Category Archives: Cycling

Spring in my step

It’s supposed to be 66 degrees out tomorrow. Upon seeing the weather forecast, Ron installed the new headlight on my bike so I can go for a ride tomorrow evening when I get home.

I’ve got a hyacinth coming up in the front flowerbed, but I’m not sure how well it’s going to do, because it was completely glazed with ice and seemed to be that slightly-too-vibrant shade of green that plants get when they’ve frozen all the way through. Ron says the growth starts underground, so it should be OK. I hope he’s right. The hyacinths — which someone planted before we moved here — were absolutely stunning last year, and I’d hate to lose them just because they tried to sprout too early.

It was warm enough this afternoon that I had to roll down my windows while sitting in rush hour traffic. Two teenyboppers in a car next to me at a stoplight had their windows down, too, and I could hear them discussing the perils of “flat hair” before they turned on the radio and began singing (off-key) and wiggling along with the Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week.” I tried not to laugh, lest they see me and get all embarrassed, but they were pretty funny. I think the February thaw makes everybody a little goofy….

Today’s warmer temperatures apparently inspired the entire population of Tulsa to wash the leftover winter muck off their vehicles. When I left work at 5 p.m., a half-dozen SUVs were lined up at the drive-through car wash next to the gas station behind our office. I can’t say I blame them. This morning, I scraped a thin layer of frost off my windshield, then moved around to the back to help out the defroster, which didn’t seem to be doing much. I figured out what the problem was when I saw the little skiff of black gunk on my new scraper’s shiny blade. Rear defrosters are great on ice, but I’ve never seen one yet that could melt off road salt and grime.

If I were less lazy, I’d wash the car on my lunch hour tomorrow, but what I’ll probably do instead is call Sara over at Midtown and ask her for the phone number of those guys who used to come out to her office and wash everybody’s cars for $10. I’m supposed to go to dinner with my ubertidy friend Vicki tomorrow, and it would be nice if I could offer to drive without fear of contaminating her clothing with dog hair, fast-food-wrapper residue, or that mystery dirt that seems to grow in unattended cupholders. The mobile car wash guys will actually throw out all the trash, corral all the clutter in a box in the back of the car, vacuum out all the dog hair, wipe down the cupholders, and squeegee the insides of the windows as part of their basic car wash.

Maybe I’ll call them tomorrow and take before-and-after shots to put on Indie Tulsa. If they’re still in business — and I don’t know why they wouldn’t be, given their convenience and value — they’re certainly deserving of a little publicity.

Emily

Hell on wheels

I have been a distance runner for three years, and I know for fact that The Wall is located somewhere between the drinking fountain and the concession stand at River Parks, which translates to something like the 23-mile mark on the Oklahoma Marathon course … so I want to know something:

What wiseacre hauled The Wall out to Red Fork and dropped it in the middle of Southwest Boulevard this evening? I ran smack into the bloody thing a half-mile from the end of what was supposed to be a perfectly nice 5.5-mile bike ride this evening.

I realize that cycling and marathoning are two very different sports. And a girl obviously has to train a little more often than once a month in order to see any sort of progress in a new sport. And yes, in retrospect, I suppose it is probably not entirely accurate to refer to three cream horns as “carbo-loading.” But still … in all the running I’ve done, I have never actually hit The Wall. I’ve only seen it three times, and I can guarantee you it wasn’t sitting in the middle of Route 66, five miles from my starting point.

Ah, well. At least I seem to be getting the hang of using the gears. (It probably helps that I drove Ron’s car — which is a stick — to work this morning.) And I did manage to pedal all the way up the 41st Street overpass once this evening, which I consider a major accomplishment. I had to stop and walk halfway up it on the return trip, but that’s OK. The grade is steeper from that direction, and that was right after I started to feel wallish. And I had to walk up the hill from both directions last time … so I’ll take progress where I find it.

Tiring as it was, it was kind of fun to ride down 66 this evening. Running would have been easier, but I’m not keen on jogging at night. I should probably get over that — I’d have much better finish times if I didn’t use darkness as an excuse to blow off training runs — but the last time I ran by myself in the dark, it was both surreal and terrifying, and while I’m grateful for the experience, it’s not one I really care to repeat. I feel safer on wheels.

If my headlight would quit eating batteries like they taste good, that sense of safety would probably be justified. (Got any ideas, Roger? I think the cold weather is draining the battery, but I’m not entirely sure. If you’ve got a product and/or battery recommendation, I’d love to hear it.)

In any case, I had a pretty good ride, and that little encounter with The Wall just gives me a primo excuse to have a bowl of leftover chicken and dumplings for dinner. 🙂

Emily

Blessings

Lance Armstrong would be a stud if he’d done nothing but kick cancer squarely in the butt and then win the Tour de France umpteen times. But if switching from cycling to running is half as hard as switching from running to cycling, Armstrong is not just a stud — he’s the Godolphin freakin’ Arabian.

I rode my bike six miles this evening, and it opened up a can of you-know-what on me. I loved every minute of it, too, even if I did have to get off and walk up a few hills because I was too tired to pedal.

Did you go walk around the block today? If not, get out there! You don’t have to run today. Just walk. And if you want to peek ahead at next week, I’m updating the training schedule for you as soon as I finish this post.

I have lots to be thankful for today. My bike, for starters, and the fact that I have the strength and balance to ride it, even if I’m not very good at it yet. I’ll get there. I remember when running a mile was this hard, and now here I am with three Tulsa Runs, four half-marathons, and two full marathons under my belt … so Roger had better not laugh too much at my rookie incompetence, because I’m just liable to show up in Staunton some bright summer morning and nip at his heels for 30 miles. (Given my appetite for Krispy Kremes, it’s entirely possible that I could end up with a minus sign in front of my finish time, so I might do more than nip….)

Speaking of Krispy Kremes, I’m thankful for whipped-cream-filled doughnuts.

I’m also thankful for our great Thanksgiving service at church. I’m sure it’s kind of inconvenient for some people to get there (it starts at 10:30 a.m.), but it’s such a great way to start the morning — it’s kind of like a combination of a Sunday morning service and a Wednesday night testimony meeting, because you’ve got a Lesson and a solo and stuff like on Sunday morning, but the Lesson is shorter than usual, which leaves time for the members of the congregation to stand up and talk about the healings and blessings they’ve experienced over the past year. Their stories really focus you in on the point of the holiday.

We had an unexpected blessing this afternoon.

I had planned to pick up some stuff at Wild Oats on the way home from church and just fix a batch of posole or something before Ron went to work. (Posole has become kind of a holiday tradition at our house.)

But I am supposed to be leaving town in a few hours (I’m headed for Texas to do a Route 66 preservation project this weekend), and Ron didn’t want me to have to mess with cooking lunch and cleaning up afterward, so he announced that he would be taking me to Golden Saddle — a great restaurant over on the Admiral Place alignment of 66 — instead.

We figured we’d just hit the buffet, but we got there and discovered that the buffet was closed — because they were serving a free Thanksgiving dinner to all their customers. Ron is going to put an article about that on his blog tomorrow.

In the meantime, I will just tell you that the food was amazing (they serve sweet tea — need I say more?) and we got an extra treat in the form of a singer who performed while we ate. I had a ball watching a little girl struggle valiantly to suppress the urge to dance to “Brick House.”

I love it when businesses thank their customers — and their community — by doing stuff like that. You see it all the time on Route 66. Tally’s Cafe here in Tulsa does it every year. Al’s Route 66 Cafe, over in Sapulpa, did it today. I want to say it was the Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, Texas, that opened up one time during a blizzard and fed all the travelers who got stranded, and the owners of the Vega Motel have been known to share their dinner with customers who slide in on a glare of ice.

There’s so much love and kindness on this road, it almost makes me cry when I think about it. These aren’t wealthy people. These are ordinary folks who appreciate their blessings and who understand a basic concept that Mrs. Eddy explains like this:

Giving does not impoverish us in the service of our Maker, neither does withholding enrich us.

Add Route 66 — and the wonderful people who live and work along its shoulders — to my list of things I’m thankful for today.

I’ll be offline and on my beloved road for a couple of days. Don’t forget to check the training schedule and keep up with your runs this weekend. I’ll be back late Sunday or early Monday, and you know I’ll have pictures for you.

Emily