Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Oregon Trail

Up in Oregon for family business. Not positive business, a family loss in fact. My little brother was found dead off the coast of Fiji where's he's been living. Don't really feel like blogging, and writing that last sentence was difficult; but eventually I have to confront it. At the moment just trying to make light of the situation and the time up here; which has now been extended until mid-May. I drove here from SoCal because I wanted the time on the road to think. I decided to take my bike, which was a great choice. Getting out in the Oregon countryside has cleared my head a bit, and I am able to put 3 hours a day in the saddle.

This is my therapy. Some drink, some take drugs, and some see professionals; I have just been waking up, grabbing my Cannondale and looking for the steepest climbs I can find. I believe physical suffering has benefits; both mentally and physically. Of course as an athlete, you must condition yourself. But there is something spiritual about feeling the acid seep into your legs and watching your heart rate hit 180. It was cold when I first got here, and my mother told me not to ride it was too cold. I didn't say anything but I thought to myself "my little brother never gets to feel the cold again, and I am lucky to be alive to feel it myself." The next day it was 75 degrees, and I went for a nice hilly ride.

I headed out through Wilsonville west to Bell Road. I took Bell Rd up to Ladd Hill, which gave me a view of My. Hood to the east of me.

Normally I have a pretty clear head when I ride. Many times I talk to myself like a crazy person. But today I found myself riding along and zoning out. Every time I would think of my brother I would have to hold back the tears. It's still just too much for me to soak in, and it's going to be a long road ahead dealing with all of it.

I dropped into Sherwood and headed north toward Scholls. As I road I began to feel better.

I passed berry farm after berry farm:

And orchard after orchard:

If any a place was perfect for clearing the head, Oregon is it. The scenery was stunning, and it was nice to be away from cities and people. I hit the 219 and headed south toward a city called Newburg. This is what the start of the climb looked like:

The climb was a nice steady 4-7% grade, and climbed into a forested area where it hit a couple of 9% sections. The view around the climb was unreal:

Top of the climb:

There were tons of Alpaca farms:

And the nice weather brought out the snakes:

Headed back home after dropping into Newburg and back into Wilsonville. Don't have much to write at the moment, but I am sure it will come back. In the meantime, riding and spending time with the family are the priorities.


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