Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Biking in the Rain

Last Thursday, an interesting thing happened.
I was biking, and on the way back, not only did the "Caution: Alligator Habitat" signs creep me out, it looked like it was about to storm.
Normally, my hippie vibes should have kicked in, and I should have dismounted and danced in the rain and done everything but flip out. But I sort of freaked. (:

This was my Snapchat story from that day. Add me @ ohhiitselim.

I don't know what it is with me and outdoor cardio in stormy conditions, but it happens that I don't exactly remain calm. I wanted to get back to my dad's car as soon as possible, and the sense of coldness, wetness, and windiness were only heightened as I pumped those wheels as hard as I could. There were strong gusts that swept the droplets into pellets that hit me hard as I raced back.

But I mean, I saw ducks. I'm not sure if it was the rain, or an animal connection where for a moment they all had a hankering to see an Elim... But on the way back, I saw a gaggle of ducks. There were upwards of ten of them, all quacking about their business, and it was really kind of beautiful. I had to stop to kind of soak in the moment, and I wanted to capture it on film, but my phone wouldn't have done too hot in the wet rain. I guess it was just a completely spontaneous thing to lift my spirits. A memory that I can cherish alone.

So I made it back to the parking lot at which my father was to rendezvous with me.. But traffic was a little sticky, and he had a bit of a delay. So I stood underneath a tree that in no way provided me any protection. But as a car is pulling out of the parking lot, the window rolls down and I see a kindly woman wince at me and ask me, "Do you need an umbrella?"
I tried to deny it, and asked her, "How could I give it back?"
And she just replied, "You need it more."
A stranger gave me an umbrella.
Because I needed it more.
I feel like that's such a metaphorically powerful statement, that we should give to others where we see the need. That we should sacrifice our properties in order to balance out the world with all its inequalities. I know it's a little far-fetched to take from a simple stranger doing an act of kindness... But our world needs MORE random acts of kindness.

But all in all, that's just a little spiel to sum up my adventures biking along the Chattahoochee Riverwalk. I thought I had reached the end, but I realized that I only turned around when my girl-alone-in-the-middle-of-nowhere radar starts dinging. The entire trail is a whopping 22 miles (one way, 44 miles round trip) of commute along the Chattahoochee River. It starts up at Lake Oliver in North Columbus, then winds down to Fort Benning. I really really want to explore the entire thing, but for safe measures, I know that I probably shouldn't wander around alone... Yet I've yet to find a family member or friend willing to sacrifice a Saturday to bike a round trip of possibly 40 something miles. Hahah come be friends with me! I'll keep you in shape. (:

It's my new favorite thing, biking along sights to see. As you can see from my vlog above, I found everything so pretty I wanted to share it all. The slopes are gentle, but distance is easy to gain. When I check Strava after a ride, I never feel like I actually biked 15 miles. There is no need for music because my thoughts were the best things to hear. My imagination set my HIIT intervals for me: when I was convinced panthers would come out and pounce and attack, I biked hard. And I got to notice things. Instead of staying inside watching TV as I jump rope, I was able to pay attention to these surroundings that nature had put into play. I saw a car crash against the curb. I met lots of new, friendly people. I got to dip my hand in the Chatthoochee and look at the graffiti under the bridges and admire the flowing and ebbing of a long, long strand of water. It's kind of amazing.

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