Wednesday, June 24, 2009

June 24, Wednesday, Shelby Mountain

The sailor loves the wind - and hates the calm. The cyclist loves only the tailwind, accepts a calm calmly and abhors the headwind. And we had it our way just like Frank Sinatra today - 75 miles, East Glacier to Shelby with a turbo-charged tailwind. What a difference a day makes and a wind. Give us the flat and get out of the way. Restored our sense of competency in the saddle. The floating community of cyclists we have become entwined with blew through to the small campground here at Lake Shel-oola which has no lake. The Bellingham Seven, Dave and Gordon and us, so far., three guys from Oklahoma, may have continued.

The countryside has changed dramatically. Your eye can see forever. No chance of being snuck up on here, so our brains like the view. Long rolling hills with many wetlands between. Saw Wilson phalarope, northern shoveler, gray duck, mallards, blue wing teal, black bellied plover, lesser yellow legs, yellow headed blackbird, red wing blackbird, western king bird, long billed curlew, northern harrier and others. These wetlands are the nesting ground for so many birds.

I continue my investigation of motivation with the bicyclists I meet. Most have not thought deeply and give rather simple answers, “To see if I could” - “I had the time before grad school” - “My friend was doing it, so I thought, ‘Why not’.” This must remain an open area of research. It appears, though, that patterns are emerging. Old guys finally breaking loose and young guys taking a break before putting on the career traces. The one woman I have talked to was coming out of a career, seeking a new beginning - more of a classical midlife position revision. I guess we’re old guys taking a big break and seeing if we can do it. Today and getting over the two mountain ranges says we can.

The guys arrived later. Stuart, absent a significant portion of skin from a crash at 20 mph on open road, by something that deflected his front wheel, and he was down. Wrecked his helmet. His advice - “Wear a helmet.” It did “ring my bell good,” he says, and we will watch him for seqelae. If he can’t ride in the morning, he gets left. The tour is bigger than any of us.

David lost the Frisbee, bocce ball, chase game. And his tooth again. Same IQ drop - same glue solution. That’s the fourth time.

Question of the day: What is the basis of choice? Send your answer. To qualify as a winner, no questions addressed to me can be asked of the question. Wrong answers predict a bad outcome. Confusion clears eventually for some. Robert Frost started this.

Pat Sewell

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