So, it was just about seventeen months ago that I got my bicycle, a vehicle so new and scary to me that I named it the SPDM, for "Sudden Painful Death Machine". I found a riding buddy who is enthusiastic but much more of a tourist than a racer, and he turned into the perfect guide for getting me comfortable. I did errands with my two maniac sons, and they helped me get my speed up (a little; I'm still slow). I finally started riding with my husband, and we've had some beautiful long rides. By now, the SPDM and I are a team. I love that bike.
Even more, I love the parts of my own county that the bike has opened up to me. Here are some views taken from one of my favorite 25-mile rides (meaning none of them is more than a dozen miles from my home). Yet before I rode my bike, I had no idea any of these places existed.
There's this road that meanders along a quiet river for about a mile. Who knew?
There are woods and shady glens that I'd never thought could exist in our rolling farmland.
Okay, this place is The Barn Hill. You can barely see the barn on the left and a "30MPH" sign on the right up ahead, yes? At one point I took the SPDM back to the bike shop and mock-complained because "the sign at The Barn Hill says 30MPH, but my bike only does 7!" They sent me away again.
This is another bit of a climber, but the colors -- the white and red and green and blue -- all coming together is just gorgeous.
The farmland in the picture below is what I expect of our area. The two wind turbines are not what makes this particular picture poignant to me, though; it's that hill to the left. That hill didn't used to be there -- it's grass-covered-trash, a local landfill. Every time I ride by this area, I remember that I when we say we "throw away" trash, there is no "away".
This kind of view -- where I can see farms for miles from the top of a hill, well it feels like the reward for making it to the top of that danged hill.
And speaking of making it to the top of a hill, I don't ever think I would have thought this next picture were so funny if I weren't brain dead from pedaling up this particular monster hill. The little sign you see is one that welcomes people to a nearby town; it says "St. Paul's Lutheran Church Welcomes You". The sign just happens (at this road) to stand next to that falling-down-barn. (Well, Paul did say that of all the sinners, he was the worst!)
The triathalon is 17 days away. I'm now officially in "taper" mode, meaning that I get to start resting my muscles. The SPDM is hanging up on its hook at home, and I am 2800 miles away from it, drinking coffee and attending math meetings that happen to be held this year in bike-friendly Portland Oregon. I won't get to ride for another week, and seeing all these bike racks and cyclists is making me a just a little misty-eyed.