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November 18, 1998
a year ago

Thank God for Mountain Bikes

The morning turned out to be as crisp and clear as promised. The sky even showed blue for the first time in days. The clouds were just wisps of cotton gauze against the cold, pale blue. It was also cold. I wore a T-shirt, a turtle neck, and a flannel shirt over biking pants in bright red. I like wearing vivid colors for biking in, so the cars can see me. The black backpack from REI fit me well.

It is the same ride I've done before, with the same cars, the same traffic, the same paths, and the same sights; but, as ever, it was different. The scenery had changed from the summer, all the vivid greens turning to gold and brown. The lake was as smooth as glass, reflecting the houses and the forest colors back up to the sky.

The side of the road had changed as well, with the latest wind storm branches had fallen, the traffic had pushed them to the edges of the road, and now they were great hazards in my path as I rode. I was very glad of the mountain bike as I rolled over countless broken branches, leaves, and the slick surfaces of rain drenched grass. The worst was one branch that had two side branches out of it so that one of them was held up, perpendicular to the road, sticking straight up and out and the whole mess was set on the very, very narrow shoulder of a bridge. There was nasty traffic in the narrower lane to my left, and there was no way I could swerve into that to avoid the branch. So I took my courage in both hands and rushed the flat part of the branch with my bike and with a nice, satisfying crunch, I got through just fine.

Marymoore Park was empty, very different from the summer, when most of the playgrounds were filled with children and their mothers. This morning there were only Park employees and construction workers.

It turned out the part of the running/riding path was being renovated by construction workers. So, there were detour signs and barricades across my usual path through the park. I had to go to the street, bike down a section of it, and then I found a ramp to the rest of the Slough Trail. I was very thankful for the rest of the trail, as I did not want to deal with Redmond traffic. The trail ride was peaceful, easy and quiet. The street ride had exhausted me, and I had imagined that it was because I was out of shape; the second half of the ride was easy. When I should have been more tired I was, instead, much happier.

Along the dirt road that loops around the slough and avoid the traffic right near work, a tree had fallen down, across the path. I got off my bike, lifted it over the big branch and remembered Carla saying, "It's not mountain biking if you don't ever have to walk." Got me to giggle.

Everyone at work gave me a friendly bad time for having to ride to work on my bike when we had seven Land Rovers. It's funny to have cars in such abundance, but have them all broken in some way. Ray was kind enough to drive me to the Fill Yer Belly Deli to pick up lunch, though he, Peggy, and Bob all had ordered lunch with me. It was a great lunch and I was famished after my ride.

I can't eat and then do physical exertion things, even in the morning. I did feel it, though, through my whole body as it starved for the energy that I was burning right out of it.

Work itself was straightfoward. Bugs make life easy. I just fix the Next One, each after the other.

I was, however, dehydrated pretty badly. So I had not only the hazelnut shake, but I also went through a couple of pots of tea to get the liquid levels back up. That was really good.

Kathy keeps calling me at work, I'm not at all sure why, but it's kinda fun to talk with her for a bit. John's supposed to pick me up sometime. We'll see when he does. It's going to be interesting, all in all. No lights on the bike means that I just don't get to ride home. Bob said that he'll give me a ride if John doesn't, so that should work out one way or another.

Spending part of my off-hour time dictating my notes into Word, transferring the text over here to Flick and it's amusing just how much better the dictation software is about recognizing words that I read instead of words that I compose as I think while I'm saying things. It is, however, understandable, as the darned software trains people by having them read material rather than composing material, it's the only way it can figure out how to error correct what is being said.

Legs are a bit sore, but not bad, which is good, all in all. I might actually still be in some kind of shape, the way John was in not too bad a shape for Monday night's game. Kinda cool.

Brought to you by Dragon System's Point & Speak.

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