Saturday, March 27, 2010

Put on Your Big Girl Pants

Our Saturday morning club rides begin with a short devotional and prayer. This morning I began a short discussion around a book I'm currently reading, Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life by Larry Winget. The author isn't a Christian, that I'm aware of, and his perspective isn't exactly from a Christian worldview, but his premise was worthy of discussion. I asked, "How do we as Christians love others and offer compassion but don't enable someone to keep making bad decisions. How how do we love people but still are able to get in their face and say "shut up, stop whining, get a life"?" We talked a bit about Ephesians 4:15, "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ." Kristin summed it up well when she added, "Sometimes you've got to say to someone, "Put on your big girl pants and deal with it!" That would prove to be good advice for the ride ahead...

We headed south to Juanita where we were met by our first adversary: a flat. Two new riders, Neal and his son Tim, were joining us today and it was Tim's rear tire that flatted within the first five miles. I forgot to review that rule... No flats within the first five miles. Our team-approach to flat repair paid off and we were back on the road riding along Juanita Bay, up Market Street, and into Kirkland along the Lake Washington waterfront. The day was looking good.

We rode up our first sizable hill up into Clyde Hill and Yarrow Point. No whining yet. That's good.

Our route took us through Medina and Old Bellevue and then we turned right off Main Street and joined the Lake Washington Bike Trail. It starts with a HC Climb (that's French—"hors categorie," Tour de France lingo for "beyond category" which means really steep) that goes up, turns right, keeps going up, turns left, and keeps going up. The view of downtown Bellevue and Lake Washington is gorgeous, but you have to lift your head and look up. Most riders are focused on the tire in front of them and trying not to barf up a lung. The whining was beginning... where are your big girl pants?

At the top, we regrouped, caught our collective breath, then enjoyed a great descent, some easier ups and downs, and racing through the neighborhood of Beaux Arts. The trees and shade make this section of the ride truly beautiful and I can see why any family living here has so chosen. Neal mentioned to Tim that this would be a great ride for the middle of summer when it's 90 degrees. The shade definitely would cool you down.

We rode across the I-90 bridge, crossed onto Mercer Island, and then followed Kristin as she led us through Covenant Shores and around to the northwestern corner of the island. We took the counter-clockwise route around the island and noticed very quickly that we not the only ones on the island today. Dozens of other cyclists were out today. Training groups, pairs of friends, other cycling clubs, racing clubs riding in formation—they were all out today. The weather was still filtered sun but not too warm. We rolled around the island enjoying the twists and turns, the slight rises, and short descents, until we reached the northeast corner of the island where I-90 crosses. Our goal was to hit a Starbucks or Tully's for coffee. The only problem was that since we had started on the west side of the island, we now had another long hill between us and the downtown shops. No matter. I brought the right kind of pants... Big Girl Pants. Let's bring it.

So up we went. This hill was harder than the first two. By a factor of three at least. I tried hard not to remind myself that this was Kristin's idea. We even gave everyone a vote... Hill or no hill? I think Neal—who voted for the hill—was shocked at what he had elected to ride up. But we made it up. We had an easy downhill into town and then promptly found the Tully's where an iced latte, some coffee cake, and chair in the sunshine made the effort worthwhile.

John had dropped back a bit when we coming around the island so Warren had gone back to retrieve him and make sure he found his way to Tully's. First, I think Warren was glad that after all these years of riding, the tables had turned. We used to say, "Who's gonna wait for Warren?" Now, Warren is doing the waiting—and fetching. When he got John to the base of the big hill, my phone rang. They were looking for an alternate route. I couldn't blame them. So I provided a longer but flatter way and they soon joined us at Tully's. John had already phoned his wife and asked her to "do him a solid" and pick him up at the Tully's. She agreed. I wondered what her fee would be.

After leaving Tully's and saying farewell to John, we headed back through downtown Bellevue—hitting every street light we could, because that's what you do in downtown Bellevue. At the light at 112th and NE 8th, I glanced to my left and saw the window signage at the David Barton Gym. Their slogan, "Look Better Naked." Hmmm. Perhaps. But after today's ride, I think we all look best when we put on our "big girl pants."

More photos here.

Riders: Bob, Jim, Brenda, Kristin, John, Warren, David, Neal, and Tim
Distance: 45.26
Time: 3:10:57
Avg: 13.8
Max: 40.2

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