Thursday, October 24, 2013

Just In Case

I'm not shy about my love of bad weather. The most frequent question people here ask me is, "Why in the world would you move here from San Diego?"

My answer never changes.

"Because I missed the seasons. San Diego is always the same."

Most people give me the "you're crazy" look but there always a few that get it. Those few who, like me, crave change, even if it means leaving something comfortable. They understand that although letting go of comfortable is scary, it can also lead to something extraordinary that you might not have otherwise experienced.

If I hadn't left the warmth of So Cal, I would never have learned to downhill ski, or discovered I loved biking in the snow or lived in a chalet in the woods on Lake Michigan. I wouldn't have rediscovered how much I love running in the mud and rain.

One thing I realize about my time in San Diego is how few pictures I have of the place. Sure, there are pictures of friends and races, but I was always so busy running fast or riding fast in the beautiful weather that I forgot to slow down and take it all in. I took every day for granted because I figured the next day would be exactly the same.

This changing of the seasons has reminded me to take advantage of every day. Just in case. Just in case tomorrow there's 20 feet of snow. Just in case tomorrow the snow all melts. Just in case...

Saturday I almost forgot this. It was cold and rainy. I finally talked myself into running in Afton, planning it between the forecasted rain showers. I'm sure you can only guess what happened. I took off in my usual "I'm pretending it's not that cold" outfit, which consists of a hat, gloves, a long sleeve shirt, knee socks and shorts. (Big E might go sleeveless as long as possible. I, however, prefer to go pantsless as long as possible.)  Five minutes down the trail, it started raining. It was tempting to turn around, but I convinced myself to make it into a game, to see how much of the park I could see in one run.

I cut through the weird swamp,

found little flowers growing on the beach,

cruised along the river
 and eventually found a trail I'd never run before.

By the end, I was so cold and wet I could barely open the car door, but you know what?

 It was worth it, just in case....

Thursday, October 17, 2013

On the Beaten Path

This morning I lacked inspiration. I sat down to write, started my research, opened Word to start typing and said, "Screw it, I'm riding my bike instead."

When I don't have words, I don't have words. Usually the bike brings them. It's always worth a shot. The worst that could happen is I have a sweet bike ride, return home and still have no words. Not such a bad situation...

Riding from home is always an interesting experience. To sum it up quickly- every time I ride or run here, I'm even more convinced that the state of Minnesota has never denied anyone a driver's license. I'm quite certain it is also impossible to lose your driver's license in this state. Stop signs are apparently optional. They might as well take out the two by our house, because I have yet to witness anyone other than myself actually come to a complete stop at either of them. Blinkers? In MN they are used as an apology instead of a warning. "Oops, sorry I purposefully cut you off." "Oops, sorry, I turned left in front of you, but getting where I need to go quickly is more important than your life."

Now you know how I feel about MN drivers. (You've also probably figured out that the bike brought words.) Needless to say, I'm a fan of the bike path.

Of course,  I've been warned of the sketchiness of some of these urban bike trails, but I figure given the choice between drunken bums and traffic, I stand a better chance with the drunken bums. So, today's ride began with a little urban exploration.
As much as I complain about the traffic here, one of the things I love about St. Paul is how quickly the urbanness turns to this:
Of course, it was still pavement so in the end, I had to ignore a few "No Trespassing" signs in search of some dirt.  After an unsuccessful attempt to circumnavigate Sunfish Lake via dirt, I opted for some tried and true double track on the way home just to get a little dirt fix.

Eventually I had to hit the pavement again to get home, but at least I made it all the way to my street before someone nearly ran me over....

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


The adventures on two wheels have begun again.  Saturday was going to be "ride around and take pictures of fall leaves day," but a few minutes into my ride I saw this
and I got a little distracted. Then I discovered his little friend
and decided it would be "ride around and take pictures of mushrooms day."

So, instead of leaves, I bring you fall 'shrooms.
Maybe next time I'll keep my mind out of the gutter and take some pictures of those leaves....

Thursday, October 10, 2013

No Bon Bons

I am alive.  Just in case you were wondering. However, if you're also wondering if I have any new crazy bike adventures to report, the answer would be no. Aside from a short jaunt to the post office and a night race at Hillside, which I reluctantly participated in so I could drink at the time bonus station, I have spent zero time on my bike. 

Of course, that doesn't mean I've been sitting at home eating bon bons. (Sitting at home drinking whiskey - yes - eating bon bons- no.)  The adventures have continued, although instead of hauling a bike around in my car, I've been busy hauling this monstrosity.

Yes, the Girl Unsupervised tent ends up looking like a beach bar.
Actually, I haul two of them, a canopy, two tables and 200 signs.  So far, I've ventured to two wine festivals and one beer fest. While biking and running will always be my first loves, I've discovered the people watching is far better at these events.

It took awhile for Drunk 1 to arrive. She was supposedly, "taking a nap."

Thankfully, the event organizers always seem think I need a good spot. First I had a front row placement by the band.

It's all fun and games until the polka music starts.
Then I scored a sweet spot next to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation folks.
Trust me, when a torrential downpour rolls in right about the time you want to pack up, it's best to be next to the outdoorsy men. Plus, they had candy and forced me to eat it.
I have no idea what the next adventure will be. For now, I'm working while there's work and hoping for some early snow!