It has been over a year since I updated this blog, mostly because I have been working full time as a hand therapist! However, I have had an absolutely amazing year full of rad adventures, culminating in the completion of the NYC marathon this November. Many people have asked about my training for this so I thought I would give an update on what I have been up to leading up to the big event.
I have been seeing a personal trainer once a week but as far as biking goes I have not had a specific training program. I have just been trying to get on my bike(s) whenever I can! I really enjoy doing long distances/bike tours so my goals for this past summer to get ready for the marathon were to do two Bike MS rides which are usually 2 days each and a variety of distances. I planned to do Bike MS Willamette Valley in Oregon in August and Bike MS Deception Pass in Washington in September. I also had a surprise bike adventure in between them which was to see the eclipse in central Oregon! To top it off, I went to Bend for the first annual Cascade Crankfest, a series of off road hand-cycle rides and a race in the first hand cycle division of the popular Cyclocross race in Bend.
Bike MS Willamette Valley- August 5-6, 2017
My friend Claire and I did two days of cycling in Oregon’s wine country, about 20-25 miles a day. We had a blast enjoying the tranquil scenery and tasting the delicious wines with a spectacular wildfire induced sunset.
The high point of this summer and possibly my life had to be seeing a total solar eclipse in my beloved central Oregon. There was tons of hype leading up to it, with fears of traffic jams and food and gas shortages, to say the least. However, my buddy Fletcher and I had the trip of a lifetime with very few snags along the way. The path of totality centered over Madras, Oregon, about an hour from Bend. We heard that there was a big difference between seeing even 98% of the eclipse and a total eclipse, so we were committed to getting in its path. Because of threats of traffic, we decided to bike 25 miles that morning from Bend to Terrebonne so that we could see about 2 minutes of total eclipse. The ride was unfortunately about 25 miles downhill to Terrebonne and 25 miles uphill back, but we were going to make it work. Never mind that I had never biked more than 35 miles in a day!
The photos I have from that day do not do it justice. The epic adventure of the day- a full day of biking from sun up to sun down, would have been enough to make an awesome experience I would remember for a long time to come. But, to top it all off, the experience of the eclipse was mind blowing! It took about an hour for the sun to be eclipsed by the moon, and another hour to come back. But the two minutes of magic when the world went dark at 10 am were life changing. We found a great spot overlooking Smith Rock with about 50 other people. A family next to us had travelled from England to see it. I am so glad we decided to be with others, because the collective excitement just heightened the experience. There is a long lead up to the event, during which you have to keep the eclipse glasses on so as to not burn your retinas. But at the moment when the sun is covered, you can take them off and look directly at the most beautiful thing you have ever seen. Right before it happened, I could see a wall of darkness coming towards me like a thunderstorm cloud. It got cold and dark. It looked like a sunset, but the colors were 360 degrees around me. The sun became black and was surrounded by a ring of light, and I could see the swirling atmosphere of the sun extending out like tentacles. I could not help myself from exclaiming over and over again, “oh my god” and grabbing Fletcher’s arm. I wanted to be totally present for the experience, but I did snap this photo as it began to get lighter:
All I have to say is, if you ever get the experience to see a total eclipse, do it! I am hooked and plan on seeing the next one in Argentina in 2019 and the US in 2024.
I realized that this journey to see the eclipse is like a metaphor for how I live my life. Many people thought I was crazy for filling my car with gasoline and food for potential disaster on my way to see this total eclipse. Many were satisfied with avoiding trading and seeing the 90-98 percent eclipse anywhere from Tacoma to Bend. My quest for totality extends into all areas of my life, from career to home base to relationships. I am not willing to settle for 90 percent in this life, I am going for the total, mind blowing, full experience!
Bike MS Deception Pass, September 9-10, 2017
Karin and I did this Bike MS ride for the second year in a row, but this year was ground breaking for me. I set a goal of biking 50 miles on day two, and I am so glad that Karin was up for the challenge! It was more miles in a day than either of us had ever rode. Since the course was mostly flat, I was hopeful I could complete it. I am especially proud because I biked the whole distance without any physical assistance. It was an awesome day- I seemed to have blocked out any memories of pain ;). We finished after the closing of the course, so we were accompanied at the end by the sweep vehicle. I thought the finish line would probably be down by the time we got there, but it was just the opposite: every volunteer for the event was lined up at the finish line to cheer us in. It was an extremely emotional moment for me as I had set this high goal last year and was able to achieve it with the support of Karin and a bunch of strangers. Thank you to everyone who donated to the MS Society allowing me to do both of these rides!
The first annual Cascade Crankfest in Bend, Oregon was a total success. Hand cyclists came from Idaho, Montana, California, and Washington to participate. The pictures from this day tell it all, Oregon Adaptive Sports shuttled us to the top of an amazing trail with wide banked turns and challenging but do-able terrain.
After finishing this ride, we rushed over to the Old Mill District in Bend to compete in the first ever hand-cycle division of the crazy Cyclocross race Deschutes Brewery puts on. It was a blast. I am so proud of my friend Anna for beating most of the boys!