Living In My House

Day’s Verse:
Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant…
Luke 2:2-5

If you lived here, this is what you would see.
Living in My House
And it would be normal.

Ashland Bike Ride Media

Day’s Verse:
Run to me, dear lover.
Come like a gazelle.
Leap like a wild stag
on the spice mountains.

Song of Solomon 8:14

If I picture is worth a thousand words, what’s a video worth? Here are some videos I took of riding in Ashland, Oregon. This blog post will give you the impression that I went to Ashland for biking. Although the biking was exceptional, we were actually there for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I’ll put up another post about the plays and that experience, so stay tuned. Meantime, on to the media from the two hill climb rides I did in Ashland.

The first ride, I went out to the delightfully-named Dead Indian Memorial Road and did hill repeats. I guess you can call it a repeat if you do it twice, right? The interesting thing was going from down low, which has these sere hills, some scrub oak, and various other similar dry, hot-weather plants, up to higher elevations that are populated with gorgeous pines and evergreens. Here’s a video from lower down.

And here’s a video of the same road, a few thousand feet higher.

The next day, I rode up Mt. Ashland. The metrics don’t sound that impressive — 50 miles roundtrip, 5000 feet or so of climbing — until you realize almost all the climbing was in 15 miles going up the mountain. I now understand how different climbing 5,000 feet spread out is compared to all at once. Anyway, the ride was truly spectacular. Here are videos from that ride. They really don’t capture it; I kept getting these amazing glimpses into the valley all the way to Mt. Shasta off in the distance.

Here’s the lower-down video:

And here’s the video a few thousand feet higher up.

Definitely go take a look at my Flickr set for some cool pictures of Ashland and our drive down Highway 101. There are some very neat pictures there. Here are a few I just have to share.

You don’t see these at home. I cautiously walked across the cattle guard, not trusting myself to ride across it safely. How dumb would it be to crash on a cattle guard?
They Don't Have These At Home

This was the road lower down, heading toward Mt. Ashland. There was no traffic because partway up, one of the bridges was closed. Happily for me, the closure was for paving, which was essentially finished — they just still had equipment sitting around. I went around the road-closure barriers without any trouble. The result of that, though, was virtually zero traffic on that road, before or after the bridge. People saw the road closure signs and avoided it. Great for biking!
Mt. Ashland Road: Lower Down

Here’s the view from the top of Mt. Ashland facing…um, I guess south. That’s Mt. Shasta off in the distance.
View from Mt. Ashland

And finally, a vignette and accompanying picture. The story: When I got to the top of Mt. Ashland, I rode by a little boy who enthusiastically hailed me. There was nobody else up there — just me, this little boy, and his mom. And their black lab, Joy. Anyway, I stopped and asked the boy’s mom to take my picture at the top. The boy, who was incredibly gregarious, immediately gravitated to my bike and started examining it with great interest. He talked nonstop. I quickly learned that his name was Ian. He really wanted to be in my top-of-the-mountain picture, so here it is: Me and Ian at the top of Mt. Ashland.
Katie & Ian at the Summit
After that, he got fascinated with my bike pump and I let him carry it off in order to get a picture by myself. Turns out his little bike had a low front tire, and he immediately cottoned on to the idea of using my pump to put air in his tire. Unfortunately, the valves were incompatible and I had to leave without putting air in his tires. I rode down, taking one hour what had taken me two and a half to do going up. Boy it was fun.

Sometimes I really wish I could just ride and never stop.

Commute Conversations

Day’s Verse:
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2

One thing about commuting by bike: You can have conversations with your fellow commuters. In a car, communication consists of turn signals, honking, and maybe gesturing. I, on the other hand, rarely have a week go by without having cordial conversations with other bicyclists. Every week or two, I’ll encounter somebody and we really hit it off, and end up riding for anywhere from 3 to 10 miles together. It’s fun and community-building, and it’s something that keeps me coming back to bicycling day after day.

I mention this because this morning a guy rode up next to me as I rode on the I-90 trail. Here’s our conversation in its entirety.

Him: Hello.
Me: Oh, sorry. [Moving to my right, thinking he wanted to pass me]
Him: I’ve seen you commuting, and I just wanted to say…I like your style.
Me:[Surprised] Thanks!
Him: Happy riding! [Turns off trail]
Me: You too!

I smiled for the entire rest of the ride, until I saw the car with a license-plate liner that said “You people make my a** twitch,” after which I probably looked puzzled.

Actually, I was a bit puzzled anyway. What did that bicyclist mean by “style”? Did he mean clothing*? Or behavior? Or bicycling technique? Or my bicycle’s look? Clearly he meant something good, and at first I assumed my bike, which is pretty stylish. But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if he meant that my good manners on the trail — always giving an audible signal before passing, signaling turns, slowing (ahem) at stops — or something else entirely. I’m still not sure, but nobody’s ever accused me of having style before, and I kind of liked it. Not enough to become actually stylish, mind you, but enough to wallow in the compliment for a bit.

* Given that I was wearing black Spandex pants with neon yellow reflective ankle bands, a neon yellow vest, a teal short-sleeved jersey, white-and-pink Fat Cyclist arm warmers, and my reflective helmet, it’s hard to imagine he meant clothing-wise.

What I Saw and Didn’t See

Day’s Verse:
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:26-28

This Porch is Comfy!
I think Carmel likes laying on the step because it gives her something to lean against and it’s just the right height to perch her head on.

Riding home on the Burke this evening, I saw three astonishing things.

  1. I heard, but didn’t see a car crash on Montlake Blvd. There was a shout — and then the distinct crunching noise of a bumper meeting another bumper. I didn’t turn to see this particular event, being distracted at the time by #2.
  2. A shirtless, well-muscled guy pushing a grill up the trail from Pend Orielle Road. Not just a little grill, either. This was a full-sized, man’s dream grill, and he was moving it along at a good clip. The guy I was riding with, Mark, and I commented to each other, “You never know what you’ll see on the trail!” I wondered what grill-man said when he passed people — “Burgers on your left”?
  3. A fistfight. Seriously. Here’s what I saw happen. Mark and I are riding along behind a couple of slightly faster cyclists just past 40th Ave NE. Then one of the faster riders moves over onto the graveled pedestrian path that parallels the paved path at that point. The next thing I know, the guy on the gravel path (Cyclist A) has stopped and is standing there, shouting. The other guy, Cyclist B, slams on his brakes and skids to a halt perpendicular to the trail, which brings me and Mark to quick stops. Cyclist B picks up his bike off the trail and heaves it into the bushes — and hurls himself at Cyclist A. Or maybe A rushed him. I didn’t see clearly. The next thing I know, they’re literally punching each other in the face, yelling, calling one another filthy names; then they’re on the ground, rolling around in the gravel, pummeling each other, gouging eyes, all-round attacking each other. Mark and a couple other guy bicyclists hurl themselves into the fray and pull the two fighters apart, with no small difficulty. The guys continue yelling at each other until Mark’s repeated shouting “Break it up! This isn’t worth it!” penetrates their skulls. Cyclist B says, “Let me just ask you one question,” but Mark says, “No. Just keep riding or I’ll call the cops.” One of the cyclists says, “This is a free trail!” and Mark overrides their protests, very firmly repeating, “Keep riding or I’ll call the cops” a couple more times. Cyclist A and B exchange parting insults (“Put some ice on that, b*tch!” “See if you can catch me, old man!”); Cyclist B rides off and we take off after him.

    The kicker: They were fighting about Cyclist B’s riding through stop signs and Cyclist A’s chastising him for it. They yelled “Red means stop!” and “I stopped at every f*ing stop sign!” “You did not!” etc. Both were well over 30 years old.

  4. A strange tandem. The front seat was a recumbent holding a little kid with very short legs. The back was what I assume to be the kid’s dad. This contraption (pictures of similar bikes here and here) pulled a trailer with another kid inside. Mom (I assume) followed on a battered mountain bike and she didn’t seem to feel the need to put her hands on the handlebars.

Here’s a map of where these strange things happened.

View Strange Signs on the Burke in a larger map

After all the excitement near the UW, I gratefully rode the rest of the way home with only the usual level of excitement. I found out that Mark works for Cray Computers, and that he ran a program on their fastest computer yet, but that’s really small beans compared to everything else.
Testing the Air
This afternoon Carmel went outside and stood very still for quite a long time, quite intently sniffing the breeze. She seemed a bit disturbed.

Floppy Dog
Right after the air-sniffing moment, Carmel came in, gnawed on a marrow bone for a little while, and then adopted the lazy Sphinx pose. I’ve never seen her lay like that before.

Apparently I also missed an exciting day in Pioneer Square yesterday, between President Obama’s whirlwind visit and the clueless private pilot’s inadvertently invading Air Force 1 airspace and causing the scrambling of 2 supersonic fighter jets.

An Update

Day’s Verse:
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
1 Corinthians 13:12

As I opened boxes of office-related stuff today, I ran across this Pearls Before Swine bicyclist comic, which I had up in my cube at Charles River.

Pearls Before Swine Cyclist Comic

I love this comic. I don’t know if the artist is a bicyclist, but it so perfectly encapsulates the reality of bicyclist/non-bicyclist relations in one succinct comic.

In unrelated news, we had an amazing family dinner at the Metropolitan Grill: Amazing in a few ways. First, when I say “family,” I mean more than just my parents and us. Uncle Greg was up from San Diego for Grandma Sullivan’s memorial service and taking her ashes to the Tahoma Cemetery, so he joined us. And my dad’s cousin John Whitlow and his wife Laurie joined us from Bainbridge Island. This is the first time in my memory I know of the Sullivans and the Washington Whitlows getting together at something other than a funeral. John and Laurie are avid bicyclists, and John serves on the board of the Bicycle Alliance, which is how we reconnected — really I should say “connected,” since we never knew each other before. I’m optimistic that we’ll get to be a bit more family-like from now on.

Some other tidbits:

  • I have started repainting the downstairs bathroom from dusty rose to off-white. I’ve cut in (badly) most of the edges and that doesn’t actually leave much to do with the rollers. Unfortunately it takes 2 or 3 coats of the white to cover up the current pink color.
  • Ian and I picked raspberries at a friend’s house this weekend. We are now flush with really delicious home-grown berries.
  • We got an estimate on redoing the floor in the downstairs bathroom and laundry room, which together total less than 100 square feet. Total cost: $1,500. Why? Because the subfloor is made out of particleboard or something equally not allowed, and they have to take out the subfloor, put in plywood, and then put the new flooring material on. Also, they have to remove and reinstall the toilet and moulding around the edges. Total labor: $950. I’m starting to think that we should just find out how to do most of the labor ourselves, if we can. Maybe our current ugly pink-diamond linoleum isn’t as awful as I thought…
  • Removed ivy from our rockery. DIE EVIL INVASIVE SPECIES!!! (Of course, we left all the succulents etc. that are certainly not native, either.
  • We’re watching Carmel while my parents are in California. We had to dope her up with doggie drugs on 4th of July; our entire neighborhood was a war zone, and we could see fireworks out of every window. It was horrendous. The next morning she found a moldy tennis ball and cat poop in the back yard. And then we got back from raspberry picking and found her unashamedly laying on our couch, which required serious reprimanding. I love having a dog!
  • We awoke to sunshine this morning for the first time in at least a week. I saw Mt. Rainier! And the Cascades! And the Olympics!

And last but not least, I’ll be in Trout Lake from tomorrow through Friday, so expect silence again. You’ll never even miss me. Enjoy the sun and drink lots of water!

Bike to Work Month Results: My Name in the Cascade Courier

Day’s Verse:
“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. …So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:23-24, 31

Bike to Work Month Mention

Remember how May was Bike to Work Month? Here’s the page from the Cascade Courier listing the results. You can’t see it unless you click and zoom in, but I’m listed in the right-hand column under “Most Overall Miles by a Female Rider on a team.”

For this honor, Cascade Bike Club sent me:

  • An ORCA card with $5 on it (one-way fares are $2.75).
  • A medium T-shirt that says “Let’s bike to work, shall we?”, leftover from the shirts they were selling on Bike to Work Day.
  • A printed certificate stating my miles, team, and name. (I bought a frame for it myself.)
  • A CD of music paid for by Clif bar (based on all the Clif advertising), possibly bicycling related? I’m not sure, not having listened to it yet.

Thank you, Cascade Bicycle Club! That was definitely worth riding 709 miles in the month of May.

Even More Food and Bikes

Day’s Verse:
All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
Acts 2:44-45

You may have noticed that my blog has narrowed to two topics lately: Food and bikes. The interest in food really flows from the interest in — and time spent on — bikes. More time on bikes during the month of May simply means that I spend more time thinking about food, more time eating, and more time planning to eat. So, in honor of food and bikes, here they are:

My bike, finally completely repaired from the crash in March:
Artemis Pink 1

Artemis Pink Fork & Fenders

My first attempt at lemon meringue pie, assisted by my friend Rachel Klas from church.
Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie Cut

Thank you to Nana and Grandpa for the delicious lemons and Ken and Karolyn Alford for the extremely fresh eggs. The pie would not be what it is without your contribution. Yum.

Continue reading “Even More Food and Bikes”