Wednesday, June 6, 2012

SF to Tahoe Ride - Day 1 SF to Guerneville

Turning 50 years old can generate a lot of negative emotions; dismay at getting older, depression about the state of your 401K in this economy, anxiety about your ability to actually blow out 50 candles on a cake, even a pending sense of doom knowing you're  life is probably at least half over.....

I was experiencing none of those emotions though, my life is actually pretty blessed.  I'm employed, have a great family, a roof over my head and food on the table.....and I was getting ready to start out on an amazing adventure, riding my bike along with several good friends, from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe.

Day 1 started out like many rides before it. We were at Chrissy Field getting ready to ride across the Golden Gate Bridge and up through Marin County.
The only difference this time, was instead of arriving back at the van at the end of the day, we'd be ending up in Guerneville on the Russian River.

It was clear and sunny and although I was a bit concerned about the 90+ miles we were to ride, I was excited to start and anxious to get out into areas I had never ridden before. 

Like most vacations, the first day tends to be somewhat of a transition period.  Technically I was on vacation but mentally I was still carrying a lot of the workday baggage.  Stress about ongoing jobs, concern about bills I hadn't paid, guilt over starting out on a weeklong ride while my family was at home, etc, etc....The nice thing about vacations is that the farther you get from home, the less those thoughts intrude upon your day.

The difference between a bicycle vacation and a normal one is that the pace that you leave town is dramatically slower. This though, is a good thing in that as we worked our way across our portion of California, that same slow pace would allow us to see and experience the state in ways that are impossible when travelling by car.

The Golden Gate Bridge, when ridden across on a bike, with the smell of the salt in your nose, the wind off the ocean blowing you around, the ebb and flow of the tides moving beneath you..... these are sensations you can't experience from inside a large metal object moving at 65mph, even if the windows are down.

As the ride went on and the miles added up, we saw large empty spaces that belie the fact that we live in a state with 37 million people.
We rode across bridges older than I am and passed through communities where the oysters they served have been harvested from the same beds for almost 100 years.

One of the nice parts about riding long distances on a bike is that while my legs continued to make circles, my mind was allowed to check out for a while.  Its a very cool opportunity to spend time with God while enjoying His creation. There would actually be times throughout the week as I motored along on empty roads with my ipod delivering worship music into my head when I could almost feel His presence right there with me....
Eventually as we rolled in to Guerneville, 95 miles from where we started, the day came to an end.  I was sore, tired and ready to be off the bike. But imminently thankful still for the ability to be able to ride my bike with good friends through amazing scenery....

No comments: