I’ll get back to writing about farming soon, I promise! Just a little update on the biking scene because the Alleycat Acres fundraising ride was last weekend.
Thanks to all your generous donations, I raised $350 to contribute to the cause. Alleycat Acres was aiming for $6K and I think they beat $10K but I’m still waiting to find out the grand total. Thank you again for your contributions and for designing my outfit! It was pretty damn awesome! Click the pic below to see my set of pictures on Flickr:
I had fun putting the costume together. The top vote-getters from contributers were pink tutu and “vegetable theme,” so I did those plus handlebar streamers and bright blue arm warmers. The specific ideas for the vegetable theme both came from friends’ suggestions: one was fleece carrot legwarmers that Sara Covich (pictured above) helped me sew up the week before the ride. The other was a snackable veggie necklace made out of carrots, radishes, and jalapeño peppers strung on dental floss around my neck! I took bites out of the carrots while I was riding, and a couple brave souls nibbled a jalapeño at different points during the day.
It was a gorgeous day for the ride. It is just starting to really feel like spring around here, and everybody was excited and energized by the weather as we started out in the morning. The lake loop is a popular ride for all kinds of cyclists, so I got plenty of stares and smiles from riders who were not part of our group as I rolled around in my ridiculous getup. It was great because when people asked me what the deal was, I was able to explain about the ride and the farm.
There were over 100 riders participating so I got to meet some great new people. Alleycat Acres really did it right: they had several rest stops organized for us with food and water; they fed us chili and cornbread and beer after the ride; they had support cars with bike racks and tools around the route for those of us who needed mechanical support 🙂 I am excited to see Alleycat run with it this season – they are a dedicated group of organizers and they inspire a lot of volunteer effort. I think they will be able to make a big positive impact!
The ride itself was a great challenge. I’m pretty pleased that this winter I’ve been getting into such good biking shape via my commute to work and riding to after-work activities and doing some longer rides on the weekends. But it turns out that a big event like this is needed to make me really push myself. In fact I did two big (for me) bike rides 6 days apart. Sunday Feb 27 was a 33-mile ***hills*** ride on Bainbridge. Then the 60-mile Lake Washington loop Alleycat ride was on Saturday March 4. During both of those rides, I hit a point where I felt like I legitimately couldn’t do it. I really, really, really wanted to stop — I was exhausted and/or in pain and it just wasn’t fun right then. This feeling generally comes from hills, although on Bainbridge the weather also played a role. I know that if I had been out for a ride by myself at these times, I wouldn’t have pushed myself this hard. I would have let myself wimp out before hitting that level of intensity. But when you’re with a group on an organized ride, an element of peer pressure comes in. You *have* to put mind over matter and just do it, keep going, finish it. And then when you do, you feel great. Like banging your head against a wall, right? It feels so good when you stop? You can only get that euphoric sense of accomplishment when you’ve had to overcome something difficult. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be noteworthy.
I used to have a fortune-cookie fortune that I taped to my computer monitor at work: “Any accomplishment worth achieving at first seems impossible.” I put it there because I used to routinely get anxious when given a work assignment that I didn’t immediately know how to attack. I would get down on myself for “not being a real computer nerd” and doubt my ability to even ask questions about the assignment that wouldn’t give away my perceived lack of knowledge. Of course I could always accomplish these tasks by doing the right research, asking the right questions, and using what I already knew about programming to learn the new pieces required for that specific task. And then when I finished it, it would feel good! I held onto the fortune in an attempt to remind myself of the afterward feeling when going into something new, to remind myself to approach it with confidence instead of anxiety. Eventually it started working a bit. And it turns out the statement is just as true for physical achievement, which is an arena in which I have always been fairly awful, but am now getting better at due to biking.
Yay bikes! Yay self-confidence! That’s the main point. Next topics I plan to write about include more on canning & preserving, as well as seed-saving and who knows what else will come up as I start at the new farm in a just a few weeks. Thanks for reading!