Saturday, August 29, 2009

Introducing SingingCyclist: I Wanna Hold Your Hand!

Who sang this song most recently and in what unusual place?
"I wanna hold your haaaaand,
I wanna hold your hand!"

Answer: The SingingCyclist (aka DartreDame's son and CurioRando's stepson, otherwise known as Janak) as he descended 600 feet from a 4500 foot summit of the Zumwalt Prairie road in Joseph, Oregon!

Hi! I am the singing cyclist and you’ll soon find out why! I only just started biking in the last year or two and my longest ride to date was a year ago when I was 11 years old. That ride was a 25 miler (which was only that long by accident of my mom, DartreDame, getting lost) on a day that was about 100 degrees. And it was somewhat remarkable that I didn't get turned off completely given that mom hadn't packed enough water or sunscreen and I was only wearing sandals. Yes, it did take a while to finish...six slow but steady wins the race hours!

So, this year, while spending glorious time up at our little cabin in Joseph, we decided to try again. First we tackled a 20 mile ride that did a lovely loop around Joseph and back up the back way on Hurricane Creek road. It was hard not to be inspired by the beautiful scenery: tall craggy mountains, green patches stretching out into the landscape, vultures swooping down, hawks gliding above.

Our little loop turned out to be only 18 miles, but I was determined to do 20! As a result, we cycled up and down the streets of Joseph town numerous times to reach our goal of magic 20 miles. I was proud but fairly tired.

The bicycling bug had bitten me! The next day, I insisted we go out again for a 30 MILER!!! And this time with a hill. And not just any hill. The Zumwalt Prairie hill, the same one that even DartreDame (my mom) had trouble with her first time. But I was determined. We rode up to the hill and started chugging up it! I was singing (hence the name) constantly as I climbed it, so my mom finally asked me "don't you want to conserve your energy?" I said OK... And then started singing the next minute!

Finally we reached the top। Yay! My personal best climb!

And then the infamous "I wanna hold your hand!!" as we flew down। When my mom caught up to me and asked me how I was doing, I replied "king of the world, wind in my face!" I felt good!

We biked along Eggleson Road out to Hurricane Creek Road. Whoah! A deer carcass! Some car had hit it and then moved it to the side of the road. But we still saw it! It was wild! Once again, I added more to our ride, and this time we went to the 5 mile away town of Enterprise. Hurricane Creek Road from Enterprise to Joseph is a gradual but continuous and very hard (for me) climb (500 feet, 8 miles, and at the end of the ride).

This time, when DartreDame asked me how I was doing I replied "nemesissing," referring to her telling me that this climb had been her nemesis for a couple of years before. (That came from when she and CurioRando biked from Joseph to Enterprise and back to get groceries to make pumpkin pie one freezing cold, snowy, icy and incredibly windy Thanksgiving Day a couple of years back.)

When we got back to Joseph, I was the two P's: proud and pooped :).

I really didn't think I could do any more than 30 miles ever! The next day was a virtuous rest day. We did nothing! But that didn't last long. Soon we were hungry for more! So we decided that after that day of rest, we were ready to try biking to Lostine and back, a town we estimated was about 15 miles away for a total of 30 miles again.

On the way out, we saw signs that said Lostine was further than we thought.

Uh oh.

We kept going but I was a little discouraged. My legs were tired from the other rides and it was only the beginning. I could tell my mom was already worried. She said we could always ask our friend Paul (who lives in Lostine) to give us a ride back if I was too tired. Although I insisted I could bike all the way, I was secretly thinking about the offer.

By the time we reached Enterprise, it was already 10 miles and we still had 10 miles to go—that meant a 40-mile ride roundtrip if we could make it! And I was determined again!

We made it to Lostine and I wasn't too tired, just hungry! Paul had an answer for that. Peanut butter and honey sandwiches and sweet Imnaha corn and cold green tea Snapples! He even played guitar for us and gave us a tour of his great garden. What a great stop!! It got me all ready for the ride home!

We stopped at the Blue Banana in Lostine for pictures. It is a cute-as-a-banana smoothie shop but we were so full from our sandwiches and corn that we decided we would have to come back some other time to try the smoothies and roasted nuts.

This time, the ride home seemed fine! Even the hill coming back wasn’t so bad and I didn't nemesis that much!

Once again, by the time we got to Joseph, we still needed a couple of more miles to make 40 and I insisted! So my mom took us up yet another hill to Old Chief Joseph's grave site। This was a hill that I did last year and it was really hard back then! It was hard again for sure but not as hard and I did it! We sat up at the top on the wall at the gravesite in the shade of the big tree and did high fives!

The way down was a blast! We flew down the hill and ended with a total of a 41 mile day!

All told, we did a total of 90 miles over the course of 4 days! I was really proud and happy and ready to bike some more! I told DartreDame and CurioRando that I want to do a half century this year and hopefully by next year, be ready to do a full century!