Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Loreen Miller 2008

Last year Jessy and I rode the Loreen Miller Half Century bike ride in such heat that Jessy didn’t know if she was going to survive. This year I got off my bike after only going 25 miles, soaking wet and cold. Thankfully Keith had an extra pair of socks. I knew I loved that kid for a reason.

Adrienne and I headed over the mountains on Friday evening with Aunt Jan in tow. It was a fun ride over with nice weather and great company. We made good time too so I was happy. I’ve made that trip enough times now that “good time” is a serious concern for me. Let’s be honest – I compete with myself. My parents got a new Newfoundland puppy – Maddie – and she greeted us with licks and jumps. I want a puppy SO badly so I took full advantage of Maddie. I even got up at 5am on Saturday morning just so I could play with her for a while before everyone else got up. For those of you who know me at all you know that is HUGE. She is a doll and Adrienne and I wanted to steal her. Unfortunately, there wasn’t room for her in the car on the way home.

Saturday morning proved to be beautiful and a perfect opportunity to watch my nephew Keith play baseball. That kid is seriously amazing. Steve and I are already talking agents and I don’t even think I’m all that biased. I’m pretty certain that on top of being the best player on the team he is easily the nicest kid on the diamond (probably the smartest too). Kelly showed us some of her great cheerleading skills and continues to be about the cutest thing you’ve ever seen. This picture is evidence of that (she's the one in white):

Saturday afternoon Evan met up with us at my parent’s house where we played Frisbee, went on a walk, taught Evan how to play croquette (Adrienne is super good at that game by the way – you are officially warned) and just spent time enjoying the nice weather. We have been pretty wet and cold in Seattle so far this year so soaking up some sun was extremely nice.

Sunday morning we woke up to rain. Rain. Ick. I hate riding in the rain. Hate it. Strongly hate. We had come all the way there with the purpose of riding the ride and so we went up to the high school where it starts and decided by hook or crook we were going to at least attempt it. Adrienne is just starting to get into cycling thanks to some influences in her life and I really wanted her to have a chance to try it out so I was glad the weather was pleasant enough to at least head out on the road. She, my mom, Jessy and Keith decided to do twelve miles. The weather stayed warm enough that the rain wasn’t too much of a bother and I think we officially got cycling in Adrienne’s blood. SWEET.

Dad, Evan and I decided to go beyond the twelve miles and do at least half the course. There is a good climb on the front half of the course but even more important there is a great downhill. Downhills are not quite as much fun in the rain because you have to be a little careful but I still managed to get into the high 30s or was it low 40s. I can’t remember. I just know at one point I passed my dad and I said to him “well, that was slightly terrifying on a wet road”. It is one of very few downhills you will ever ride that makes the climb up worthwhile.

Despite the rain – and my wet socks at the bottom of the hill – I really enjoyed the ride. I had some time to chat with my Dad which is always wonderful. We reminisced about his ride from Seattle to Spokane when he was 40 and how easy biking was for him at that time because of all of his training. I love riding with Evan and relish any excuse to do so even in the rain. So the company was good (maybe great even, maybe ha) and frankly, I just love being on my bike. If I lived in a climate that “allowed” it I would ride every day. I remember during my time in MN when I first really started getting into biking. I had this ugly gold bike that I think was even a 10 speed or something ridiculous. When I first got to MN I was lost. I had come from a summer living in the mountains and working at camp and I was thrown into the “big” city where it was loud and I didn’t know anything or anyone. I remember at one point emailing a friend from camp and telling him I wasn’t going to make it. He emailed me and reminded me that I was always happy on my bike up at camp and that I should try that tactic again. He said “Kristin, stop feeling bad for yourself, get on your bike and go explore. Find parts of your new home you can love.” So I did. That first day of “bike exploration” I found Como Park. It became “my” spot. It had a nice lake, free zoo (with an Orangutan I made “friends” with) and large expanses of lawn. I was a regular there. I would ride there on my bike on nice days and drive there to sit in the coffee shop and look at the lake on cold, snowy or rainy days or when finals forced me to remain inside. From that first ride around the Twin Cities I was hooked, biking was in my blood. I actually owe Scott a huge thank you for that. I’m not sure he even really knew how much he helped.

So anyway, back to Loreen Miller. Evan, Dad and I finished the 25 miles and while I think we all felt we could go further, Evan’s chain was holding on by a thread and frankly we were all very wet so we went in. It was a wonderful ride despite the rain. I loved that Keith was there on a Specialized bike since I am admittedly a Specialized snob. He did great which doesn’t surprise me. I can’t wait to ride more with him now.
The sun came out once we got home but I believe things happen as they do for a reason so I figure that was what God had in store for us for the day. We had nice weather for the drive home and all in all a wonderful weekend.

If only I hadn’t ended it by driving my car into the garage with my bike and bike rack on top. Ah, well, I’m off to the auto body shop for an estimate.

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