Sunday, October 31, 2010

when the bike lane is full of leaves

occasionally you are forced to make choices.
sometimes we're able to slide by without, to let the river of life pull us gently with its flow. we rely on others' decisions and the onslaught of requirements and necessities to guide our daily actions.
but then moments interject when you must move this way or that, choose one path or another, make a conscious and firm decision about your next movement.

I have spent the past five weeks savoring each day, grasping onto the gift of dry pavement, clutching desperately every hour of sunlight and temperature above fifty degrees, knowing that it will soon come to an end.
we are now deeply entrenched in autumn, and evidence of this engagement is plentiful. snow lingers in crevasses on the south sides of hillsides, naked stalks of gray trees shiver on the slopes, leaves flutter and gather in great piles where the insistent wind follows its whim and pushes them, compacting their individuality into swirling masses of mayhem.
we exist in a brown sea, flashes of gold and copper lessening, the brilliant orange and vermilion fading and falling into heaps of matter thickening the carpet of the mountain floors.

riding emigration you reach a spot about five miles up where the bike lane is suddenly gone: it's covered by a thousand fallen gold leaves which have been soldered together by the past days' snows and rain. although the lane before this point has been dusted with the occasional leaf or rocks that have slid down the hillside and rolled to stopping points between the road's edge and that thick white line, there has always been visible asphalt upon which you can navigate the path of your skinny little tires.
until the blanket of leaves completely covers the lane.
and a decision must be made.
you could turn back. you could ride upon the likely slippery carpet. or you could swing wide, into the traffic lane, bypassing the section of golden surface.

there's really not much time to think about this, as it confronts you quickly and unexpectedly. but each potential decision involves risk and reward, and it's a skill to decide in mere seconds which response will be best.
to turn back gives you an immediate reward--a descent--but leaves you without an answer to what the top of the hill might bring.
to ride upon the wet leaves could bring you down, your wheel slipping out from under you, or could simply provide you a rush of adrenaline and victory if you remain upright and past it.
to swing wide into the traffic lane puts you at risk of negligent or uptight drivers who aren't able to find it within themselves to gracefully share the road, but can reward you with safe passage around the treacherous stretch.

the decision to be made here isn't earth shattering, it's barely significant. but it's one of those moments life presents us with where we can either thoughtfully react and analyze our options, or just move through without true consideration. what is astounding is that this assessment and analyzation can take place in split seconds, and is perhaps often not even acknowledged. to move through without true consideration takes even less time, and may perhaps signify an unconscious skill to which we all might aspire.

I rode around the leaves. ( I seem to have an issue these days with riding on top of slippery substances. terra firma is my friend; weeds and wet leaves are possibly not. ) but at the moment of decision I realized that every option presented me had repercussions, and that by choosing one I was eliminating all others. it was over in seconds, it was not to be revisited until the next time I ride that stretch of road.
sometimes we flow, following the path life puts before us, and sometimes we make small decisions that tweak our path, and often, it's difficult to tell the difference.

Friday, October 29, 2010

cinderella story

I am having a cinderella moment.
in the past few days a deer has run in front of my bike, and a weasel has popped his little head and body in my path. teeny little fruit flies keep swirling around me, and today while I rode, little birds followed me and chirped and sang the entire time.

I feel like cinderella in her pretty blue dress, surrounded by adoring critters.

another way to look at things:
I live in utah and it's fall, I ride in a canyon where I often see critters.
the other day I threw out a rotting red onion that was hanging out in my kitchen.
and it's just possible that my bike has a little squeak.


I would love it if I could ride my bike and look like a princess while doing it. you know, perfect makeup, clean and sweat-free hair, a beautiful dress that flatters instead of those abhorrent bike shorts, soft lighting and gentle music instead of squint-inducing sunlight and car horns.
I wouldn't even mind being surrounded by adoring critters.

but my reality, I fear, lies in the third paragraph above.
now I have a plan for the fruit flies, but the bike squeak has me stumped. it's one of those "now you hear it now you don't" utterances, and since it was chilly this morning and I had my headband on, all sounds were muffled and I don't really know where it was coming from.
and here is one of susan's little secrets: I don't really like to work too hard at anything.
for me to figure out what's wrong with my bike will take time, patience, and effort. I'll have to ride it around, trying to replicate today's situation, hoping the same sound will be produced. then I'll have to focus my hearing and determine where the squeak is coming from. then I'll have to use what little I know, and try to connect a moving part with the sound.
all of this just so I can take it in to my bike boy and say,
"it's making this squeaky sound sometimes, but not always, and I think it's coming from this little place but I can't really tell and can you figure it out because I can't?"

sounds a bit like a cinderella might, doesn't it?
all I need now are a few little mice to run around and help me do the sewing, and I'll have it made.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

in motion

something mysterious happens when you're outdoors engaged in exercise.
it doesn't usually happen within the first five minutes, and not even within the first ten or so. it happens a little further into it, when you "hit your stride" or otherwise start clicking along, and you suddenly realize that you are engaged, engrossed, at one with the activity.
and then this mysterious process kicks in, this process that removes your concerns, your worries, your frustrations, your desire to control uncontrollable outcomes. it picks them off, one by one, and drops them along the way, lightening your very being.

it's possible that this mysterious process involves the shortage of oxygen available to fuel your thinking/worrying/complaining brain, but I like to think it's a bit deeper than that. I like to think that it's simply--and significantly--your true self that is allowed to come forward when you're removed from the cocoon of work/family/home/have-to's and you are focused only upon the very moment you are living. and I believe this happens easiest and best when you're exercising outdoors, in the real and natural world.

I was wogging today (I'm up to 1.5 miles without stopping: only 24.7 more and I'm ready for a marathon!) when I realized I was so caught up in the clear, cold air, the melting snow dripping from trees, the blue sky peeking through the cloud pillows, and the beauty of the snow-covered mountains in the distance that I couldn't even bring a worry to the forefront of my mind. a concern danced through but it couldn't take hold: my mind refused to let it. another tried, then another, and they all were forced to concede defeat because I was too engrossed in the physical activity in which I was engaged. there was not a speck of room for all that other superfluous crud that always tries to hold me hostage.

and this is why I love cycling, and what I'm learning to love about my almost-running. these both take me away from everything that tries to pin me down, stress me, convince me I am wrong or inferior or neglectful. those little negativities just can't cling to me when I'm in motion.

whether it's 5 mph cycling up a canyon, 40 mph flying down a hill, or 6 mph (my top speed!) jogging around the block, it's movement that repels concerns and grief. it's mental health work.
it's a good thing.

Monday, October 25, 2010

not a cycling day

no cycling in my life today; instead, I went to sundance ski resort and sat, shivering, in a tent while snow blew down and around for hours. I was almost as cold as I've been on a few of my bike rides this season . . . but this time I was wearing a thin silk dress, hose, and heels.
and I was waiting, sitting and waiting, for the weather to behave. and then for my turn in the hair and make-up trailer. and then to be shuttled to the shooting location. and then to be told what to do.
because today I sacrificed a bike ride (well, okay, it was snowing anyway) and instead was an (unpaid) extra in a film being shot here in utah. it came about through a friend of a friend, and although I don't consider myself starstruck, there's something almost seductive about an offer to be involved in the making of a movie.
it's common knowledge that movie production involves a great deal of down time.
my step-father once described the job of an anesthesiologist as being 99% boredom and 1% terror. I wouldn't describe out moments of activity today as terror, but the 99% boredom is fairly accurate.
so let me just give a plug for the film:
a movie about a dog who both holds a marriage together and accomplishes a number of other amazing feats while on the run, this movie, Darling Companion, has star power. dianne wiest, richard jenkins, elizabeth moss, keven kline, sam shepard, and diane keaton all have significant roles, and today I hung out with all of them but sam, shivering in the same fresh and freezing air. I think this will be a great movie: watch for it in 2012!

and now I sit here in thick warm socks and pajama pants, almost returned to a normal body temperature after being home about 90 minutes. just like after a few bike rides I've been on.
and as experiences go, this one fits in the "glad I did it but don't want to repeat it" category. just like a few bike rides I've been on.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

along the way

dave shields in his book The Race tells of his fourteen-year-old character's ride up the south side of boulder mountain, starting from his home in hanksville, utah. the opening scene of the book has his character crashing near the top, splitting his knee open, blood everywhere and bone exposed.

when I first tried to read this book I stopped right then. put the book down. and didn't pick it up again for about a year.

it was too visceral, and there wasn't enough else pulling me through that part to keep going.

I eventually went back to the book, though, and skimmed the gross parts about muscle and bone and enjoyed the story.

two years ago I was visiting torrey, utah, and attempted to ride up boulder mountain from the north side. neglecting to do my research ahead of time, I ended up out of water and food an unknown distance from the top, and didn't dare keep going, and turned back around.

this morning I was again in torrey, this time armed with research, plenty water, and a pocketful of bananas and Gu's.

and a determination to get to the summit of boulder mountain.

no crashes, no blood, and no turning around.

boulder mountain is in part of the Dixie National Forest, in an area I like to call mid-south-central utah. and it's really just one more hill to climb in susan's book of life. I made it, I scaled the summit today, and what I learned is that the section I rode two years ago was the best part of the climb. it's the prettiest section, the most colorful, and it culminates in a "scenic overlook" spot that is one of the most stunning around.
from this spot you look out over mesas and buttes and snow-capped mountains--the henry's--far, far in the distance. red rock and purple, bone and gray and seven shades of rosy pink blend in this stunning expanse of varied topography. on a clear day, it's said you can see a hundred and fifty miles, which is enough to almost boggle the mind. trees, reservoirs, valleys, gulches, passes, almost every kind of geological structure you can imagine ~ these all stretch out away, fading gently into the horizon, gradually slipping into a hundred shades of blue and gray.

so today's lesson is this: it is good to have a goal, and it's good to achieve your goal, but it's also true that sometimes the most wonderful things in life are found along the way to achieving your goal.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


if you're seriously engaged, there comes a point in your cycling/hiking/running/jogging/climbing when you think you can't take one more step/rotation/whatever.
you then have to dig down deep and find something within to keep you going, some encouragement, a bit of energy, something that renews your commitment and determination to complete whatever you've started. it's what the little steam engine found, it's a belief that converts to muscle power through some magical means.

this happens to me frequently, and I usually am able to find something to convince my legs to keep going. it can be a reminder of my goal, a lecture to not be a wimp, or simply a statement that I can do anything I set my mind to.
sometimes I argue with what I find deep within, and sometimes I give in to the "I can't take one more step" belief.
but most of the time, I find what I need to keep working toward my goal.

writing here has fallen into that place of "I can't take another step." it's been this way for a while, and I keep reaching deep within to find something to keep me going. I'm stuck in a place of "I donwanna" and it's only through this reaching deep, reminding myself of my commitment, and listening to internal lectures that I'm able to keep going.
the reason for my "I donwanna", I believe, is that I'm deeply involved in another writing project, and most of my creative juices are flowing that direction. there's little time, desire, or imagination left for the tao of cycling. and so I dig deep each time I post here, searching for a spark of inspiration, something wise or wonderful to write about, and I find that it's just like climbing a big hill on my bike: it's not easy.
it takes commitment, determination, and focus.
and just like when climbing that big hill, I often want to give up. but I know I'll be a better cyclist for not giving up. and I know I'll be a better writer for pushing through and not throwing in the proverbial towel.

there's more to us than we realize.
and we'll never know this until we reach deep within over and over again, in one arena and then another. and then another.
just as the unexamined life is not worth living (socrates), an untested life is pale and shallow in comparison to one that has been tested again and again.

colorful and deep, now that's a great life.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


a few days back I told you about my attempts to run. I smile as I type that, because it's really not running at all. it's barely even jogging.
however, I am proud to say that I have passed a hurdle with the whole thing. (I know I use this word a lot, but I cannot find a better one to describe what I'm thinking of.) there is hope for me yet . . .

my brother and his family live in a great part of fort worth close to the TCU campus. the streets roll just a bit, and have great stretches of flat. there are trees absolutely everywhere, trees that birds hide in and chatter at each other. the lawns are expansive and lots are huge, and there is also a great trail to run/walk/jog/bike on that stretches for miles and connects parks. so I had a perfect opportunity to work on my I Wanna Be A Runner goal.
the screaming quads didn't stop: they kept yelling at me throughout the long weekend. but I persevered, and on saturday
okay, for those of you who run, I know this is Not A Big Deal. but for me, who probably hasn't done this since college, IT IS A BIG DEAL!
again, it's more mental than anything.
now I can hold it in my mind that I CAN do this, I am able and capable. my knees survived it, my back survived it, all of me came out of it whole.
as I came close to the mile-marker, I raised my arms in a Rocky salute and cheered myself: it was great. no one was around, and no one cared except me, but I cared a great deal and that was exactly enough.

today, back home, I decided to try to repeat myself. could I do it? I wanted to do it soon enough again so that I don't have to go through this excruciating muscle thing again, and so this afternoon I set out to repeat my milestone.
and I did it; I even went a little past a mile.

can you hear the Rocky theme music playing in the background?

as I said, what matters most is that now I know I can do this. so I will do it again, and I'm sure I'll want to keep extending the length of my jog, and before long I'll probably be tracking how many miles I run, just like I do with biking.
scary, isn't it?
but for now, I am just glad that I pushed and overcame the part of me that said I can't do this.
we all have one, and sometimes they're darn loud. but I'm learning to talk back to it.

john says next thing you know I'll be in a swimming pool, then signing up for my first triathlon . . . and I say---and you have this here on the record---if that ever, ever happens, you have the right to have me certified and thrown in the loony bin.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

aerial view

this afternoon on my flight home from texas I flew over all the peaks and passes that I work so hard to reach on my bike.
I love to fly, and I love being low enough to visually segregate the landscape into "places I ride," "places I recognize but don't ride," and "unknown territory."
from the air, of course, everything looks much different, and what looks like a mass of brown from up above is in reality a patchwork of every shade of brown, gold, yellow, and orange there could possibly be. I know this because an hour after I landed I was on my bike and heading up to see what the hillsides looked like from a different perspective.
looking down at it all from above, all the myriad canyons and peaks and summits, brought a quote to mind,

no one regrets reaching the top of the mountain.

and in trying to research the origin of that quote I found a quote I liked even more:

those at the top of the mountain didn't fall there. (marcus washling)

and with those two thoughts I'll close, leaving us both to ponder what it is about man that drives him to scale mountains, and fills him with such powerful emotions once he reaches the top.

Friday, October 15, 2010

comments from the quads

my legs are begging me, clamoring, shrieking, please get us back on a bike! please, please.....
it's not because they're bored.
I'm currently in fort worth, texas, on a vacation with my kids, and I did not bring my bike. I believe it's been two years since I've been on any kind of a vacation without my bike. that one was only for two days, but this one is four days long. four days in a row, off my bike? eek.
I came into this thinking it will be good for me. stretch my comfort zone, expand my horizon, that kind of thing. push me into doing something different.
so I brought my tennies and some jogging/walking clothing, and yesterday I went out for my wog. or my jalk.
the weather here is gorgeous, absolutely perfect for being outdoors. the highs are around eighty degrees, with overnight lows in the upper fifties. there's a gentle breeze, and the skies are cloudless blue blue blue.
and no matter how fit and in shape I might be, there is obviously a huge difference in muscle usage between riding a bike and jogging, for my legs are talking to me every time I move the tiniest bit. I took the time to stretch four different times yesterday afternoon/evening, and then again before I went out today. I stretched for almost ten minutes when I finished my miles this morning.
and my legs are still begging, screaming, pleading with me to let them just spin a darn bike around instead of this ridiculous pavement pounding action I've forced them to do. please, susan, a bike!
nope. I am committed to my horizon-expanding plan, and will hit the road sans machinery again tomorrow. and possibly the next day. I still harbor this secret desire to be a runner, you know, and there is this little part of me that sees this enforced-bike-free time as an opportunity to step a bit closer to that goal. I don't want to give up cycling, but it would be nice to have the ability to run, as well.
so, I'll let those muscles keep complaining, and I'll tough it out because I have a self-improvement goal here. whether I'm getting closer to becoming a runner, or simply pushing a boundary, it's all movement in a good direction.
ow. time to hobble over and get a glass of water. ow.
get us back on a bike . . .

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

what is left

I have discovered there is more to me than I knew.
because of cycling.
I will start here, and then we can extrapolate to Much Bigger Things.

see, when I first started cycling I thought it would be a good way to get in better shape, get rid of some flab, and start something that I could keep doing for decades in an effort to age gracefully.
I was never an athlete---I played tennis in my very-small high school, and that was about it---and although I'd attended hundreds of aerobics classes, spin classes, and weight room sessions, it was always just to try to be healthy. not because I was athletic.

and then I bought my road bike, and started to get a little more serious. power camp came along and taught me about form and interval training, and then I started conquering peaks. I've always worked hard at it, and pushed myself because, well, because I could.
and then I dug deeper, found more, and discovered something within me I didn't know was there.
and this is what hit me yesterday: I am capable of more than I ever imagined.
how incredible is this concept??
we live with ourselves forever, our entire lives, and then one day we take a serious look at ourselves---or survive some kind of a test---and discover that we have more depth, more passion, more ability, more whatever that we ever knew.
I have lived on this earth almost five decades now, and my excitement could have lit up the entire canyon as this thought struck me yesterday. I am not staid, static, shallow, or even a known entity. there are depths of myself yet to discover, there are strengths and abilities and brain cells that have yet to be challenged.
my whole cycling life began just four short years ago, and as I plan to live many more decades, there must be untold experiences ahead of me that will continue this journey of illuminating unexcavated places within me.

what a thrill! to learn that you are more than you realized? to learn that your possibilities are endless?
our task, our mission, is to accept those opportunities that dangle in front of us, grasp firmly those ropes and leap away into whatever comes next. because that's the only way we'll ever discover what lies deep, deep within, just waiting to be pulled forth into existence.

Monday, October 11, 2010

tipping point

something changed for me the other day. I was riding and the grade of the road gradually increased and I just powered right up the thing. it was different, somehow, and I've spent the past four days trying to understand what switched up for me. because something did. every day since last thursday I've had this different way of pedaling up rising roads. it feels different, and it feels good.
it's as though my entire leg is engaged, like I'm digging deeper and finding something there and being able to utilize it.
I keep trying to figure out exactly what's going on, though, and I can't.
this is what drives me crazy.

I want an explanation for everything. I want to know why some days are better than others, why some days I'm fast and other days I'm not. why some days I feel powerful-capable-strong and other days I feel wimpy-weak-ineffective. on those good days, I want to know what I've done right so I can repeat it.
and I want to know what changed last thursday morning at eleven-thirty.
actually, what I want even more is to make sure I keep this new thing.
I'm hoping I turned a corner, made a leap into a new way of riding, of pulling power from within. I want this to be just how I am from now on.
perhaps if I wish it so it will be?

alas, they say nothing stays the same. everything changes.
I'd like to hold onto this for just a while, though, because I'm really enjoying it. it's not that I don't have to work to climb those rises, it's just a different kind of work that is more efficient and effective. which are two of my favorite ways to be.

I hope I reached a tipping point last thursday, a point where years of practice, effort, training and work finally culminated in a great muscular Ah-Ha that has resulted, simply, in a new way to be.
I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

what william knew

I bumped into this william faulkner quotation today, and as it seems apropos in discussing both my cycling and my life, I will post it here and leave it at that for today. your task is simply to ponder, and see how it fits you.

Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

if not now, when?

it's often said that when you see, hear, or otherwise receive similar messages within a reasonably brief time frame, you might benefit from paying attention to the message. so when our substitute yoga teacher shared Rabbi Hillel's well-known quotation with us this morning, I decided I was supposed to pay attention. his quote is this:

"If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?"

it is the third segment of this that caught me by surprise, as I had just used the same question last saturday, and it's not a question I typically think of. the situation was this: I was riding my bike up big cottonwood, and I had this urge/desire/death wish to, once I got to the top, keep on riding up guardsman pass until I reached that peak as well. the question just came to me as I was riding---if not now, when?---and I thought there is no better time than now. the saturday before I'd had a similar thing happen: I was riding up little cottonwood, and when I reached alta I had an urge/desire/death wish to ride all the way up to the albion basin campground.
I was describing my saturday ride to john, and told him about my if not now, when? thought.
because it's a pertinent question these days: I am probably at the peak of my cycling fitness for the year, this beautiful fall riding weather won't be with us too much longer, and next spring-summer is a long, long way away. now is the time to take advantage of what will inevitably change.

I tend to have this attitude about many things in life, but often my approach is more along the lines of sigh-and-let's-get-it-over-with. but what I find is that when I do, relief washes over me, I gain certainty and confidence, and I behave better for having done what I did. (I concede that not everything is best handled now, and many things benefit from taking place at better times/places than the immediate now. I am not by any means trying to say that everything should be done at the moment you contemplate it.)

I will leave the good rabbi's first and second statements for another day, and will just remain grateful for the universe's little nudge about if not now, when? and make sure to keep the question forefront in my mind as I approach all aspects of life, not just cycling.

nonetheless, I'll see you at the top of the hill.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

half past the point of no return*

this morning I went to yoga, and walked in from the parking lot with biking buddy bob.
now bob hasn't been to tuesday morning yoga since . . . well, probably since the tuesday morning yoga teacher became the regular tuesday morning yoga teacher.
bob likes yoga, bob has been practicing yoga for years and years, but bob doesn't really like the way the tuesday morning teacher teaches yoga.
so I asked him why he was coming to yoga on this dark and early tuesday morning, and he replied,
. . . I figure it's good yoga to come to a yoga class taught by someone who's teaching style you don't like.

yep, it sure is.
it's called stretching your boundaries, sitting in discomfort, challenging your beliefs and thoughts, all of that stuff.
the stuff that a life is full of, if you're willing to take it on.

almost every day I tackle things I don't want to. things that make me uncomfortable, things that are painful, things that are hard work. phone calls I'd rather avoid, conversations I don't really want to have, questions I don't want to ask, requests I'd rather not have to make. hills that hurt to climb, asanas that are difficult and taxing, tasks that physically challenge me. creating something from nothing, and hoping it's a something that's worth something.
I can think of ways to avoid it all, but at what cost?

I've been thinking lately of max lucado's book, fearless. and pink's glitter song that asks if you've ever looked fear in the face and said, I just don't care?
fear has a nasty little way of creeping into our lives, wrapping its long pointed fingers around our every thought and wish and desire. it sometimes acts like arrogance, it sometimes pretends to be smart. other times it tells us we don't need to work so hard, expose ourselves to that, reach out, be available, be vulnerable. and then there are times when it tells us to stay small, stay safe, just be satisfied with what has always been.

yoga tells us to be still and go within, and have faith in what you find there.
fear wins when we stay home, when we stay small, when we don't risk.
and somewhere in between is the place of discomfort, the place bob pushed himself to be in today. it doesn't last forever, because at some point the scale tips and what was once uncomfortable becomes acceptable. it is---to use pink's lyrics---half past the point of no return. once you get there you realize you have the choice to stay in faith and trust, or you can let yourself slip back into rationalizations, fear, and insignificance.

so I live in discomfort, balanced on this fulcrum, waiting to edge closer and closer to half past the point of no return, where I slide into pure faith.

*lyrics, pink, glitter in the air by billy mann and alecia b moore

Sunday, October 3, 2010

rubber band man

drove past me this morning . . .
which made me grin.

but today's real story is about rubber bands.
about the fact that the city library system uses rubber bands to attach slips of paper with names on them to the items being held for those people. a few months back, somebody high up in the library powers-that-be decided that each branch should have their own color, and my local branch now has big, fat, hot pink rubber bands around the books you pick up off the hold shelves.
about the fact that I was singing Rubber Band Man to myself as I was riding up big cottonwood canyon yesterday. you know, the song recorded in 1976 by a long-lost group called The Spinners. just for fun, you can click here and check it out, if you've forgotten this classic: rubber band man.
office max used this in their back-to-school commercials a few years ago, and it's just one of those songs that has stuck itself somewhere inside my memory bank and just won't let go.
and it was revived yesterday thanks to john and his buddy casey.

casey is the cycling guru at the health club john belongs to, and a few weeks back john shared with me this casey-ism about climbing: as you're heading up a hill, pick an object somewhere in the distance, and imagine there's a huge rubber band connecting you to that object; then just let the rubber band pull you up to the object and bingo, you're there. then pick another object further up the road, a new rubber band (or the same one, if it worked well for you) and keep on climbing.

yesterday I decided to try this. so I visualized a big, fat, hot pink rubber band looped around a pine tree way up the hill and me much further below, and let it just pull me up.
and it did a pretty good job.
then I thought I'd try a yellow rubber band. I looped it around a telephone pole way up ahead, and it did pretty well, also.
I tried to use a green one, but I just couldn't make it work and went back to pink.
while singing Rubber Band Man to myself, of course.

it's probably a good thing I was riding by myself.

but I cruised up the hill in record time, and even felt so darn good I climbed guardsman pass as well. I forgot to use the rubber band trick going up guardsman, however, probably because I had depleted all brain cells within the first mile or so of that leg.

hot pink seems to be the best color, so my thought is that next time I'm at the library I'm going to ask if I could please, pretty please, keep one of those rubber bands so I can wear in on my wrist next time I ride my bike up a hill, to remind me of this great trick.
I don't need anything to remind me of the song: I'm pretty sure it will magically appear in my brain every time, from this point forward, that I ever see, use, or even think about a rubber band.

Friday, October 1, 2010

reptilian day

today was a day for personalized license plates.
if only I had a photographic memory, or could snap photos on a decent camera (which would not be my cell phone) while riding, then I'd be able to give you a list of at least thirty or forty.
the ho-hum tame ones I remember are NANIVAN, and 3ISENUF.
and then came the fun ones.
see, this morning during my ride I was in the middle of a dodge viper car rally. I actually believe they could have been looping from foothill up emigration, down parley's canyon and then back up again. either that, or there were a good hundred vipers driving up emigration this morning. either way, it was quite fun. just like I love riding in a marathon, I love riding in a car rally: it's great to be in the midst of people who are doing what they love to do.
(I will refrain from judgement here: just because some people's passions involve fitness-related activities, not all people's have to. I'm sure many of those viper drivers exercise regularly and are quite fit and healthy.)
so, because of the facts that (1) I do not have a photographic memory or take great pictures while I'm riding, and (2) most of these cars did not have front license plates, so I could only read those plates of cars that were heading my same direction, I don't have a very long list to share with you.
but here are those that I memorized, just so I could come back home and write them down for you:
COPRHD (this was the first one I noticed: car was copper colored, driver was a redhead)
FLY BY U (yes, he did)

all in all it was great fun, even watching the photographers at the top of little mountain snap photos of the cars coming up the hill (I'm sure I'll be photo-shopped out).
the cars were pretty much all driven by men, but I did see a few females sitting in passenger seats.
I have to be careful here, because there may come a day when I'll view the world through the front windshield of a dodge viper.

but I doubt it.