Sunday, August 12, 2007

the best laid plans, in perspective

Last year my brother and his girlfriend talked us into doing the Providence Bridge Pedal, a very Portland event where cyclists get to cross from 6 to 10 bridges. Even though some of the bridges were steep, there was always the rush of the downhill side. The ride culminates going over the Fremont Bridge, and last year I was one of the last to cross it. It offered views of Portland that are unparallelled, gorgeous vistas you just can't get when you cross those bridges in a car. The ride was a challenge for me, but so rewarding, and we all looked forward to doing it again this year. We loaded our bikes onto the Max Train this morning at 8:00 a.m. to get us downtown for our 8:30 start time. Last year when we took the train, our bikes were the only ones on the train. This year the train was packed with cyclists, and when we arrived downtown there was a larger than usual crowd.

We got our vests, and waited at the starting point. And waited. And waited. Apparently, there was a traffic jam with the 10 bridge crowd. We finally got on the road at 9:15, hitting the first bridge at 9:20, having to walk across the first bridge due to heavy bike traffic. After crossing on foot, we hopped back on the bikes again and rode for a whopping 5 minutes until we hit another back up. This one went on for at least a mile, and it was wall to wall people as far as the eye could see. We were at least half mile from the bridge, where yep, they were walking us again. We waited there until 10:00, when we decided we'd had enough. We hadn't moved, and honestly it was worse than the 405 in rush hour in LA. This wasn't the event we'd signed on for at all. So we turned around, and figured, hey, we're on bikes, we can go whereever we want. So we went here instead and had coffee and pastries and bitched a little about being disappointed, but then really enjoyed a lovely ride through some great neighborhoods in Portland. After our lovely little nosh, we headed back down to see if we could join up at the end of the bridge pedal, to try to make it over the Fremont, but just as we got there they were closing the bridge to bikes and reopening it to car traffic. So we decided to just ride home. We managed to get a great ride in, but it seemed to be more uphill than down, and my legs are feeling it tonight. I held up my part of the bargain, pulling up the rear EVERYWHERE we went, and I would huff and puff my way up a hill, while the rest of the gang got a nice rest and a chance to chat and catch their breath. I'd pull up and before I could catch my breath, we'd be off again. Even though I'm disappointed with not being able to go over all the bridges, it was a great ride with the people I love the most, AND there were coffee and pastries! Who can complain about that?!

When we got home, we puttered around the house, and I started to get a little headache, which turned into a whopper of a migraine at around 5:30. I had started dinner while Charley changed his guitar strings and Joe-Henry laid out a little Max Train route all over the living room floor with post it notes and toy trains. I took an Excedrin Migraine, and I got the pasta sauce started and put the noodles on, but then I had to go lay down on the couch. Suddenly I was immobile, and Charley covered me up and brought me an eye pillow because the light, even through my closed eyelids, was excruciating. Joe-Henry was so amazing - he took such good care of me. I fell asleep to the sounds of them whispering to each other and eating dinner, music playing softly in the background. The last thing I remember thinking was that I hoped they'd find someone worthy of their goodness, because if I didn't die from the headache, it would be a miracle.

Two and a half hours later, I woke to a dark house and blinked hard at the clock. It was after 9:00 p.m., Charley was putting Joe-Henry to bed. My little guy was so excited that I was okay, he had to blink back tears. Honestly, so did I. I felt like the world was new, and all was good and I was ravenous. I ate two bowls of pasta, while Joe-Henry snuggled next to me, and chattered happily about his trains and the stops, and showed me the "get well" card he made me. I finally got him to sleep at 10:00, telling him about my daddy, and all the good people who took care of me when I was little and my mom got very sick.

I don't often suffer from migraines, and I don't know if you ever have. But there is something that happens after - it's nearly delirium. I feel so peaceful and grateful and giddily happy. It feels so wonderful to be alive.

Of course, talk to me tomorrow. I imagine my thighs and my ass will tell a different story.


suttonhoo said...

your thighs and ass will be TIGHT, baby. ;) such a great story -- the thought of your dear tribe whispering over dinner made me weepy. so glad you're feeling better.

Donna said...

Oh I know that post-migraine wave of relief well. You are just so happy to NOT have that headache any more! I never had them until after I stopped bf'ing kid #2. They like to pop up around my monthly visit, and if I don't throw back 800 mg of ibuprofen as soon as I start to feel it, I will have to choice but to lay down in the dark and sleep it off. So glad your hubby was home and you could sleep. There is nothing worse than having to push through it until bed time.

I feel your butt and thigh pain. I played my first three softball games in 9 years this Saturday. Yes, three games, one day, 105 degree heat index. Four bottles of water and two medium bottles of Gatorade and no urge to pee for SEVEN HOURS. And now I feel like the Tin Woodsman when he ran out of oil. Like your ride though, it was really fun to get out there and try it again after so long. Even though we got clobbered three times, I got on base all three times and got two hits. I may be fat and old, but I can still play!

Lolabola said...

great imagery, goes very well after suttonhoo's reminiscences.

B was in Portland last month and came back and whipped out the map so he could show me where all his photos were from. Pretty place.