Life is always easier if you're in the right gear.

Flood Watches and Flood Warnings

Late this summer, I received a letter in the mail notifying me that Central Point, Oregon, (the small burg I reside in) is in a flood plane. Well, parts of it are. I didn’t entirely understand the letter, and I don’t entirely understand how FEMA determines which areas on the map are most likely to flood. FEMA uses terms like 500-year flood and 100-year flood and it is all confusing to me. As I read the letter, I remember thinking, “I wonder if I should get flood insurance.” I never received a letter like that when living in my previous home.

But lately, in Southern Oregon, it has been raining. It has been raining non-stop for hours and days. In most of Western Oregon, this is not such a problem because they are used to high volumes of rain and have adapted accordingly. However, here in Southern Oregon, we are used to a much drier climate most of the time. Sure we get our precipitation, but we don’t usually get it all at once like we’ve been experiencing this last week. There are flood warnings all over the region. I’ve seen highway workers attempting to clear out the ponding of water along the freeway near the exit I use several times each day…when I’m driving kids around. It rained all night last night, and early this morning, the rain stopped. In fact, today was a beautiful day. I seriously thought about heading out for a ride.

Key word: “thought.”

I wanted to roll out, camera in hand, to take pictures of the creeks and streams in the area that are probably overflowing or nearly overflowing. From the freeway, I can see that Bear Creek is surging and angry at points. At others, I wonder if it hasn’t completely flooded the bike path. It would make for some excellent photo ops. Normally, I would have no problem heading out solo, but several concerns kept me from venturing out on two wheels this afternoon. The first reason being that I have been pretty ill with a type of food poisoning or bacterial contamination for nearly two weeks. Earlier this week, I met with my doctor, went to the hospital for some lab work and testing, and have since been prescribed a pretty high dose of antibiotics. The medicine seems to be working. I’ve had no further episodes of the Montezuma’s Revenge that characterized my life the last two weeks, but I still don’t trust it. Nothing like getting in your cycling gear, heading out, and then getting stuck needing a porta-potty when there are none to be found…for miles.

The second reason is that there have been some rather unsettling incidents on the greenway over the last year. While none of these incidents have involved cyclists, that I know of, as a lone woman with no pepper spray or concealed carry license, I’m not exactly sure I want to venture forth against the pleas of my children who worry about me when I’m out on two wheels alone. I tend to be pretty cavalier about this kind of thing, but I’m getting to the place more and more where I really do not want to tempt fate.

Finally, I’m not sure what I would have encountered and I’m not sure I can trust myself to turn back when the going gets rough and it would be prudent to turn back. Had I come across water on the path, I know I would have photographed it, but then I would also have tried to figure a way to cross it. Going through water like that on bike is, at best, stupid since you can’t see what is under the surface and you can easily hurt yourself if you hit something hidden below. Worse, you could really screw up your bike. No one, especially me, with the minimal wrench knowledge that I have, likes to be stuck out on a ride have to phone home for help or, worse, walk it back.

Today, against my more adventurous spirit, I stayed home and played it safe. I hear the accusation, “Chicken!” reverberating in my head. I’m regretting the decision to play it safe. After all, as my own children tell me, “YOLO.” You only live once. I think the adventure would have done me good. I think the pictures would have been fantastic. Getting out on my bike after almost a month of sickness? Priceless.

Next time, I’ll make a different choice. I really would like to be telling a different story right now.

“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.” ― Søren Kierkegaard


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Hi, I'm Cat A.Olson, @According2Cat on Twitter, or @TheDigitalCat on Instagram, and I write about my cycling adventures. In 2010, after 25 years off the bike, I decided to get a bike and start riding again. In 2012, I was diagnosed with DCIS, an early and completely curable form of breast cancer. I had five weeks of radiation treatment and I rode my bike to nearly every treatment. In 2013, I decided to get a faster bike. I'm finally getting serious about losing weight, and riding really fast with the cool kids.

I ride every chance I get, as fast as I can, for as long as my body will allow. I'm learning how to embrace challenges like helmet hair, padded pants, clipless shoes, flat tires, bugs in my teeth, and...ugh...hills. I'm learning that both cycling and life are easier and a lot more fun when you're in the right gear.

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