Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Beauty of the Bike

I still don't think biking is good training, at least not the way I do it: biking to work in stop and go traffic, my backpack on my back.  But what I am finding is that biking every day, ninety minutes of movement in the fresh air, makes me feel good in my body, and when I feel good in my body, I'm more likely to try to make the effort to add a real workout to an already-full day.  So this week, even with heading in to work early some days and staying late some days, sometimes the same day, I managed three doubles.

One day I went to the gym in my office building after work and did a max strength workout before fetching my bike out of the storage room and riding home.  And one day I put my running shoes in my pack and stopped at Green Lake on my way home.  Martin tells me that a flat easy run at Green Lake will improve my foot speed, but this was a disaster.  I forgot how intensely I dislike Green Lake on a nice day; it's all crowded and flat and paved and hot and, yes, really crowded.  I tried, but I was miserable, so I aborted and went back to my bike and rode home.  Next time I'll do the emptier hillier trails of Woodland Park instead, and never mind about any mythical foot speed.

Another day was much better: I did my drive-to-Fremont-bike-to-work-bike-back-to-my-car thing and, graduating from the flat ship canal trail, I drove to the locks for some roller ski hill repeats in Discovery Park.  My times were even a little faster this week: 6:50, 6:41, 6:42.  I only had time for three repeats, then I had to scoot back across the locks before the gates were closed.  But I was very pleased with the effort, especially in the cool gray evening, with birds calling and small creatures rustling in the bushes.  It was a great way to end the week.

And then the weekend: 48 unscheduled hours, to do with what I want.  What I wanted on Saturday was a couple hours at Cougar Mountain, hiking and jogging and pausing to admire a spectacular pileated woodpecker, with bright red hat and dramatic eyeshadow, hammering away at a dead tree.  Later in the afternoon I enjoyed a ferocious two-hour strength workout with my shovel, wrestling this bad boy out of the ground.  This is the third time I've dug up this demonic old rose bush, and I think it's laughing at me.

For a reward on Sunday, I met Susie and Elizabeth and Dale at Logboom Park and biked the Sammamish River trail to Redmond in misty damp conditions. We rode to the velodrome and admired people with impressive thighs riding with no brakes and no gears, practicing their strategy on the slanted track.  I chatted with one rider taking a break, who told me there is a beer garden at the Friday night races in July.  Hmmmm!

Next we rode to Redmond Town Center, which I had never been to before and which is what would happen if Disneyland decided to build a shopping mall.  A little bit weird, in an east-side kind of way, but we found a coffee shop for a morning break, Susie and I admired a sweet rain sculpture, and soon we were on our way.

Lunch time, because, yeah, we had been riding for a whole hour and a half and were feeling a little peckish.  We pulled into the Red Hook Brewery, clearly not the only people with that idea.  It looks like Copenhagen!

But the wait wasn't long, and before we knew it, we had a great table by the window and we were diving into fish tacos and salads and beers.  And then we saddled up and headed back to our cars, enjoying an easy spin, chatting about this and that, and admiring the street art we saw along the way:

What a fun way to round out the weekend!  Thanks, Susie and Dale and Elizabeth, for the ride!

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