Adventure Saturday has been on unintentional hiatus due to life circumstances, but this week it made a magnificent cameo—on Sunday! Just goes to show you—adventure can surprise you on any day of the week.
After all, how often does one get to claim a mountain of firsts and a new personal best on a single bike ride? In a nutshell:
If that wasn’t enough, I yet again racked up a new personal best in terms of distance: 63.3 miles. In winter no less! And I bumped into my lovely friend Michelle, who was participating in a group run on the island.
Successfully awake from a 5am alarm, I hurried through my morning routine and made it out the door shortly after 6:30am. It was about 10 miles from my house in Clackamas County to our group’s meetup point in North Portland—a deliciously quiet ride with few people about so early on a Sunday. (Here I am, ready to ride!) When they arrived, I discovered my co-riders were all very fit men—including the only person I knew in the group, who is reputed among friends for his speed. GULP!
What-ifs danced around my head. Had I made a horrible mistake? Was I going to fall behind until I lost the group completely? Was the mileage too ambitious?
Expressing my concern to the others seemed to help—although their “social pace” was indeed a tad speedier than mine, all three of my co-riders took turns hanging back with me. This also gave me a chance to chat and get to know them individually, and to point out notable birds along the way.
Yes, I’m a bit of a birder, and Sauvie Island is a prime birding spot in the Portland area. We saw (and heard!) quite a lot of sandhill cranes loitering in farm fields, several great blue herons, and a couple kestrels without even leaving our bikes. Other wildlife sightings were roadkill: a freshly dead rat in inner SE which was just a bloody pancake on the way home; two dead opossums on Sauvie Island Road; and a dead skunk in the bike lane coming back on Highway 30.
At the end of what ended up being a great ride, we thawed our frozen toes at Dragonfly Coffee House in NW Portland. The boys sipped coffee and forgot-her-wallet HA drank water and nibbled on the rest of the almonds in her bag. After an hour and a half three of us rode back over to the east side where I bade my new riding friends goodbye and headed southward for the last leg of my journey.
In tackling a challenge head on (and handling it beautifully) I expanded my own vision of what I’m capable of. Turns out my fears about this ride were unfounded—I did not get left behind in the middle of nowhere, I wasn’t looked down upon for being slow, and I didn’t get a flat. Handling these mental barriers and other challenges on my terms has been key to my recent string of confident successes.