The drive, with a full car and three bikes on top, from Newberg to Spokane isn’t exactly scenic once you leave the Columbia Gorge, unless you like endless wheat fields. However, since then, it’s been a busy two+ weeks, without Janet.
My time in Spokane started with a ride along the Spokane River Centennial Trail to meet with my mom and Jeff at a salmon bake fundraiser for one of her square dancing groups. The fairly dry air was a huge adjustment for me as I’ve grown used to the very comfortable humidity in the Willamette Valley and Wales. It was great to see them with their friends.
The new job then started with five days of general hospital and nursing orientation. Is there a limit as to how much info you can absorb in a week? I think I must have passed it at some point. There was even a sixth day following the Labor Day holiday…
I returned to Oregon the next weekend to help get everything settled a bit. Paul was busy tearing apart our roof and other projects. Thanks Paul. I still haven’t seen the results but he does excellent work. Those Petersons don’t sit still very well. Hazel got home and comfortable following her surgery and continues to recover nicely. Jazzy and Bear really missed her company. JP is back at school and as busy as ever teaching and advising students.
Living only three miles from work means not driving on a daily basis. This was one of the two criteria I looked for in a new job. Until today, I’d only driven 65 miles since arriving, including my trip to the airport. I’ve been riding my resurrected 1987 Trek 520 to work and just about everywhere else too.
Last weekend, while Janet was busy playing in the mud,
I rode the out and back of the first 20 miles of the route to the top of Mt Spokane. It rises to 5880 feet and finishes with a 12 mile climb to the summit. I planned to ride to the top but ended up sleeping in…surprise! That afternoon, I had committed to supporting the Lilac City Twilight Criterium by helping set up the course and then acting as a course marshal later on. According to many involved, this was the return of road racing to Spokane after a decade or two of not much. Everyone was very happy with the event and hopeful for more local road racing in the future.
I was a marshal for the first two races and got to be a spectator the final two, including the CAT 1,2,3 finish. All I can say is that the organizers put on a wonderful event and the 1s, 2s and 3s were really fast!
Sunday was SpokeFest 2012, a celebration of cycling in Spokane. Everything started and finished downtown at Riverside Park. I chose to do the 47 mile Four Mounds Loop and explore some of the surrounding area without having to think about navigating. The route included a riverside start, a climb up and descent off of the plateau and finished by climbing up from the Spokane River back to the park. The festivities included lots of good food (I had a wonderful burrito!), cycling and non-cycling vendors and live music from Big Red Barn. These guys played a wonderful mix of bluegrass, blues and American roots music, including a Jerry Jeff Walker song!
Today I was able to get my mountain bike out for the first time. One of Janet’s racing friends, Michelle, lives nearby in Idaho and happily showed me her local hill, Canfield Mountain. We did two different climbs and descended both times via “The Cave” trail. What a fun set of trails that I’ll be back to explore.
As Michelle said today, it’s now time to get your riding in. The wonderful weather will only be here for another month or so before things start to change. To illustrate this point, we stopped into a local bike shop to pick up some gloves (I had to forget something…DOH!). The glove selection was pretty thin with XXL, XL and a few SM sizes. However, they did have lots of full finger and insulated models. It’s time to accept that year-round riding will be a bit more limited than I’ve been used to in Oregon and California.
Happy trails and keep cranking,