24 June 2013

That's almost four decades

This summer I will attend a reunion of my high school class of 1973. Yes, this is the 40th anniversary of our graduation. Some people who will be there I haven't seen for 30 years (the last reunion I attended); others not for 40. I am curious, and eager.

But there's another anniversary that I haven't missed, for almost four decades. The first year anniversary was complicated by a music composition class and a tennis shoe shopping trip that went badly. The most recent one was celebrated by a week away on a beautiful lake in northern Michigan. Yes, I'm talking about our wedding anniversary.

This year, our 38th, like the previous two came during a week at a friend's home on Torch Lake. Years ago, when our children were all still at home, we had the privilege of spending a week there together. Two years ago we got "on the list" again, and our friends have been kind to keep us in the loop each summer. It's a great place to get away to, not too far but far enough to feel one has got away, close enough to the things we'd like to do but remote enough to not have good access to phone service. Pretty ideal!

Oh, and to top it off - excellent country roads for cycling!
(The Cherry Capital Cycling Club has an excellent regional map.)

Days pretty much consist of being woken by the sun, having a leisurely start reading before breakfast together (we almost never eat breakfast together unless we have company or are on vacation), then deciding what we'll do. For me, it is usually a binary but complicated decision: read, or ride? I manage to do both. For my Karen it is easier: read until she has to set her hand to some project. Our children will see the fruit of their Mom's project. My class reunion will see the fruit of mine - a scanner-to-slideshow affair. Evenings above the 45th Parallel are long and leisurely.

While it all seems rather sedate (we don't even take the boat out) it suits us perfectly. Asparagus is fresh from a local farmer; strawberries are in season; antiquing is accessible; Charlevoix is just up the road; Traverse City down. But it's a notch on the timeline of our marriage. Which is itself an adventure. Thirty-eight years is not long enough to be married, so I hope this adventure is just getting started!

04 June 2013

A Sunday Ride

For three decades I have worked Sundays. For sixteen summers, as I drove out of my neighborhood at 7am on the way to church, I have often seen a cycling group heading west down Geneva Rd. Golly, that looked like fun, and I have to confess it made me a little jealous. Oh, to have a free Sunday morning, and a group to ride with.

(Never mind that nearly every Saturday for almost a decade of summers, I have had an excellent group ride with friends. Sunday is another day, and I wasn't riding!)

Then there are the organized rides. Like marathons, always on Sundays. Kind of rules out participation when one works Sundays.

So as this last weekend rolled around, and my Saturday morning guys were deciding to do an organized ride on Sunday, my Karen said, "Well, of course you should go. Who knows how many free Sundays you'll have with your next job?" OK, then! I was in.

The Udder Century has been running for 30 years. It is sponsored by the McHenry County Bike Club, in northern Illinois. The route goes by a lot of farms. The event is very well organized, lots of cheerful volunteers, and there had to be a couple thousand riders involved. Being farm country, in the Midwest, there were lots of loops providing options for distances: 32, 50, 62 (a "metric century"), 75, and 100 mile rides were on offer. The Saturday gang opted for the 75 mile route at a casual pace.

It was overcast, in the mid-50s, with a fair W/NW wind. Good group riding conditions, and surprisingly (to me) we did keep a fairly casual pace throughout. Also surprisingly, the 75-mile route turned out to be 80 miles. It was a kind terrain, except for that one big bump about a mile before the end. Ouch.

Here is the route. The metrics (speed, heart rate) are Jon B's.

So, 80 of my 330 total miles, on one ride. By this time of the year, I'm usually on my second thousand seasonal miles. But this year has to be different, and I'm glad to get out when I can. And on this occasion, especially glad to ride with friends, finish well, and enjoy a rare Sunday getaway on a bike!