Riding in the Drops

08.2.2005 | 7:00 pm

When making a major life-affecting decision like where to have your house, there are a huge number of factors a smart person considers, probably. I say "probably" because I am not a smart person. When we bought our house, we considered the following:
  • We should be able to make the house payments
  • We liked all the trees
  • We liked that our neighborhood isn’t on the way to anywhere else — local traffic only
  • We liked the nature trails in the neighborhood
  • Um, that’s about it

And so I cannot claim any foresight or genius planning on my part for the fact that my neighborhood is right at the mouth of a portal to what I am discovering is a road cyclist’s paradise. Redmond Way / Hwy 202 connects me up to one great ride after another, and I get the feeling that I’ve only scratched the surface.

Why the enthusiasm? Well, I got up this morning and went on an early ride. I cruised along farmland, through mossy evergreen forests, up a couple challenging hills (my personal trainer is still insisting I seek out hills — idiot), past the Carnation city golf course. It’s a beautiful ride on great road surface, with very little traffic (at least at 6:00AM). Nice.

One thing I noticed while riding the RAMROD last week is that I’m — finally! — comfortable riding in the drops (ie, holding the lowest part of my handlebars) again. My legs don’t squish against my stomach — at least, not very much — and the lower position helps me be a little more aerodynamic. Well, I feel more aerodynamic anyway.

There’s just one problem, though. When you ride in the drops, you are heads-down. You are pretty much committed to looking at the road and not much else. And that’s a shame, when you’re riding such a scenic route.

Still, I was happily spinning along my route this morning — riding in the drops – when I got to the Carnation Marsh. There, I sat up for a moment, stretched, and looked around.

And that’s when I saw the bald eagle, sitting in its nest. Sitting atop a large dead tree, the nest looks like it’s about 5-6 feet in diameter.

I pulled over, grabbed my phone — with its cheesy little camera — and tried to get a shot. By the time I did, the eagle had taken off, but you can — just barely – see the nest. It’s right in the middle of the photo, and looks like a really bad shot of the space needle.

I’m sure thousands of people have seen this nest — and thank you, Audobon Society of Seattle, for maintaining the Carnation Marsh so beautifully, by the way — but it was a first for me, and I was fairly amazed. I watched the eagle fly ’til I lost sight of it, then looked at the nest again for a minute — it’s incredible how big it is — and then I got back on my bike and finished the ride.

So, note to self: riding in the drops is cool, but if you don’t sit up and look around once in a while, you’re missing a big part of what makes cycling great.

Today’s weight: 166.2


  1. Comment by Unknown | 08.2.2005 | 7:18 pm

    Interesting photo made even more interesting by that smaller twiggy object that I believe I see in the underbrush to the right. Looks like the nest of the elusive Norwegian Blue Parrot. And back and to the left is the nesting hole of the wily Fulvous Tree Duck. And just off the ground in that bush I spy the…(Oops, I misread the title of your entry as Riding in the Droppings. Sorry).

  2. Comment by kris | 08.2.2005 | 7:25 pm

    But if you ride in the drops you’ll be able to sample the local wildlife in the form of roadkill. Why is it that if the mother raccoon gets run over, all of the babies must also perish? Where’s Marlin Perkins when you need him?

  3. Comment by Suzanna | 08.3.2005 | 2:48 pm

    I just LOVE your blog! I am a sucker for the bald eagles around the lake and actually saw about a dozen of them one day, I swear, a flock of eagles??? I usually get on the cell phone and report the findings to my husband. I think all is right with the world when the birds of prey are in view.

  4. Comment by Caren | 08.3.2005 | 2:52 pm

    Not sure how I found your blog but it is REALLY helping with my TWS (TdF Withdrawal Syndrome)!! and it makes for a great read at the beginning of the day – I typically am smiling HUGELY when I finish reading!


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