Monday, October 01, 2007

From the Jaws of Defeat

Welcome to part three of "How to get your mind off your dead mom."

Fittingly enough, I reverted back to a time honored sanity tool--my bicycle. Normally, I would not have ventured out into the utter crap that was the weather on Sunday, but I had already agreed to help lead the Meet the Team ride for Sorella.

The ride is just what it sounds like, a chance for new comers to go on a ride and find out what our team is all about. In a shocking turn of events, I arrived about 20 minutes early, having decided at the last minute to burn some fossil fuels and drive. I don't normally drive to the start of rides, but I had a social gathering nearby afterwards and didn't really want to A) sit around in wet gear for 2 hours or B) carry all my dry clothes on my back for the whole ride. It's hard enough to keep up with ladies as it is, even when they're in 'leisure mode' as we were that day.

Hey, maybe no one will show! I thought hopefully. But alas, I wasn't let off the hook that easily. When I came out of the bathroom, another cyclist was in line for coffee. We introduced ourselves and I went to get my bike off the car and gear up.

By the time I came back, more Sorella's had showed up. Kim Reuter, Deb, Michelle, & Colleen. Sarah T came screeching up at the last moment and pulled a gorgeous red fixie out of her trunk. We had four hardy souls show up to meet our team; Kristin, whom I'd met inside the bakery, Sandra, Annie and Rachael.

We set off to the south, bound for a loop down to Oregon City and back up on the west side.

In spite of the constant rain and the 52-feels-like-41 tempurature, I actually had a good time. Good company makes all the difference. And so does good gear. This was my first real test of my new Showers Pass rain jacket and it performed beautifully. My Sugoi Mid-zero tights have seen worse weather so my legs were pretty comfy. Even my hands and feet stayed on the right side of the mercury, despite 40 minutes or so spent waiting due to mechanical incidents. One more pair of socks and I would've been completely comfortable.

Kim won the thrifty and clever award for her light wool liner gloves covered by dish washing gloves. Yup, the long yellow kind your mom wore while she washed up before you had a dish washer. She said they worked great.

We stopped in Lake Oswego for a nature break and as we stood outside waiting, Kim said to me, "Kronda, your face is all brown."

"Yeah, that's normal Kim," I couldn't help dead panning.

Somewhere in the course of the day, I'd gotten friendly with a large amount of grease and dirt from somewhere. My brand new jacket was covered with it and too much fiddling with my glasses and rubbing my face had left me looking like a football player about to hit the field. I was glad I couldn't see it.

We headed through Lake Oswego and into Tryon Creek state park, down the cemetery, across the Sellwood bridge and back on 17th--after trying to take the Esplanade and running smack dab into a wall of people doing a walk for diabetes. Sandra suffered a flat in the middle of the ride and we played a game of "How many cyclists does it take to change a tire?" Colleen finally succeeded in getting the tire--which seemed to be glued to the rim--off. Someone put the tube in and after a CO/2 fiasco, I volunteered to pump it up using Rachael's Road Morph pump. When she flatted again less than a mile later, she was was ready to call her husband to come get her but Sarah T convinced her she could fix it and proceeded to do so. After some waiting and wandering, we all ended up back together for the ride down the cemetery and across the bridge.

We were on Milwaukie just blocks away from the end point--we could practically smell the coffee--when a Union Pacific train blocked our path. I raised my arm defiantly and shouted, "Damn you, Union Pacific! Damn you!" which made the others laugh. We made it back and Kim declared bagels and coffee courtesy of the team. After changing clothes and washing the grease off my face, I hung out with the others for a while enjoying a well earned breakfast.

After that I headed off to the Yarn Garden a few blocks away for a stitch 'n' bitch gathering with a few friends. The idea was Danette's brain child, a way to literally 'knit' us back together after hectic summers spent running every which way. She even found the Red Scarf Project to give our knitting focus.

I showed up late, but not too late to get some yarn, get a quick reminder on how to crochet--I decided to go with crocheting since I'd done it before and the work goes quicker--and catch up with what was new in everyone's life.

All in all I'm pretty impressed with how I snatched a pretty good weekend from the jaws of defeat.

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