Roll with it.

Over the weekend I set out to complete two bicycle rides. Saturday started with me breaking my Garmin watch band. Bye bye to mounting my watch to my handle bars for ride tracking data. This was a bit of a blow as I enjoy seeing my pace and time. I enjoy pushing myself to see how quickly I can get up a climb. The answer is not typically all that speedily, but I enjoy the challenge of saying “If the timer is on 1:02:06 can I get up this hill by 1:05:00, or something like that. I enjoy breaking the long ride up into mini goals and seeing if I can beat my own arbitrary idea of what I should be doing. Its also cool to look down at the screen and see how fast I’m going on the descent that I worked so hard to earn.

So I set out, Garmin in my back pocket. I hoped that it would still track my ride for me from its spot in my jersey. At least 15 miles into the ride (I know because I’ve done the route previously), I stopped for a Honey Stringer Gingerbread Waffle and a swig of Cherry Limeaide Nuun. I pulled my watch out of my pocket to see the timer reading 0:0:20 and .10 miles. So my watch worked as far as the ride down the hill from my house and then paused. No worries, I won’t get credit for that portion of the ride, but I’ll know I did it and I’ll just use the Strava app for the rest of the ride since my watch doesn’t seem to be working. Wonder why I didn’t just think to use Strava from the get go once I broke my watch band?

After refueling, I proceed on the path along the river. It’s a bright sunny day. Crisp and cool, but I am willing summer to come my way and wearing my riding shorts anyway. There are numerous families, people with dogs who are off their leashes and little ones on scooters and bicycles riding all over with little awareness of their surroundings or the dangers that are present on the bike path. Luckily, I proceeded with caution for the most part. I announced myself “On the left” with every pass, and sometimes numerous times to the same person. I realize you may think I am being courteous, which I am. I don’t want to startle anyone. But I’m also asking for a small favor. If you and your family of 4 could perhaps condense your pack to only 2 wide as I try to pass you, it’d be a huge help to me.
In the midst of navigating around large dogs, small dogs, and little ones on scooters, at some point I slip off the lip of the path and go onto the side of the path. My fabulous racing tires navigating atop dirt, gravel and big rocks. Old Emily would have squeezed the brakes and held on for dear life. A little more experienced Emily breathed through it, tightened up everything and eased back up onto the trail at my earliest chance. Whew. What a relief. The image of me crashing in front of 100 people flashed through my head. Tattered cycling clothes, broken skin, broken bones. And what about my beautiful helmet that so nicely matches the love of my life, my bicycle? Fortunately, all of this flashed through my mind quickly and just as soon as the image came it was gone and I was back up on the path.

Sunday’s ride was beautiful. Sunny and shorts. Yes is was only in the low 50’s. The warm sun felt good on my face and legs. A light windbreaker kept my core warm and cozy. There was a high wind advisory for the Willamette Valley. This means you are guaranteed to blow away. A ride is a ride, and although it was windy, I set out to cover some mileage. You know that feeling when you go out on a fishing boat and still feel like you are rocking even after getting home hours later? That’s what I felt like after riding 28.5 miles on the windiest day I’ve experienced since moving to Oregon. Cue Wagon Wheel song now. “Heyyy mama rock me!”

I could be upset that I broke my watch, annoyed that I had to share my spacious bicycle path with others who are not as courteous or perhaps just not well versed in the rules of the road, or annoyed with a little wind burn and a slower than normal route. Instead, I’m gonna roll with it. I got in two great days of riding for an estimated total of 50 miles which isn’t a big number, but it certainly beats sitting around doing nothing. I got fresh air, sunshine, and got to feel my blood pumping through my body as I climbed some hills and my heart racing on their descents.
Don’t freak out, just roll with it.

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