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With a little help

July 6, 2018 Comments off

This was my first week as the primary caregiver of my baby.

Luckily, one of my sisters in law came to Seattle because a long time friend had a crisis.  This meant I had help. Which I really appreciated. Not going to say need because I balanced the days with the baby and getting work done. I may not have been as productive as I would have liked but that’s ok. It is hard to type with a baby in your arms.

It is great to have relatives that love my daughter and want to see her. So helpful when I need to get stuff done or go to a meeting. Such a relief and such a help. Especially when my sister in law made dinner. That was beyond appreciated!

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Cascade Night Ride

July 1, 2018 Leave a comment

It must have been three or four years ago when I came over the Fremont Bridge to a bike train of people with multicolored lights over their bikes. This being out of the ordinary but me being tired from a long day that it didn’t fully register beside, “That isn’t usually on the Burke Gilman, even on a Friday.” Sometime later I found out about Cascade’s Night Ride.

It hadn’t been a goal to ride it but a want. Two years ago I forgot to sign up and last year there was too much going on to be able to go. This year I made it work. Despite the baby and slightly heavier than usual workload,  I even managed to get some lights on my bike so I could enjoy it more.

Getting ready for tomorrow's @cascadebicycle #nightride #bikelights #bikedecoration

A post shared by SalPonce (@that1tech) on

So the ride itself was interesting. The bulk of it had been some version of my commute until I left Ballard for Capitol Hill. In fact, as I rode it was reminded of part of “How to be a Road Biker” that said something about riding a Gran Fondo where you can pay hundreds of dollars to ride a route you could for free.

Now I spent much less than hundreds but it had some feel of that.  True, there were way more colorful lights and folks had a good time. Lots of kids on bikes which is also good.

My take away besides this was remarkably easy is how much getting through Magnolia changed. In a much earlier blog post I wrote about my first attempts at getting to work. For that ride, I took the Ballard Bridge, to Magnolia, to Elliot Bay Trail. I did this route for a few months until realizing it was so much safer to go over the Fremont Bridge and go over what would become the Westlake Cycleway but was a series of parking lots then. My route had a hill on Emerson before Gilman that I dreaded. Steep enough for me to hardly be able to do it, busy enough to put me in close contact to cars on the road, and sidewalk bumpy with roots that even that wasn’t an option.

Leaving Fisherman’s Terminal I shifted and prepared to go up that hill only to find we were routed to a 2 way protected bike lane. My smile was huge! I even said, “Where was this years ago!” Then someone had to walk their bike which caused me to move more center, and the person attempting to pass me to almost be run into the safety rail. This then connected to a 2 lane bike path on Gilman and a better intersections where it turns on Thorndyke before going the hill by the train track to the Elliot Bay Trail.

Now that trail hasn’t changed and is still a dark, scary strip of land between the train tracks and port warehouses. Just a little more light would be appreciated. Especially on that the overpass midway through. That took a few people by surprise. Hills seemed to get a few people now that I think of it. The number of people that had to walk their bikes up Harrison was also pretty large. Could have been just folks not knowing the hills are there or it could have been my attitude of the last few years of hating hills but just finding the right gear and going.

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Finish line!

In the end, I had a good time. I question some of the choices for the route. Seems like a few tweaks and it could have gone better but there are probably reasons for that. The first rest stop felt too soon and the second rest stop maybe a bit too far. Perhaps a bigger party one at Seattle Center would have been better. Yet that would have caused greater problems as bike route connections from the Center aren’t great. Wayfaring wasn’t too good as the signs with glowsticks were hard to read and the spray-painted markings didn’t work after dark.

Also other cyclists.

I don’t ride in groups very much but many people were far worse than me. At one point, I was behind some people and a biker coming up rang their bell to pass. In front, a person swerved left, overcorrected right, then overcorrected left, and fell. It happened, in slow motion and I was far enough over and behind to avoid them.  Their group stopped and besides being embarrassed they were ok.

Had this happened at a different part they would have been run over by a few people. Pretty freaky.

 

Building a Greenway

June 27, 2018 Comments off

 

20180626_0917531Near my house in South East Seattle, there’s been a fight about making biking safer. This fight predates my first clumsy ride to Gasworks Park but maybe not as long as the one for the Missing Link. Anyway, some weeks ago my little family went for a stroll through Genesee Park and I noticed bike markings painted on the ground and some speed bumps that looked new. I noted it but didn’t really give it much thought.

Then sometime later I went for a ride and noticed a Greenway sign and followed it for a bit but ended up losing the Greenway. Not that it mattered I was doing a quick ride just to Coleman Park and back for no reason other than a ride.

Yesterday, I decided to try to explore this Greenway in progress and see how it is going and will this add a better route to my commute to Downtown or Capitol Hill. Overall, maybe. It felt better than going down MLK taking the Pedestrian Overpass and then meeting up with 31st but this route isn’t direct in the slightest.  Pardon just the pictures of the infrastructure pictures. It’s gonna be a lot of paint on the ground because that is what most of a Greenway seems to be.

I admit there are problems with the idea of Greenways and problems with the budget cuts surrounding them. Yes, Move Seattle wasn’t perfect but it made some improvements. Other people can go into better detail about the failings of that measure but right now how about we enjoy the ride?
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Riding Again

June 22, 2018 Leave a comment

Last post I mentioned a new bike in my life and here it is.

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Bike with a view

I did get a question about the why of getting a touring bike and some of it is hope. I hope to be able to bike tour or bike camp one day. Not the summer, obviously, making sure a baby doesn’t die and my wife doesn’t kill me for abandoning her for the open road is more important but someday. Also, I found myself doing long and long rides with my Jamis.

These were great except the pain that occurred in my neck, shoulders, arms, etc.  In fact, less than a month before my daughter was born I did a 30 mile ride with Cascade and while it went well my body ached after. This was a leisurely style ride meant to get people into group riding and fit exactly what I wanted to do and learn. During the ride, I found myself easily outdistancing many of the riders. I kept up with a couple others and as we rode we ended up chatting.

We were all bike commuters, all had hilly neighborhoods, and all enjoyed the lollipop ride with the hills. Challenging but very fun we each remarked. At the end, I got to chatting and brought up the setting an arbitrary goal and looking to get a touring bike because of distance. The ride I was chatting with mentioned having done the same with a new bike and wished me luck.

Just before the birth I got checked out a few bikes, thought I made a decision, rode a few more, and picked a bike I barely considered because it felt the best. Still need some more things to complete the bike but much closer than I was at the start. Also, love the ride.

Doing a work commute has been a bit daunting because I have to get up Beacon Hill or fight through the traffic of Rainier. Beacon is scary because it’s a hill and goes on and Rainier is prioritized for cars and will be for the foreseeable future. Still new bike, new goals, and Scare Yourself, right?

Going back to work I figured why not? I need some personal time and Biking has been my personal time. I have done the ride up Beacon Hill a few times. It wasn’t easy on the Jamis and it still isn’t on the Kona. Now it is easier. So this could be a few factors some being my personal fitness level others being bike related. Regardless, I went up the hill more easily and actually biked to work. It took me about 30 minutes to ride in.  It often takes me an hour to drive and 45 minutes to bus. When I commuted for the first time from Ballard I felt like my world opened up and felt like I had a greater control. Also the views.

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Seattle and my finger in the afternoon

Also, l like Ballard I end up with some exercise, some chance for reflection, and the ability catch up on my podcasts. Going every day doesn’t work as some days I’ll be working from home and others I have meetings stacked in locations where it isn’t feasible as well as childcare. Much like riding during tech week it could become something I look forward to on the days when I can.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to my commutes and should probably start a couple of knitting projects before it gets cold.

 

Life

June 13, 2018 Leave a comment

It sure gets in the way.

Just about 3 years ago,  I hadn’t moved in with my wife but things were getting serious. Work was going well enough. Things were different.  Looking at that last post I still haven’t completed a coffeeneuring. Seems each year either injury or life gets in the way.

Later in 2015, I would slice my leg open while biking. I’d get over a dozen stitches, external and internal, and be off biking for 6 months. Eventually, I would start again but be much more hesitant. Also, I would need to go through wound care because I got no post-visit instructions. This left me with a big scar on the inside of my right calf and some loss of feeling. Given what could have happened that isn’t too bad.

As I was saying Life.

Things continued serious and I got married last year. We had a picturesque wedding on M/V Tacoma going to Bainbridge Island and back then a great reception at a theatre where I once worked. Amazing Honeymoon to France and Spain then to the surprise of a new pregnancy. A pregnancy which, while challenging, was not the worst thing ever. It sure seemed like it at times but only at times as my wife worked until just about the end.

Five weeks ago, our Daughter was born and it was great to spend time with both of them. Yesterday, I went back to work and it feels overwhelming, to say the least, as my job is not one that is easy to do at the best of times and beat your head against the wall stressful at the worst. Fighting a losing fight is tough. Fighting for those that aren’t used to being fought for and all through it hoping against hope that what you do matters while it feels like it doesn’t.

In so many ways I long for the old days when I started this blog to document One Year bouncing and then worked so much I felt like this became a humble brag. That would be if anyone found this, which no one did.  Yet the thing is I wouldn’t trade this life.

Another thing changed in the years since I last wrote and that was I gained about 60 pounds of weight. I hadn’t been caring for myself in the slightest and wasn’t riding much. When I did it was a fair amount of distance but not too often. This came to head when going to Universal Studios in 2016 and I couldn’t ride many rides. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and like a failure. I’ve struggled with my weight most of my adult life and had felt that way before but it had also been recent that it seemed like my weight was under control. January 2017, I had a lot to look forward to and I did what many people do before a wedding: I lost weight. Much of what I did built habits. I wasn’t doing a crash diet but going to the gym and tracking my weight and calories. It was ridiculous and took so much time but I lost weight. Enough weight that my tailor had to alter my suit from the first sizing to the final fitting.

This also kicked off something inside me and I developed Graves’ Disease. Nothing like an auto-immune disease to make doctors much more interested in you. Regardless of the name, it isn’t the end of the world. My thyroid is wacky but otherwise, things are ok. I did have hyperthyroidism which made weight loss even easier. I could eat anything and lose weight.  Could barely hold a pen but chicken sandwich’s leading to lost pounds is fun.

Today, my life is much different than 3 years ago. I’m married to an amazing wife, I have a new daughter, I have an auto-immune disease, I weigh less than I did in high school (any year), and I’m wondering what the next steps in my life will be. It feels like Scare Yourself Summer but the Scare Yourself is this new life I wanted but never thought I’d get. I’m happy, scared, anxious, and wondering what will happen. I feel, at times, like a charlatan but not in a bad way. Just like I’ll be found out because I’m not the kind of person that should have all this but I do. I want to tell my past selves that it gets better. That life works out that despite the doubt and want things will improve in their own way.

There is also a new bike in my life. As is said in the bike community: there are few problems that a new bike can’t solve. I thought that as I zipped along 15th to Jose Rizal Bridge and then slogged up Beacon Hill later that day. I want people to know all this and more. I want to blog again and share the experiences I have with my daughter and finding art and exploring.

So I’ve come back… or will post another post in 2 years… either way let’s see what happens.

Categories: Scare Yourself

Long Ride

May 18, 2015 Leave a comment

Earlier this week I had wanted to go for a long ride.
Unfortunately life got in the way I couldn’t do it so when I suddenly there was only a matinee and evening free I decided to wave good bye to Seattle and see how far I could go by bike.

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Good Bye Seattle. Hello Lake Forest Park

When i moved to Seattle I lived in the Lake City Neighborhood.
This was a mixed blessing in a lot of ways. For the most part I got to live in a part of Seattle I may not want to live in a gain but I also got to understand that while this was a far away neighborhood that didn’t have a lot of problems it was still not a great place to live. But honestly those 6 months I spent in Lake City weren’t terrible.  Yes I was worried about finding work or using all my savings but it had moments of entertainment. I strolled the neighborhood a lot. Read a lot of odd books and learned many places that offered refills of coffee and didn’t mind if you stuck around all day.
One such place was called Third Place Commons in Lake Forest Park. The Honey Bear Bakery had free refills of drip and day old pastries there was an additional plus of a King County Library in the mall area so there were free books or books for buy from the book store. Also nearby was a park.
And the Burke Gilman trail.
At this point I would see bikes go by and wonder who would ride this far.
What manner of person would hop on a bike and go this far?
As I crossed that intersection and looked over I had my answer.
I would.
tt look me almost 8 years but I rode my bike from Capitol Hill, over the University Bridge, through UW, and then North until I got to Lake Forest Park. I had a goal of seeing how far I could go or to 192 Brewing whichever came first but as I passed Third Place Common I knew I could go the rest of the way for a drink and there wouldn’t be a problem.
Sure it I hadn’t gone 17 miles in a go but I beat my previous of 13 miles which I hardly count because it was so flat but so was the Burke Gilman and yet it was so good. Making that distance and not feeling like my body was failing me helped. It was so doable. I had no problems even if I felt out of place when I arrived at 192 and I was the only cyclist in normal clothes. This made me happy.
Sure some may have come way farther than I did or much faster or are training for  a major ride but it was still good to know I don’t require special clothing to bike. And that is the real plus.
Even after 30 miles I contend that my clothing was fine. Sure my legs ache a bit from the strain but it is in a good work out way not in a “I hurt myself through stupidity way” and that is what matters. Good old soreness instead of real pain.

Also my ass does not hurt which means even though I still find a hard leather seat odd I am so happy I’m not butt hurt.

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Good Bye Lake Forest Park. Hello Seattle.

Union Boss

March 19, 2015 Leave a comment

I was called this yesterday.
Took until today to make me realize it is somewhat true.
Also the fact that people want certain things from me and demand a lot more than when I was just a stagehand is so bizarre.
Doing budgets.
Setting up committees.
Follow through.
And if I fail I will be blamed.
And then called a union boss.
My training was not for this.

Categories: Scare Yourself