Thank You Ride #14: the Cyclist Sees Her Shadow

Last week, I set a little personal record in my training for AIDS LifeCycle, a 545 mile ride from SF to LA, June 2-8 2019. I rode to work and back three times, making it over 60 miles in 5 work days. Two of those days I didn’t feel that great, so just got the miles in. The last of those three rides was a delight and it is dedicated to my friend Terry from Toastmasters.

Terry and I were never in the same club, but we keep running into each other at events and the conversation continues. I am so grateful to have people who are kind to me and support me in my aspirations, such as training and fundraising for AIDS LifeCycle! (You can read more about me dedicating rides to my generous sponsors here.)

I wasn’t in a rush Friday morning, it was nice out, and I felt well, so I decided to try a different route to South San Francisco than usual, around the West Side of San Bruno Mountain. I rode most of it a couple of months ago on a weekend (and wrote about that). This time, it was so much more pleasant! First of all, it was not raining or threatening to rain for a change. I was somewhat startled to see my shadow riding by me. Second, I figured out all the tricky connections and didn’t take any wrong turns. Finally, I was on a lighter bike and in a better shape, so it was easier.

In fact, I might make this my default ride to work. It is maybe half a mile longer and has more elevation gain than my current default ride, but it makes up in pleasantness. Uphill tends to mean upscale, so the pavement is better, and the traffic is more bike-friendly.

This route takes me to Daly City, and then circles through Colma around San Bruno Mountain. I wrote before how there are all those cemeteries in Colma. It is really striking. This time I stopped in front of a Serbian Cemetery, because the tricolor flag caught my attention. Was there a large Serbian Community around here? Is there? It’s so strange that people would want to be together in live and in death even after they all left the home that defined their togetherness. But I guess it makes sense, so the living can visit the dead. If I get a say in this matter though, I’d say, give any good organs to the people who can use them, and give the rest to the mushrooms.

Looking from the mountain side, the clouds didn’t get too far yet, but the day remained lovely. After work, I had an appointment in Nob Hill, so I rode the “regular” way along the Bay, with the views of the East Side of the Mountain, then through the city during rush hour (good times!), and 3 miles back home after my appointment, clocking in some 26 miles total for the day.

East side of San Bruno Mountain

As I ride more and more, try different routes, a little bit further away now, a little bit steeper up the hill then, I get a sense of the world getting smaller, more familiar. I love this feeling. I love that about travel: the world gets richer and yet smaller, familiar. I love that about this training. One way to look at this, the training is to shrink the distance between SF and LA to familiar. And yet on a shadow side of this is reluctance to stay still, to be content, to be limited, to be rooted. I can expand, explore, seek novelty. Can I stay and be comfortable and content where I am? Ever?

Well, I’ll think about that next time I pedal somewhere. For now, thanks again, Terry, for your support! Thanks to all my readers for joining me virtually on this ride. If you would like a ride dedicated to you or if you are willing to support a great cause and my training, please donate to AIDS LifeCycle through my fundraising page.

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