and paused, the sun having just pushed above those eastern peaks and taken one baby step above. the reservoir, dark and glossy, remained hidden in the shade of the surrounding hills.

I turned to go back down, and started my descent in the cool air. the first segment has you facing a curve of hillside, and as you wrap around the bend you are suddenly facing northeast, and you see nothing but a hummocky hill, a smattering of trees, and the arching silhouette of the far edge that seems to meet the sky. no houses are in sight, nothing but the natural world and the road beneath you.

I am alone, alone in this stunning world, I thought to myself.
this is not an unpleasant thought.

but before the thought had finished reverberating in the silence within and without, three majestic deer crossed the road not fifty feet in front of me. as I was moving at somewhere near 25 miles an hour, those 50 feet were reduced to about 15 as I watched the last white tail slip between the shrubs.

the message, of course, is that I'm never truly alone.

thus, neither is any other living, breathing creature, man or beast, fish or fowl, sleeper or cyclist.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

oh, the water

the wasatch front had one of its first completely stunning days, today, and I was one of the lucky ones who was able to play in it.
it was an absolutely perfect day for a ride up a canyon.
a big canyon.
a long canyon.
with some good steep sections.

it was my first ride up big cottonwood canyon this season, and I am quite pleased to announce that I survived. I had to tweak my mindset going into it --- you know how important I believe mindset to be --- that I would get to the top best by not stressing about how long it was taking me to get there.
which is the way I proceeded, and what kept me going even when I didn't want to be. which would be the last 3 miles or so. yikes, it just keeps climbing and climbing and climbing, and then --- thank you, greatly, God --- it ends. the rounded green roof I can see from a point about 50 yards away is a shining beacon that greets me and lets me know I made it. of course, those last 50 yards are among the steepest of the entire canyon, and my legs always let me know it.

but enough about the ride: what I want most to write about is the water.
oh, the water.
the creek is crashing and booming, flinging water skyward as it bounces over rocks and boulders. the water is clear and white with froth, energized by the influx of millions of gallons of water seeping from the rocky hillsides and soggy crevices that line the canyon walls. it is mighty, it is proud, and it is something I could sit and watch for hours.
well, at least 10 minutes.

oh, the water.
van morrison sings a song (it stoned me) that kept flowing through my mind today as I rode alongside this powerful creek. I know I've been on a lyrics kick lately, but in all honesty, music and lyrics are almost always floating and circulating and streaming through my mind.
today I heard van's voice, over and over, as he sang while my legs went round and round and round:

oh, the water,
oh, the water,
oh, the water,
get it myself from the mountain stream.

it's difficult to believe anything could be wrong in a world that holds big cottonwood canyon in the palm of its hand.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

21 excuses

I've been compiling in my head a list of the possible excuses cyclists, runners, and joggers might use to explain their inability to be friendly while encountering other cyclists (i.e., me) out on the road, and I'm finally putting them down on (figurative) paper:

  • breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breath out, breathe in, breathe out . . .
  • my mother taught me never to be friendly to strangers.
  • I'm in training, this is serious, I can't waste energy being social.
  • I am in a crappy mood and just want to pound out my frustration on the pavement and if I even see a happy person I'll explode.
  • this waving thing is overrated: what has it ever done for me? forget it.
  • I look stupid in this helmet and these ridiculous shorts, and I'm embarrassed to be seen: if I don't see them they can't see me.
  • I am so caught up in the music on my ipod I don't even know there's anyone else out here.
  • I'm counting to one billion and don't dare get distracted.
  • if I look down at my cyclometer at the right moment, I won't have to wave at that person, opening myself up to an actual encounter with another human.
  • if I pretend there's something wrong with my foot (hand/neck/knee/whatever) I won't have to acknowledge that person coming toward me, possibly connecting for just one moment with a fellow human.
  • this is my time, I am focusing on me, it's not about other people.
  • I am using every bit of strength I have to pedal: I have nothing left over for a wave.
  • if I move my hands from the handlebars I will lose control and crash.
  • I only wave to other professionals like me; everyone else is beneath me.
  • I look cooler when I pretend I don't see anyone else.
  • why do these people have to ride bikes? can't they just run, like us genuine athletes?
  • I'm painfully shy, and waving or nodding my head will throw me well outside my comfort zone.
  • wow, this gal coming toward me is way too cute, she won't even acknowledge me, I won't even try.
  • this is my bike lane, what are these other people doing here?
  • huh? what other cyclist?
and I, being the gracious soul that I am, will even concede that a handful of these excuses are acceptable and valid.

Friday, May 15, 2009

simple little things

I grew up listening to show tunes. my mom, a music theatre major, was always singing and performing, and I am the lucky one who benefited from it all.
I knew why the kids put beans in their ears, and I knew that on a clear day you could see forever. I knew why the princess was bruised from sleeping atop 20 mattresses, and I knew our first dog was named dauntless after that princess's prince.
my mother, a stunning brunette, sang and danced and acted throughout my childhood, and I am forever grateful for my exposure to the world of cole porter and harvey schmidt and rogers and hammerstein.
one of the first 45s I purchased ~ at eight years old ~ was Wouldn't it be Loverly, with Get Me to the Church on Time on the flip side: two of my favorite songs from My Fair Lady.
plenty evenings I sat at a small round table by the side of the stage, sipping a 7-up in a tall narrow glass from a skinny straw, my blond pageboy pulled back by a headband, looking up in awe at my mother, playing another role in another life.

one of the many songs she sang popped into my head tonight, while I was reflecting on my rides these past two days.
I rode up millcreek canyon yesterday, as far as one on a skinny-tired bike can go until more snow melts, and all the joy and happiness that is that canyon came fully back to me. my realization, as I was riding, was that one tends to find happy things in canyons. the rushing water just oozes delight, and every dog I see wiggles happiness from its tail to its nose. and the people, well, they, too, come with an aura of happiness. grumpiness has no place in all that peace and space and beauty.
emigration this morning was full of those same things: peace and space and beauty. those things, and four young deer, bounding lightly across the hillside grasses, and a gentle sunrise timed perfectly with our cresting of the summit.

and this is why my reflections led to the lyrics of the song my mother sang as lizzie, in 110 in the Shade:

simple little things
all I want are
simple little things
all I need is . . .
simple little things
simple little dreams will do

riding brings home to me how very simple my needs truly are.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


my son's class performed to a song during their "spring fling" a few weeks ago, and these are the lyrics (I cannot find the author, so cannot credit him/her):

I am I said I.
I am me said me.
I am exactly who I am supposed to be.
some days I'm up.
some days I'm down.
some days my head is spinning around.
some days I'm good.
some days I'm bad.
some days I'll do things that'll make you mad.
but I can't change myself to suit you
though I know you'd like me to.
what good would I be if I was just like you
and you were just like me?
I might feel lost.
I might feel found.
I might feel like just hanging around.
I might feel like there is no hope.
I might feel like swinging on a rope.
I am me, the best that I can be.
and don't you see,
that's all that I can be.
I am I said I.
I am me said me.
I am exactly who I am supposed to be.

I've been thinking of this song lately, as I struggle with the fact that cycling is still challenging, and the fact that I work so hard to only go as fast as I go. I hear of people who ride better-faster-harder, and I watch people zip past me on the road, and I fall into a little hollow of self-recrimination and frustration.
I think if I hold on to these lyrics, I might be able to pull myself up the side and climb out of that little sinkhole.

I am not lance armstrong, nor am I dana torres. I am not one who wins races or is outstanding in her sport. I am not someone who was an athlete in high school or college.
who I am is a nearly 47 year old female who receives great pleasure and a sense of accomplishment (and the ability to eat more cookies) from riding her bike.

I am not a racer.
I am not 23.
I am not ranked or licensed or exceptional.
I am not a guy.

I am just me.

I am I.

the sooner I get that through my head, the sooner I can enjoy myself a little more, and perhaps even celebrate the fact that

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

jim croce

everything that needs to be said has been said.
from plato and aristotle, to matthew, mark, luke and john, to ringo, john, paul and george, ( not to mention kanye west and the infamous pink), I truly believe all aspects of human life have been thoroughly disected, discussed, delved into and bemoaned.

so what I will tell you about today are 2 things.

first, we have been experiencing a bit of a strange weather pattern that is sending small and great winds whipping up and down the canyon. (as usual, I revel in those tailwinds and am only grateful for the headwinds because they increase my caloric expenditure and allow me to eat more cookies.)

second, I have a wee bit of a cold that makes for excess stuff in my nasal passages and throat. while riding, I can't look down because my nose runs, and I have to do a lot of throat-clearing just to keep breathing.

yes, I am reaching my point.

today's most important wisdom comes from a song that kept running through my head while I was riding---jim croce's bad, bad leroy brown:

you don't spit into the wind.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

keeping your eyes on the road

today the universe has been teaching me a lesson.
some days I get to cruise through, like a day of study hall, no classes, just goofing off and hanging out with the rest of humanity, flowing with what life brings. I love those days.
and other days come with small a-ha's and fun little realizations.
and then there are days like today, when I get roped into a virtual life experiment and sent whipping through trial after trial, ordered home with a grundle of homework, then examined the rest of the day and, of course, found wanting.

I haven't encountered pure roadblocks today, I have just had my path redirected time and time again and been hurtled over a speedbump or two. I thought I learned that yellow is yellow, then I discovered that yellow is really orange and everything I'd thought about the color wheel was wrong.
back to kindergarten again.

some of the today's challenges have been of my own making: had I approached one issue differently, it could have gone more smoothly. and this is part of today's lesson for me: to learn when it's best to just bite the bullet and do something you don't want to do, rather than think there might be an easier/better/simpler way to accomplish the task.
then again, the universe threw a few last-minute changes at me, and those often result in my ability to sustain coherent thought processes flying right out the window.

lessons gently confronting me today:
  • plan further ahead, even when you think you don't need to.
  • slow down and think things through when surprises clobber you.
  • make sure the simpler option is available before you count on it.
  • ask for help, even when you think you can handle it without.
  • be exceedingly grateful for those who beautifully, perfectly, remarkably come to your assistance and smooth your way.

perhaps most importantly of all, keep your eyes on the road in front of you, focused on the goal, not on the rocks and pebbles decorating the path.

Monday, May 11, 2009

rabbits and pink snow

when I was growing up, my dad liked to drive fast. however, getting pulled over by the police and being given a ticket was not something he liked. this is when I learned about rabbits.
when we'd be driving on the freeway, and another car would zip past us, my dad would say, ah, a rabbit, change lanes and follow that car at a respectful distance, increasing his speed while enlarging the grin on his face.
rabbit, I wondered, what was that all about?
I don't think I ever asked him.

for a while it just rested in my memory banks. then for a long time I twisted it up with the information that rabbits used to be used to confirm a pregnancy. (way back when a woman's urine was injected into a rabbit and then resulting changes in the rabbit's ovaries would tell whether or not a woman was pregnant: the rabbit had to be killed to check the result.) I made it up into the story that the fast car passing us became the rabbit, and he would then be the one to die (get a speeding ticket), saving my dad that heartache.
then there's the hunting analogy: the rabbit runs out in front---they're fast---but they eventually get caught.

or maybe it's simply that rabbits are fast.

I still don't know why my dad called those fast drivers rabbits, but it's certainly stuck with me all these years, and now I apply it to my cycling life.

there are frequently rabbits out there on the road ahead of me. but I don't usually catch them. however, they provide great incentive, especially when they're just enough out of my reach but not too far as to disappear completely from sight.

once another cyclist passed me on a climb, then I passed him as he paused at the top. then he passed me again on a long flat. he referred to the "tortoise and the hare" as he passed me the second time, pulling in front of me and stretching the gap between us to 20 feet or so. at which point he slowed, waiting for me to catch up, then apologized for his possibly-interpreted-as-rude comment. I laughed and told him I can accept reality: I am not a rabbit.

but I had a rabbit this morning, and he made me work. at the mouth of the canyon I saw a cyclist just rounding a bend ahead of me, far enough away that I could only make out a shape with a red light on the back. as there aren't many cyclists out in the early dark, I was intrigued. I kept thinking he would eventually pull so far ahead that I'd lose sight, but as the curves of the road straightened I would almost always see him up there, teasing me with a quick glimpse before he began rounding the next curve. yes, for the last two miles he pulled enough ahead that I could no longer see him.
until I was 25 yards from the top, and he was heading down on the other side of the road.
bill, I said to him, as he crossed to my side to say good morning.
yep, my rabbit was a known entity, and he finished my climb with me then pulled me back down to the awakening city.

we parted at the canyon mouth, and I continued on my homeward path, letting the wind push around me. it was coming down from the east, and as I approached a particular cross street I saw a flurry of little beings dancing like mad as they hopped across the road. as I neared they became more distinct and I saw that thousands of tiny pink petals were being whipped from their beautiful, blossoming pink tree homes and send to the ground, across the street, to find new homes within blades of grass, or upon piles of their own pink forerunning rabbits in the gutters.
snow, I thought to myself, pink snow.

pink snow and rabbits. what a delightful start to a day.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


this is my word of the day today:

here it is used in a few sentences:

my goal is to experience insouciance on a daily basis.
the times I feel insouciant are the best moments of my day.
my beautiful new bike provides me incredible opportunities to live insouciantly.

got it?

not surprised if you don't.

insouciance: the cheerful feeling you have when nothing is troubling you, lightheartedness.

we humans so easily get bogged down in the muck of daily chores, tasks, and activities, and quickly fall prey to that feeling of unending pressure to do more, be more, perform better.
when we begin to discover those things, places, and people (okay, sounds like nouns to me) that help us find a state of insouciance, there is no greater gift we can give ourselves than to latch on and increase our level of interaction with said nouns.
(please note, I absolutely disallow on this list any substances that might provide such an artificially created insouciance.)

my bike has brought me back in touch with insouciance.
certain people gift me with this feeling.
a handful of favorite authors take me to this state.
faith, fully grasped, takes me there as well.

when we discover the who's, what's, and where's that bring us to a state of insouciance, we're one step closer to creating a deep and whole, lasting peace within ourselves.

got it?
now go get it.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

postscript on heiroglyphics

I now know what sfo stands for:
Single File Riding Only.

this is the city's subtle reminder that we cyclists are to stay in our little bike lanes.
we, as a category, don't obey this one very well, do we?

I always do, if there's a lot of traffic.
I always do, if I'm on a thoroughfare.
I don't always, if it's 6 in the morning and only 2 or 3 cars pass by in an hour.

this is how I am about rules:
I always obey them if they are completely logical and necessary.
I bend them if it won't hurt anyone else, and they aren't logical or necessary given the circumstances.

now I understand that if a rule is posted, others expect me to obey those rules. and that's why I play by them if someone else might be put out that I'm not.
except every once in a while, when I'm riding outside the bike lane because my friend is next to me in the bike lane, and there is so little traffic that we can count the cars we see in 30 minutes' time on one hand. and when there's no one in the opposing lane.
when we two cyclists and that one car are the only ones for miles . . .
yes, I expect them to be gracious about giving us a few extra feet of room.
because I would do the same for them.
it's about common decency and respect, not about the posted rule.

this is what I miss most in our society: giving people the opportunity to do the right thing without demanding it of them. without telling them exactly what the parameters are, exactly what they can and can't and should and shouldn't do.
we've created this society so entangled with rules that I fear some of us are forgetting how to think for ourselves. forgetting how to decipher good from bad and right from wrong. we are no longer able to separate logical and wise from illogical and ridiculous. the rules have removed our need to exercise our hearts, minds, and ability to access our common sense.

yes, this little rant all began with Single File Riding Only.
because when coupled with Share the Road, we can easily become lost in the conundrum.
we are to stay in the bike lane, but we have the right to be on the road as well, and we can only ride single file, but it's all to be shared . . . add the joggers, runners and walkers, and the rules get even more complex.

to me the puzzle easily sorts itself out into: cyclists stay in the bike lane as much as realistically possible, and motorists give cyclists plenty of room because cars don't constitutionally own the road. share means share: neither need be piggish about it. and common sense takes over when confronted with two bikes, two joggers, and a car all meeting at a single point.
with just a titch of patience, any situation on the road can be negotiated.

and that's how susan solves the world's problems: a titch of patience, a touch of wisdom, and a little bit of negotiation.

Friday, May 8, 2009

weeping rocks, revisited

the grotto.
weeping rock, a fantastical hollow hidden between stately rock walls.
a place I haven't seen since last fall, since a chilly (cold) morning in late september when, while paused at the top, my teeth chattered so zealously words could barely trip their way out of my mouth.

yesterday it all came back: the beauty of this sleepy canyon, the weeping rocks and hidden lagoons, the cathedral-like green canopy above which floats and weaves and sends dappled light down to the shattered asphalt, the narrow twisting path that leads up and up, the dense solitude and silence that remain no matter how many cyclists pass by.

I rode with 2 others, and we are three very different riders. the slowest was not me, and thanks to her the pace was leisurely at times, which was a refreshing change for this driven cyclist. for miles I held back, an experience with which I rarely gift myself, resulting in my increased sense of strength and endurance.
this is what surprised me most: the climb was not as intense as I remember. I know this canyon fairly well, and can anticipate the rises and falls of the road as I approach them. and yesterday the rises slipped beneath my wheels more quickly than ever, and the falls were joyous gifts from the benevolent civil engineer street-planning gods.

this was my first venture north of emigration, and it was pure delight. I'd been waiting for the snow to melt, as it tends to pull itself oh so slowly back from the road at the end of spring. talk among fellow cyclists was that the top of city creek was still impassable 10 days ago, so the fact that we could ride to the grotto at the highest point was a surprise and a treat.

the grotto has a loop of road at the very top that is covered with crushed and decaying leaves, and the wet, muddy remains of snow that has recently melted away from the asphalt somewhere beneath, making riding a bit treacherous and a lot exhilarating. it is the end of the climb, a place to celebrate this unique and generous canyon who has shared unselfishly of itself the past six miles.

everything changes, yet some things hover longer than others in their perfect state, bending and flexing with the seasons, gripping fiercely their independence, their matchless beauty, their very nature.
for this I give great thanks.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

biking for a cause

it seems a significant number of athletic events are hooked into causes.
run for this, walk for that, bike for this other thing . . .

back when I was a kid I remember walk-a-thons. going door to door throughout the neighborhood with my sign-up sheet, asking people to pledge a certain dollar amount for each mile that I would walk. that amount was usually 5 or 10 cents per mile, so that I might collect 50 cents from each person.
this is my memory, anyway, which could be heavily influenced by books, movies, and the media, as I am stretching back many, many years . . .

my children's grade school used to do a walk-a-thon, but that ended about 7 or 8 years ago. they used to walk the entire student population --- about 300 kids --- around sugarhouse park a time or two, and call it good. they didn't ask for a pledge per mile: it was an outright donation regardless of how many steps the child took.

we seem to have completely moved away from the dollars-per-mile concept: we just outright ask for money these days. I am running a marathon/walking a 10k/riding 100 miles/swimming until I drop and asking you to contribute to this worthy cause in conjunction with my efforts.

I don't really get it.

what does my riding 100 miles have to do with one contributing to the associated cause?
it just seems to me that a piece is missing.
we jumped straight from a unit of money per each segment accomplished, to just send money in because I'm doing something.

each of us has a uniquely wired brain, preprogrammed to function in its own, inimitable way. mine has its quirks, I'll readily admit, and being too literal and too linear are part of my brain's peculiarities.
the result is I have a belief that part of the bridge from activity to donation has been excised, leaving this gap of meaning. I want my cycling to somehow have more significance and connection to the donations solicited and given.

perhaps I'm up in the night. but somehow something just seems to be missing.

I can't resolve this at the moment, however, as I think it's something that will just have to marinate in my (quirky) brain until it either dispels, or grows into some creative thought that will set the fundraising world on its proverbial ear. there are times when those little marinating thoughts grow into amazing, coruscating ideas that light the way to great things.

and just in case you don't have an issue with fundraising events that use the I'm-doing-something-please-donate-to-this-cause framework, you are most welcome to visit my fundraising page for the MS Best Dam Bike Ride and make any little old donation you'd like:

because, regardless of how its done or who thinks what about the process, donating to a worthy cause is still an excellent way to spread gratitude and impact lives for the better.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

the joy of clicking

I love it when things click!
into place, that is.
and I'm not just speaking of cycling shoes.

one of the greatest joys in life --- at least for me --- is to truly understand something. I have tried to reinforce this excitement and enthusiasm with my children, in hopes that they will always feel the same joy I do when the pieces suddenly fall together and you see the entire picture.
yes, my kids often think I'm weird, but I am resigned to this, as it's all in that attempt to help them become the very best selves they can be.

something clicked for me on my ride yesterday.

the last couple times I've ridden up emigration I've noticed some hieroglyphs spray painted onto the road, across the bike lanes. the first one I noticed was an arrow pointing to the right, and the letters "str". I looked to the right (gee, don't I follow instructions well?) and saw nothing out of the ordinary, but noticed that the creek was 3 or 4 yards in that direction. stream? do they need to point that out? it pretty much runs down the entire length of the canyon . . .
soon I saw another set of arrow-and-letters. the same letters, str. again, I looked to the right.
I am a pavlovian dog!
yes, the stream was still there.
this time I thought perhaps they were going to put up some of those yellow and black striped cautionary signs at these points, warning drivers that the stream was off to to right.
but why? why would this be even remotely necessary?
I have had experience before with these kind of markings, cycling in a state that is forever doing road work. I know that signs will soon be placed at the edge of the road where the arrows point. but what kind of sign could it possibly be?

the next time I saw the same set of markings I just let it sink in. as the next. and the next.
I reached the top and turned, and noticed more of these markings on the way down, but also noticed that some of those arrows were pointing to rocky hillsides with no water anywhere near.
there went stream, right out the figurative window.

key point to remember: when I am riding I am working hard. oxygen is primarily directed to leg muscles, leaving very little left over for the brain. things that would ordinarily click immediately take much, much longer. yes, the click is coming.

three miles from the bottom of the canyon I saw the umpteenth set of these strange markings. (this morning I counted, and there are 17 adding both sides of the road; please remember though, the lack of oxygen to the brain, and forgive me if the count is off by one or two.)
and suddenly it clicked.

share the road.
s t r.


this is the phrase the bicycling coalition is trying to drum into everyone's head in the state of utah . . .

gotta love it, regardless how long it takes.

and now, of course, a new mystery exists, because along with those 17 str markings, I saw 3 arrows with the letters sfo, spaced somewhat abstractly in the canyon.
I know the san francisco airport is nowhere near to emigration canyon, and I've racked my brain (even my well-oxygenated brain) and have come up empty-headed.
if you figure that one out, please let me know.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

slouching and perfect circles

I wonder why it's so hard for us humans to do what is best for ourselves.
  • why it seems easier to frown when it takes fewer muscles to smile: and smiles ease our way through life.
  • why slouching comes naturally and holding our spine erect seems to take so much effort: and erect spines lead to healthy nerve systems, efficient organs, and joints, muscles and ligaments that are given opportunity to perform as intended.
  • why it's more fun to eat cookies than kale. okay, that one's a no-brainer, never mind.
  • and why, when cycling, it seems easier to do anything but maintain perfect circles.
perfect circles.
these are the things my cycling instructors have drummed into my head: relax your shoulders, keep a bend in the elbows, drop your heels, eyes on the road in front of you, and keep those perfect circles.
this is what they mean: as your leg moves around with the turn of the crank arm attached to the pedal, you should be exerting equal amounts of energy throughout the rotation. pushing forward and eventually down with your quad, then flexing your ankle to create a flat foot and pulling up with your hamstring during the back part of the circle.
got it?
ideally, your leg moves through this sequence without pause or variation in effort.
in reality, my leg gets lazy and makes effort-ellipses with each rotation.
just like slouching, it happens before I realize it's happening, and I have to snap myself back to attention.
like I just did, pulling out of my slouch here at the computer desk.
after I ate my cookie.
and changed my frown to a smile.

this is my cycling self-chant: shoulders down, relax facial muscles, smile at oncoming cyclist, focus on road, perfect circles, straighten back.
hard to believe I have time to think about anything else, isn't it?

it's the effort-ellipses that I really need to work on, though. because once you get back into the rhythm of the perfect circle, you can feel the difference. power increases immediately, and the experts tell us that you are expending no more energy to do it correctly than you are with those wimpy elliptical surges. which I have a difficult time believing.
because if it takes the same amount of energy either way, why do I slip back into the pattern that feels easier?
like slouching?
and frowning?
and eating cookies?

what's wrong with me?

the conclusion I draw is that it's all a mind game.
I just need to train my mind to believe that it's easier to sit up straight, smile, and make perfect circles.

and eat kale.

Monday, May 4, 2009

tan lines

I have a permanent tan line right across the middle of my femur. well, on the skin that covers my femur, actually.
it fades to a less distinct mark during the winter, but it doesn't ever go away anymore.
a few weeks ago when we had a 70 degree day, that line popped right back out in all its glory, and I am once again an irregularly two-toned person.

as shown in my beautiful artwork, left.

during biking season I don't dare put on a swimsuit, for I look like an idiot. especially a 2-piece: talk about ridiculous. come to think of it, I don't really want to put one on ever anymore.

I used to have a gardening tan, which had similar issues on the legs, but a little more tan on the shoulders and upper back. with gardening, I would also get an elliptical shape of tan on my lower back where my top and shorts would separate as I bent over to weed, and weed, and weed.

but cycling leaves me with a tan from shoulder to wrist, with the backs of my hands remaining white.
and tan from mid-thigh to ankle bone, with white feet.
( many of my riding tops have cut-ins on the back, so I have fluctuating tan lines around my shoulder blades, with the middle of my back always white. )

betcha can't wait to see me on the beach.
(or even better, displaying my work at an art show . . . )

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I feel good.
which is a great big, tangled bundle of pleased, happy, joyous, capable, successful, proud, and, well, whatever it is I give myself for eating a banana.

I rode to the top of big mountain today. I RODE TO THE TOP OF BIG MOUNTAIN TODAY!
first of the season, and it felt just fine. I didn't die, I didn't collapse at the top, in fact, I could have kept going.
this is good.

and here is my mile by mile notation of said ride:

mile 1: overcast, gray, cool, wet pavement.
mile 2: pavement dry in spots, spots of blue sky to the north
miles 3,4,5: sunlight!
mile 6: clouds move back in, a few sprinkles
miles 7,8: cloudy, cool, no sprinkles
mile 9: weak sunshine, then more sunshine, and I am on my way down to the reservoir
mile 10: cloudy, a few sprinkles
miles 11,12,13: mostly cloudy, cool, solitary
mile 14: sunshine returns, and a tailwind, ah . . .
miles 15,16: sunshine, lots of rocks that have tumbled down the hillsides decorate the road
mile 17: sunshine, a headwind, some crosswinds, a brief tailwind . . .
mile 17.5: the summit, the apex, the top, woo hoo! sunshine reigns, but to the east dark, heavy clouds hover, and to the south and west clouds hang on white mountain peaks
miles 18,19,20: a blur, chilly, sun lighting my way
miles 21, 22, 23: cruising along, heading back by the reservoir, pavement is almost dry
miles 24,25: heading up little mountain, dry, sunny, blue skies
miles 26-30: fluffy white clouds, blue sky, dry pavement with only occasional puddles
miles 27, 28: a little headwind, lots of cyclists in short sleeves and shorts, who were obviously less impatient than I
miles 29, 30, 31: so dry, so sunny, so great
miles 32, 33: out of the canyon, an early summer day in the city, gardeners galore
mile 34: dry, sunny, gorgeous
mile 35: the final mile, all downhill, no water anywhere, thousands of happy flowers
mile 35.05: wheeled my bike over to the hose bib, where I sprayed off the dirty streaks and clumps of dried mud, and flicked off the dead worm pieces stuck to my brake pads, while it hailed on me. truth.

it's been a good day.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


I'm not sure what normal really is, only that I've never felt I am it.
which leads me to wonder if we all feel this way.
if so . . .

then I suppose we're all living in a make believe world, aren't we?

today, a saturday, I went to the grocery store. I rarely have to do this, and it is always enlightening. I try to accomplish all my errands during the week, on the way to or from appointments or carpooling or wherever it is I'm going. but this morning my refrigerator wailed with loneliness and I hadn't yet made it to the shoe repair, a special store for a present for a friend (needed by monday), or to the pet store for my weekly cricket purchase.
so I joined the throngs of saturday shoppers and received a big dose of normal.
normal is any and all of the following:
fit, busy, overweight, slow, in a motorized chair, with a handicapped son, with an overflowing cart, using just a basket, holding a handful of coupons, waiting patiently in line, picking all the same flavors of yogurt that I like, looking through the sale bins, searching through the soup display for the kind that never seems to be stocked alphabetically, waiting at the deli counter, dressed in sweats, unshaven, fully made up, in heels, walking hand in hand, impatient, smiling, frowning, tapping toes, going to breakfast at over-the-counter, waiting for a closer parking place, splashing through puddles, holding a toddler by the hand, using an umbrella, buying more firewood to keep guests warm . . .

I played the game, and was relaxed, friendly, patient, thorough, organized, and amazingly successful with parking places.
and I've been playing the normal game here at home as well: a little work, some laundry, watering plants, cleaning my garage, defrosting the freezer, a little reading, a bit of cleaning, some lazing about, no workout . . .

that's what an intensely rainy saturday will do for this would-be cyclist.

Friday, May 1, 2009

the story of the cyclometer, part II

no story really ever ends at happily ever after . . .

and yesterday's story wasn't truly complete: I left out some crucial information.
a writer must craft her stories, you know, and thus there are times when she is forced to withhold certain facts or events. at other times she fabricates and purposely confuses, all in the art of storytelling.
now I've heightened your expectations and I fear the story that follows will not meet them, but it is the truth of the matter, and I will weave you through it in the most entertaining method I can conjure up.

at about the mid-point of yesterday's story, when our cyclist was despondent over her sleeping cyclometer and said cyclometer feared its destiny would never be fulfilled, our cyclist went for a long ride. she rode with a friend, upon whom she relied for all ride information: speed, elevation, time elapsed, and most important of all, distance. her heart rate, however, she was able to track on her own, as she had magically been able to pair her heart monitor with the cyclometer, and they communicated beautifully. this single working aspect of the cyclometer gave her hope that one day, possibly, the entire computer would jump on board and give her everything its box had promised.
after this long ride our cyclist undertook, she changed out of her riding clothes at this friend's home, and carefully (or less so) placed all of her riding gear and paraphernalia in the duffel bag she'd brought.
later that night, at home, she unpacked the duffel bag and took her handful of cycling clothing (jacket, jersey, sports bra, tights, socks....) and threw them in the washing machine. when the machine finished its wash/rinse/spin cycles, our cyclist opened the lid and began moving things out, either placing them in the dryer or hanging them to dry, depending upon the item. halfway through she reached in to grab the next item, and touched something hard. hard? what could that be?
it was hard, and long and flattish and attached to a stretchy strap and . . . yep, that was her heart monitor strap that just got its little guts washed out in the washing machine. water, soak, soap, swish, swirl, more water, spin . . .

the single, solitary working component of the beautiful (but apparently dysfunctional) cyclometer was now

our cyclist does, of course, have another heart monitor, which she uses, but it will never be able to communicate with the fancy new cyclometer that came in that spiffy black and red box.

so, back to happily ever after.

as you now know, there is just one little kink in our cyclist's happily ever after story. but she is certain she will eventually overcome that kink, when she breaks down and contacts Blackburn and orders a replacement part for her fancy new cyclometer that has taught her so very many lessons.

and then will come the day when she'll learn how to program the altimeter, and push the right buttons to start and stop the trip odometer, and change her display screen, and access all the other capabilities trapped inside that fancy new cyclometer.

and then, we are sure, our cyclist and her happy, completely functional cyclometer will truly live happily, ever, after.