Tuesday, November 26, 2013


I have a friend who once spoke about working toward a goal and being so, so close, but still having to work through that final push to achievement . . . she described it as going 999 miles, and still having one mile left, the mile that feels unending, the mile where you consider chucking it all because you think you'll never really get there.

I bring this up today because this is my 999th post since beginning this blog back in 2008.  I've certainly come some distance during that time,  distance traveled in not only miles and years but in growth and awareness.

as I sit on the figurative eve of my 1000th post, I get to contemplate all those things.  I have come a long way, and it did take over 5 years to get here . . . luckily, I don't think the last mile will be my hardest.  but being here does offer time for reflection, which is something we all might benefit from doing more of.
often it feels like we're not moving in life, like we are in ruts or still so far from reaching our dreams that they seem impossible.  but I---as others---suggest that you reflect on where you were 5 years ago, what you were doing, what you focused on, and compare that with now.  have you learned?  grown?  changed in some positive way?  added variety or new challenges to your life?

we aren't meant to be static creatures.  we have amazing abilities to become stronger, wiser, kinder, better.  (and faster on a bike, too.)  all it takes is a little determination, some self-awareness, and a bit of tenacity.

so if you're in the midst of something, or even at the 999th mile toward something, be persistent.  don't give up.  keep on moving forward, and never ever ever release your dreams.  look back and see where you began, and give yourself credit for moving along, for all the progress you've made.  because you have.

we're all on the 999th mile toward something, and probably on the 500th mile toward something else.  we're often on the 31st mile, too.  so enjoy your journeys, and be grateful that you're able to take them.
use your mind, your body, your strengths and abilities, and keep striving toward those dreams and goals.
because someday you---and me, too---will be traveling along on that last mile and suddenly find ourselves hitting the 1000 mark.
which is when you start out on another first mile.
and then another.
and then, another.

Monday, November 18, 2013

when the bike lane needs a snowplow

when the bike lane needs a snowplow, it might be a good idea to stay home.
not ride.
not look outside and be swayed by the gorgeous blue sky.
not think about how you might enjoy a little exercise.
not look at the thermometer which hovers around 45.
not bundle up in long tights and three layers on top.
not put on a skull cap and your favorite new headband that has a happy jack skellington on it.
not pull on long-fingered gloves and stuff your lobster gloves in your back pocket.
not hope that your smartwool socks and toe covers will keep your feet warm.
not think that the canyon will be beautiful, all fresh and white, and that you want to see it.

when the bike lane needs a snowplow, and the rest of the road is still decorated with strips of mush and slushy runoff, frosted tire tracks and magic black ice wherever the hillside or trees shade the road with their mass, it might be a good idea to stay home.

but then you'd miss the sparkling white snow so thick and rich, the icy edges of what's begun to melt, the frosted shafts of golden grasses in the meadow.  the southern hillsides, dark and snowpacked, and the northern hillsides smiling back at them with their glistening melt.  the mirror-calm reservoir, reflecting blue sky and hillside white and brown, trees and shrub surrounded by white everywhere the eye can see.

you'd miss the thrill of riding so close to ice and snow that the cold leaps upon you, that your heart jumps throatward, that you have to lighten your grip on the handlebars and let the bike guide you safely through the edges of slush that sneak toward your tires in unexpected moments.

you'd be warm, you'd be safe, you'd never know about the wild ride being offered you just miles away.

you'd not be able to return sweaty and chilled, your feet degrees away from frozen, your fingers pink and red with cold, your lungs cleaned out and celebrating the experience.  you might not appreciate  your warm couch and blanket and book quite as much.

when the bike lane needs a snowplow, it might be a good idea to stay home.

or not.

Monday, November 11, 2013


my biking buddies define adventure in this way:    misery remembered in comfort.

and of course the most epic (meaning difficult, disastrous, wicked cold, wet, scary) rides are those that make the best stories, and the best memories, and become--in our minds--the very best adventures.
biking buddy bob, this weekend, declared our ride to be one step below an adventure.
I carefully placed it in the adventure category, hoping not to slip and fall as I did so.

salt lake city was gifted with a beautiful snowstorm earlier in the week, one that left inches on the valley floors and turned everything magically white for a day and a half.  then it melted, the creeks rose by inches, and the ground soaked moisture in with great gulps of relief.  by wednesday morning most of the snow was gone in our neighborhoods, and by friday, riding up emigration, there were just a few lingering chunks pushed outside the bike lane by snow plows, and shady stretches here and there that clung to icy snow perhaps half an inch thick.  back to fall, the temperatures hovered in the upper 50s and crept into the low 60s by saturday.

bob and I met at 11:30 saturday, and spent a few dozen words deciding where to ride, selecting millcreek canyon for its beauty, the fact that the upper half was gated the prior weekend and we would be riding without cars beside us, and the fact that neither of us had ridden there in a long time.
I think it will be colder than I want it to be, I said, to which bob replied, I know it will be colder than I want it to be.  we turned our bikes toward the canyon and pedaled away.
the lower half of the canyon allowed us sections of shade--brr--and sections lit by sun, but the effort needed to keep pedaling up up up kept us warm.  the gate, halfway up, was pulled shut and locked, and we skirted it over a bed of rocky leaves, following the path created by many before us.  trees hang heavily over that stretch of road, and we weren't 100 feet into it before snow and icy patches danced over the pavement.
ahh, this might not be so good for me, I thought.  I'm still cautious on my descents, and the thought of slipping and falling is so repellent it makes me quake.  but dry asphalt was available if you wiggled this way and that, and then suddenly there was a stretch completely free of snow, ice, and ambiguous surface.
so we kept riding.
we'd move from this side to that, searching for safe surface, and we kept finding it . . . until we didn't, where the road was covered with frozen slushy material that had been ridden over, tire tracks visible.  bob, in the lead, un-clipped and made his way through that ten-foot width, and I followed.
then we had road again, and then not.  after traversing the second time, we looked up the road and made our assessment:  we would ride to the top of the next rise, where the sun was shining, and see what it looked like from that vantage point.
the answer was, not very rideable.
so we ate our snacks while standing in the sun and adding our layers for the downhill.

the descent scared the whatever out of me:  between shaking with cold and experiencing terror over every patch of black that could be ice--let alone the true ice--I had an adventure riding down the canyon.

and this morning, sitting in comfort, sipping coffee, I can recall the terror and call it, simply,
an adventure.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

cycling in new york

with a bike shop located a few blocks from our hotel, couriers flying by, regular commuters weaving between taxis and pedestrians, and bright blue Citi Bike rentals regularly floating past, I felt completely at home in new york this past weekend, although I don't know that I'd ever have the fearlessness necessary to ride my bike in that gargantuan, overpopulated city.
I love new york:  the sights, the scents, the masses of people who neither know nor care who I am, the shops, the cobblestone streets, the sirens and honks and flashing lights . . . and the people, the people of every shape and size, skin color and disposition.
and I was truly okay with not riding my bike.
I was with my daughter, and we walked and walked and walked, which is what one should do if one has a chance.  with so much to absorb, even walking is almost too fast.  signs, pedestrians, motorists, cyclists, buildings, dogs, store windows, street-side tables . . . in a car---even creeping along in traffic--- one misses too much of the experience.
but I loved the citi bike rentals.  
the city's program allows for anyone to rent these in 24-hour or 7-day increments, and for residents to rent these on an annual basis:  for $95 a year (plus taxes, of course), one is provided a key that allows access to bikes for up to 45 minutes at a time, any hour of the day or day of the year.  if the citi-bike locations happen to fit one's commuting pattern---and one were brave enough to deal with the weather and the traffic---one could have a pretty great way to get around, complete with basket on the front.  we even noticed many wide, green-surfaced bike lanes, all part of manhattan's efforts to provide an additional transportation method for getting around town, one that both encourages healthy activity and is carbon-footprint friendly.
had my daughter not had a sprained ankle and been wearing a walking boot, we would have hopped on bikes just to check it out.  however, it's awfully difficult to ride a bike with a big, fat boot on one foot.
so I'm not able to say that I biked in new york.
I may never be able to say that I biked in new york.
but I certainly enjoyed watching everyone else do it, their agility and adeptness in avoiding motor vehicles, and the strength and skill and smiles I got to see.

we have a bike-sharing program here in slc, as well, and I haven't tried it out either . . . maybe someday.  I'm supportive of any program that encourages people to pedal around on a bicycle, because I have this quirky belief that those who pedal smile more in life.
you're welcome to try to prove me wrong.