Saturday, March 5, 2011

Beyond the Red Barn

On Monday afternoons, for as long as I've been doing triathlon, a group of cyclists meet in Vancouver, WA for something called "Beaches".  It's a ride that starts in the parking lot of Beaches Restaurant (great happy hour and awesome bartenders Michaels and Terry), and heads out towards Vancouver Lake along the deserted flat country roads.  It's a fast and furious ride in a paceline, sometimes hitting 30+ mph.  I never could hang on for the entire ride, but I often made it to at least the turnaround at the red barn.
Yes, I know it's not red.  But the rusted roof is red-ish.  And that's just what it's called.  The Red Barn.

I don't join the Beaches crew anymore, but I do still ride the route when I want a set number of miles and don't want to think about directions or traffic or anything other than getting in the aerobars and zoning out.  And when I ride Beaches by myself, I still turn around at the red barn.  I had no idea until today what was beyond the barn, so I kept on riding, thinking I was on some big adventure.  About a minute later the road dead ended at Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge.  In a gravel parking lot filled with illegally dumped trash, big trucks with 15" lifts, and a weird mix of 80 year old couples, skateboarding teenagers, and camo-covered old dudes.  I'll be turning around at the red barn from now on.

I woke up this morning mentally prepared for a 2.5 hour ride on the trainer.  It was rainy and windy and stormy outside.  Not good bike riding weather.  I had resigned to watching reality tv reruns on Netflix and developing saddle sores from sitting in the same position for that long.  But I had to go into work and postpone training until later in the day.  This turned out to be a wonderful blessing (as working on a Saturday morning rarely does).  By the time I got home, the wind had died down and the sun was beginning to peak out from the dark clouds.  And it just smelled different outside.  Like spring was peering around the corner and secretly trying to warm things up.  For the first time since last fall, I ventured outside without a beanie or heavy jacket.  Or even pants.  Look, SHORTS!
And SUN! (Yes, I know I need to remove the race sticker residue from the helmet.  But I've been bu-sy and haven't had much time for making myself look even cooler.)
To end this fairly long story about a fairly short ride, I'll just say that it was MAH-velous to feel the road under my wheels and get some real mileage in.  I wrapped it up with some short climbing in northern Vancouver and then a nice cool down in my neighborhood.  Almost 40 miles at just under a 15mph pace.  I'm a lot slower than I should be at this point in the training, but I'll get there.  Especially if we keep having Saturdays like this.  Hooray!

P.S.  This is for Macey.  MOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooo!!!!