Un-missed Opportunities


I had missed the team ride by fifteen minutes and they had left without me. I couldn’t’ blame them, as I would have left without me too. We have a five minute rule, which is already kind of generous and I was well in error of the rule and was rightfully left alone.

At the coffee shop that was now devoid of any bikes, let alone ones belonging to my teammates, I checked my phone, hoping to either catch up with them, or not since I had already had a difficult time getting out of bed. There was a text, stating that they couldn’t’ wait any longer and that they were headed down N. Vancouver.  That was ten minutes ago, which meant I received that message five minutes before I left the house. There is no way I’m catching them.

The route was too hilly for this time of year anyway.

Still I send a text that simply reads “Damn”

I consider just going home after leaving the coffee shop. Getting out of bed was hard, for whatever reason, which is why I was late, and the prospect of climbing back in for another hour of shut eye is comforting. Thankfully I decide against it. I accepted a job offer in Seattle and in two weeks I’ll be leaving Portland. Right now it is cold, and clear which rare for this time of year and I should take advantage of it.

I do experience a slight tinge of panic when I realize I don’t have my headphones. The pull of a warm house tells I should go back and get them, but the better part of me says I should ride without them. Which is what I do.

The red structure known as the Broadway Bridge takes me over the Willamette and drops me into the Pearl District. Still feeling a little unmotivated and with slightly frozen digits I stop by the shop and talk with Geoff a bit. The conversations leaves me with the desire to ride and to live up to that better half of myself that stopped me from going back for my headphones.

From there ride up NW 24th, cross burnside and start the climb up SW Fairview. I descended this road, following a friend through the one way streets of the park above then down the narrow path. That was one of the year’s most memorable rides because it brought me to a more honest place – which is a story for another time – that descent has become one of my favorite climbs.

The climbing and the memories warm me up. I don’t ride in the Portland’s West Hills that often anymore, though where I’m headed is where most of my first rides in Portland took me. I cut through the Zoo then up NW Highland following Portland’s Rhonde route back up to NW Fairview then up to NW Skyline.

Today is a short ride so at Cornell I drop back into the city, cutting once again through the NW neighborhood and back through the Pearl and toward the red bridge that brought me across the river. The streets are a bit busier now. More people are scurrying across the street while cars stop, allowing them to cross, their hands full with Lattes or shopping bags or the hands of a loved one.

I’ve spent my morning in the in the hands of a city I love, with roads I know and love. Which feels good, even if the place I’ve lived for the last six years is incapable of loving me back. I missed an opportunity to ride with my teammates, but I didn’t miss out.

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