May 25, 2011

Mountain Bike to Work Week

In commemoration of bike-to-work week, and with the timely arrival of some downright decent Spring weather, I decided to start riding the bluff trails to work on my mountain bike when working downtown. Here is how it looked at 6:30 am the other morning:

I have no idea why I never did this before. I think my riding over the past year has become more and more utilitarian with longer and longer gaps between recreational rides. I've made a real effort to ride as many days as my schedule will allow, with the belief that regular 15 to 25 mile rides will get me in better shape than less frequent 30 to 40 mile rides. I don't know if this notion is true, but anecdotally I think I can tell a difference (of course I really haven't defined what "better shape" is, so who knows). Riding singletrack every morning and evening, however, has brought the joy of riding back front and center. I had so much fun last week that I've continued this week despite working overnight. Here is how the trails looked at 8 pm on the way to work:


Here is a shot of the 4:30 am Spokane sunrise in May--something I enjoy almost as much as the exploding, native Balsamroot that is all over right now.

Staying up all night is good mental training for the Midnight Century, which I've convinced at least one friend to undertake with me this year.

A week ago I actually took a recreational ride and finally found the trail along the Spokane river between the cemetery on Government Way and the T.J. Meenach bridge. It had nearly reached "legendary" status in my mind since I had heard whisperings of its existence for years, but never had the fortitude to actually find it. I just happened to pass some bikers who boldly passed a "No Trespassing" sign just off the road, seconds after I paid heed to the same sign and stayed on the pavement. I reluctantly followed as I tend to respect such signs, and finally discovered the thread-like shoreline trail. I can't claim it was the most fun singletrack in the area, but it does get you from downtown to Riverside in a more interesting way. I doubt I'll ride it very often, but it's nice to know it's there. And I can't believe how many times I passed it's northern terminus without even thinking,"gee, what's over here?"

May 6, 2011

Bloomsday and Beyond



We had a surprisingly good time last weekend as rookie "bloomies". I think V was so high on endorphins at the end of the run that she was thinking about running home, getting the kids, and doing it again. I would have considered joining her if I thought it would have kept my quads from cinching down like a corset.

Instead we went home, got the kids, and headed out on a waterfall hunt. This time we went to the southeastern shore of Lake Roosevelt to see Hawk Creek Falls. This is a somewhat bashful waterfall, wedged in a tight corner of its namesake canyon. Hard to get a really stunning photo as a result.

The falls had plenty of water spilling over its top, running along it's creekbed and into the lake. The lake, however, was at it's annual low having been drawn down in anticipation of a generous Spring runoff.

It was nice to feel hot and dry as we wandered the sandy lakebed.

On the way back we stopped at Fort Spokane, something I've wanted to do for some time. It was interesting to think about life at the fort 115 years ago but sad to think about life there 104 years ago when it was a compulsory school for Native children. I always find it satisfying to experience more of our local history. This was a photo for Savanna's 7th grade social studies/geography/Washington State History class:

They are supposed to get photos of different places while holding a can of SPAM (maps spelled backward). We didn't have any on hand but will have to play with photoshop later.

We stopped at a small store/restaurant/gas station to get something to drink on the way home. I appreciated the exclusivity that comes from living in a small town.

If only my first name was Robert, I'd be golden.

Overall, it was a good day trip to start the season of family adventure.