Riding My Bike in Portland

Pre-Ironman I had some misconceptions about how I’d feel post-Ironman:

  1. That my bike and I would need a break. In fact, we might even need to see other people. I couldn’t fathom that I would want to be in the saddle anytime in the immediate future.
  2. I thought that I’d be dying to run fast, and run my heart out. With months and months of slower endurance training I felt eager to be done with the hours and up for focusing on intensity.

Thought #2 is topic for another day, for when I have the bandwidth to write a novel, but since IMC I’ve felt shockingly amazingly awesome about being on my bike. Despite the near 6 hour ride that day and many (many, many, many) hours on it through the summer it’s been so enjoyable and fun to ride without such an agenda. I’m enjoying pushing myself and my lungs to whatever extent my body feels like without worrying about impact and injury, and with the lingering tiredness just starting to lift I’ve needed that ounce of prevention.

This weekend we spent time in Portland, and outside of races I’ve never ridden my bike outside of Seattle. Thanks to the awesome folks at Athlete’s Lounge they hooked me up with a few route recommendations, I strung some together, and hit the road this morning.

Having grown up in Portland I can navigate myself in a car pretty well. I may not know street names, but I can get myself from point A to point B in a pretty direct manner without getting lost. However, I never rode a bike when I lived here. Seriously, not once! So I was a little nervous setting out on the road just after sunrise.

The air was a chilly 50 degrees, and in shorts, finger-less gloves and a sleeveless jersey with arm-warmers I started on the cold side. But riding the first 5 miles entirely up hill got me warmed up pretty quickly!

I rode past high school party stomping grounds along Cornell Rd. and then up to Skyline Blvd. From the moment I got my drivers license at 16 years old Skyline was my favorite place to go for a drive. Beautiful views, beautiful homes, forest, rolling pastures, and farmland all mixed in. Just minutes away from the city but so so peaceful and beautiful.

Skyline Blvd is known for it’s awesome cycling – and cars that don’t like cyclists – but I only passed a few other riders and the handful of cars that passed me did so respectfully.

Though I’m definitely a city girl, rides like these make me feel like I could do country. Maybe. Someday. Sort of. Or probably not. But they make me WANT to want to be country!

After about 8 miles rolling and winding, I was rewarded with a newly paved and not too technical downhill all the way to Sauvie Island.

Sauvie Island is so pretty in the fall. I haven’t been out there in years, but an early autumn-morning sunrise with chilly air left me feeling like I could have ridden the 11 mile loop at least 10x 5x without getting bored.

Being on the Island reminded me of childhood fall seasons, as THE place to get your pumpkin is the patch out there. It looked like the farm was just getting ready to set up. As soon as I saw the signs I wanted to kick myself for not having brought cash. Apple cider would have been absolutely amazing; much better than chews and deliciously warm to combat the cold morning.

After leaving the Island and crossing the bridge it was less than 10 miles back to where I had parked my car.

It was so fun to ride in my old stomping grounds and to see areas I haven’t taken the time to visit in so many years. It’s not even as though they hold an extreme amount of sentimental value, but it was such a breathtaking morning and such an engaging and freeing way to spend time seeing new(ish) sights. I think that I need to start bringing my bike with us on more road trips (and we need to start going on more road trips), and I need to seek out new routes in the Seattle-area. Today makes me look forward to fall very very much.

Do you have any bike route recommendations for me? Seattle? Eastern Washington? Anywhere that I can drive to from Seattle?

 

*None of these photos are my own. They came from rubbertotheroad.com and sauvieisland.org. But this is seriously how amazing it looked out there this morning!

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