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July 8, 1998
a year ago

Riding to Work

It's just a gorgeous day outside. It surprised us a little as the forecast had said something about partially cloudy and when we looked out the window this morning it was just gorgeous and clear. Okay, the Fourth of July really, really, really ought to be celebrated on the eighth.

Yesterday had started cloudy, ended clear. Driving home from the deacons' meeting the sky was this riot of brilliant, deep colors, bleeding red, dark sapphire, and purples so deep they fell to black. The meeting went okay. Chaotic. No real structure, and I did, indeed, get volunteered for this coming Sunday and I'm doing the Communion Sunday in September. Oh well. At least after this coming week I'll have the rest of July and all of August off. That should be good.

By the time I got out of the meeting I was exhausted. Lack of sleep and lack of food had me standing blearily at Albertson's knowing that I needed to call John to tell him that I was coming home as I'd forgotten to call him from the church and wandering about the store looking for parchment paper. I wanted to make my own lady fingers for more tiramisu.

They didn't have any. Even after I asked the manager and he told me that they didn't have any I wandered about the store for a bit still thinking. Completely lost. Anyway, eventually I remembered to check out with my box of cake flour and called John to tell him I was coming home.

John is marvelous and wonderful and all that. When I got home, wandered in and set down my box of cake flour, John asked me if I liked it. "Uhm... what?" I asked and then saw the five fire and ice roses in a vase set on the kitchen counter. "Oh. Wow..." He laughed for minutes after that and realized just how out of it I was, so he shooed me to the couch to watch World Cup tape and then began to finish off making dinner.

Yum. Hamburgers. Hot and tender and cheesy and he also cooked bacon to go on top and the vegetables were fresh from Isabel and George's garden as George had given me a Bag of Stuff to take home to John and I hadn't even looked, but there was a tomato about as big as both my fists put together and crisp lettuce. Yum.

I nearly fell asleep the first half of the Brazil vs. Holland game. It was that defensive. Oh well, to be expected, then Brazil got a goal in the first thirty seconds of the second half and the pace picked up. It picked up enough that I got kinda exhausted and we finally stopped the game around the sixtieth minute and went to sleep. I've tried to avoid all mentions of the game since, but it's been hard.

So the sleep was good, the morning was gorgeous, and, yes, Rick, I rode my bike to work. It was actually not at all bad. The hill, going down, was easy so fast my t-shirt and tires on the road nearly sounded like a car coming after me, and I kept checking behind me to make sure I wasn't holding anyone up. Fast fast and faster and I remembered what it was like to only turn a bike with my body weight, leaning into the turns. The ride along the Lake road was fairly flat and while there was a good deal of traffic, it wasn't that bad. The great parts were through the park. Summer redolent everywhere, the heavy heat and moisture of huge tracts of green, green grass and kids playing and shouting and trees and acres of playing fields and just grassy areas to ride through that were really keen.

My legs just ached a bit mildly and I fiddled with the gears a lot to keep the rotations pretty easy on 'em. That worked really well. I was really happy with how it all worked... especially the knee. Given that my seat wasn't all that well adjusted, yet, I had to take a few stops to get it to the right height where I could do a full leg extension. It got the right knee to ache a bit with each push, which was good as it had to figure out how to work to straighten. Not a bad thing. That set of muscles doesn't get active work all that often, so this was very good for it indeed.

It was likely an easier ride than some of the ones that I've been doing on the stationary bike because I could coast and I could ride the hills, so could take plenty of breathers. Also the resistance on the stationary was stuck fairly high, so even the mild hills were somewhat easier than the stationary. That was kinda cool to find out. It was, however, significantly longer.

It was also more fun, cooler, and far, far more varied than the uhm... lack of scenery in my livingroom. No duh.

So when I got to work, I wasn't all that sweaty, hot or bothered. It was very nice. I took a nice cool shower and then settled to work. A lot easier than some mornings as the ride cleared my head really well of the sleepies. The body aches were mild and actually felt okay.

A very keen way to start the day. Lunch was when I really felt all the aches in the walk across the street to the deli. Oof. So I'm just sitting here enjoying the sunshine and the day and the feeling of my body after some keen exercising. I'm also like *really* mellow compared to normal, so it's been really good for the old emotional rollercoaster thing. Much nicer than before, eventhough it's the first day of my actual period. No cramps either. Which is likely more information than anyone really needed to know, but it's a very nice side effect.

I've also planned and bought plane tickets for my Horde visiting weekend and that is very good, too. It's good to have that *done* and I'm going and all that. Carl's also been really keen and offered to let me help him with a car trial kind of thing that he wants to do, which includes driving nice cars for good distances up and down really fun roads. That should be really cool.

Sigh... the only thing that I can think of starting my sharing with is "Depression is a disease that can, sometimes, be fatal." We'll see where it goes...

The ride home was interesting and fun in many ways. The most obvious was that John had to stay late in order to clean up some last loose ends before Dan went off on a business trip in order to actually release everything to CM. So we were here until well after 7 p.m.. And while the sun doesn't set until nearly 9 p.m. the twilight does get pretty dark.

So we headed home knowing that I didn't have any lights and that we'd bettr get back before we actually had to worry about people seeing me without them.

We did mostly roads coming to work, but going from work, it was faster and more fun going along this gravel road along the slough from an off-shoot from the road at work, to the slough trail. It was rough and bumpy and wonderful. The bike was sweeter on the nasty stuff than I could have imagined, easy, balanced and lovely. It was so nice. The thing is that it was so evident to me that the bike could do so much more than I was capable of doing with it through the whole pair of rides that it was just kinda funny. It also meant, though, that I felt safe on the thing, so that was cool.

Parking lots and bridges. Trails and ribbons of cracked black top mounded by roots into bumpy ridges of texture. It was so cool. A moment when we met up with a guy on a bridge and it was odd to suddenly have a context of all the old martial arts senses suddenly come into play and the guy's ease and balance and knowledge of himself on his bike was as obvious and evident as a shout. It was funny to have it be so obvious, and just as obvious to me just how completely unbalanced and uncomfortable I was in comparison. It'll take time and practice. I know that now, no need to be embarrassed, rather to know that there is more to come.

That was very cool, though, to see someone that completely poised. I still have problems getting between vertical posts that are supposed to allow bikes through and keep cars out.

At the end of the ride was Thompson Road.

Back up the hill that we'd flown down earlier. During the ride back around the lake I'd told John that I just wasn't going to make it and that he should ride ahead and come back for me with the car or something, but he said we're almost there, so I'll just ride with you until you actually stop then I'll know where you are. Tricky bastard.

The hill's begining is probably worse than any other part of it, steep and curved to the right, it's where most cars lose traction during ice days, just as I did a while back. So we hit it in lowest gear, granny gear. The pedeling was possible in that gear. Slow, but possible, and so, extraordinarily slowly, I nearly walked that bike up that initial slope.

It was so slow that while pedeling wasn't all that hard, the balance aspect of it all was, so I was wobbling a bit from side to side with each set of strokes. By simply going up one gear on the seven gear side, I straightened out remarkably. But after that initial slope, I was so tired, it took a while on the lesser slope in first before I could get enough energy to get to second.

In the middle, though, I nearly fell off the road while a car went by me, and the problem is that the right side of that particular road, in some places, goes over a cliff edge. I was about good feet away from a bad down slope, so I was safe, but took me a while to get back onto my bike. I found a driveway that was relatively flat to start up again on, and so I did and kept chugging up. I'd hoped that John had kept going and some part of my brain kept thinking that it would be cool to be rescued. Then I went around another curve and I kinda blinked. I was at the top.

Amazing what can be done one step at a time, even when one has no hope of achieving anything. Just taking the steps, even in doubt, gets you there.

That was actually pretty funny. I also lost a stirrup going down our horrendous driveway, but with speed the bike is much eaiser to control and balance, so I made it just fine. Fezzik kinda peered at me quizzically as he usually wakes up to the sound of our car, not the sound of us biking down the driveway.

The sun had set when we rolled our bikes into the garage, so I was glad we hadn't been too much later.

We watched our Brazil/Holland tape for a bit, then nuked quick old-leftovers for dinner before the first OT. Then watched until Fezzik barked at us so much John took him for a walk, and then Fezzik flumped on the floor looking dejected as we watched the rest. I snugged him a lot and petted him muchly while he lay there, and he looked a bit mollified.

I was sticky from the ride home, so I took a nice bubble bath, hot enough to make all my sore muscles relax and let go and I drank oodles of water to make sure things wouldn't hurt any worse tomorrow.

Sleep was quick and lovely, warm and snug.

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