6.04.2004

Night Ride Cabin John Park
Adult life is getting in the way of some of my vital simple pleasures, ie. riding on dirt. I had not been on dirt since the 12 Hours of Lodi Farms, the two weekends prior were spent in the back yard on my deck project, for all those hours of work I have one board hung! Correction, after last night, I now have two boards hung. At this rate the deck will be ready for Dean's college graduation party, that is if and only if Dean decides to take a few years off between high school and college to work and travel. Otherwise we may not want to commit to a completed deck for entertainment until Grant's college graduation. Grant does seem advanced for 3 months, as he is not walking or talking at this point it is tough to anticipate if he will be shooting for an acedemic or athletic scholarship. This weekend will be sans deck project and sans riding, as I am going to get to play Mr. Mom while lisa heads up to Syracuse with a cast of friends from college, wish me luck.

Last night I double booked myself, after work I went straight home on my bicycle and climbed into bed for a 30 minute siesta. Once rested I got out of bed I was greeted by lisa's college buddy chris and then the dogs....by the excitement of the dogs I could see that hellos had to be short as the dogs needed to be walked. I grabbed a can of Red Bull and the leashes then headed to the woods. After the hike my heart rate was up and the sleep had been brushed clean from my eyes, I was ready for work. No time for socializing, it was straight to the backyard for some deck work. After much measuring, very little cutting, and some very minor hammering, I finally got that second board hung, and right on time. There was just enough time to stow away the tools and grab my bike and bike gear to meet a different Chris for a quick night assualt on Cabin John.

Being the hypocrite that I am I sped off in my gas guzzling truck towards the trails, a cell phone in hand would have completed the hypocritical equation. A few minutes down the road and I took back my speed as I realized I was going to be a few minutes late either way, getting all jazzed up and crashing my truck would not get me their any faster. Upon arrival Chris, who we will refer to as Redlack from here on out, was waiting patiently in his car. His gear was on, his bike was pointed towards the trail, and his lights were ready to be ignited. We exchanged pleasantries, Redlack updated me to his last two weekends of racing as I stripped down to my birthday suit and jumped into my skin tight gear. We checked our watches, mounted our bikes, turned on our lights, and headed off into the woods.

Redlack and I are very similar in cycling speed. While he may be a tad more technical, I may be a tad faster...so the scales balance out pretty even. But on this course Redlack has a significant advantage....he knows every inch of this trail! Redlack guides the bike around each bend like he is steering a motorcross bike, it is graceful to see him glide away into the distance as I huff and puff around each corner in a stiff mechanical fashion. Eventually Redlack decides to let me lead, he does not want to take the fun out of the evening....no reason for him to dust me on his home course, that would be too easy, we came out to ride together not to race each other. So with me in the front we move at a healthy yet more moderate pace and have a pleasant verbal exchange. As I pedal the 29 inch wheeled Karate Monkey around these not so technical trails up the roller coaster climbs and down the roller coaster descents my mind is still focused on the deck. I am panning through each stage of the build, trying to solve builders puzzles, while congratulating myself for the simple puzzles already solved. This distraction is difficult to break, it is hard for me to get my mind into the moment. We are riding and riding hard, but my mind is not entirely there. My legs and lungs are working the bike, the cranks are spinning at a healthy rate, all the while my mind is on the deck project instead of the trail in front of me. Thus causing me to choose an ineffcient ugly set of lines and a few unnneccessary crashes. Nothing too dangerous or too foolish, but I do take some turns down the less beaten trails having to backtrack to get the main trail and one of those crashes has left my 'bum' a tad sore. Once in a better rhythm Redlack and I start to play a little cat and mouse, it is clear that he is giving me some space ahead at certain points so he can scream down the descents....when he passes me I then exchange the favor at the next climb, while he rests his legs from the spin class that he finished earlier that evening, I am forced to spin my single speed up the climbs rather than muscling it up at a slow painful speed. After a short while we have run several loops within the lollipop and are going to take the stick back to the cars at the trailhead. (imaging a lollipop, that is the map of this trail ((and others)), there is a long straight section that winds through the woods and ends at a circular loop, thus the lollipop reference...got it? good.) Redlack takes the lead on the way back, I am being introduced to a variety of different trail options that I have never seen before and never knew existed, some of them appear valueable for the future, but I am confident that they will also get me lost. We pop out of the woods to cross the street, I am completely disoriented, Redlack leads....we pop back into the woods, then back to the familiar trails. The cat and mouse game continues, Redlack leading all the way back to the cars.

After our trip through the woods I change back into my street gear and we chat as we load up our cars. Our duration in the woods was just shy of an hour 30, not quite the workout I was looking for. But we each were feeling tired from the events of the day prior and it was rapidly approaching my bedtime. With a full moon ahead we talk about life and politics then each get into our cars and head home. It was a good ride, we left making plans to try and make this weekday night ride a more regular event. Perhaps Patapsco State Park next Wednesday, weather pending.

With the 24 Hours of Snowshoe just weeks away I can see that I am in deep need of some longer hours on the bike. All of these short rides do add up, but there needs to be some longer rides or else my body will not be able to handle the endurance aspect of the 24 hour event. Maybe I will have to dig out the road bike, or maybe swap out the TUBULAR CLINCHERS on the cross bike and do a few hours on that machine a few nights after the boys have all gone to sleep. It would be good for the body and good for the soul!

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