4.11.2006

tired... feels good to be tired

got out of work a few minutes early
by a few minutes I mean a few minutes
it is nice to be on the bike and rolling when the whistle blows
feeling a tad selfish I pointed away from home on the bike
should be pedaling the recently tuned up geared Karate Monkey
instead I am on my well worn Jamis Nova cross bike
a bike with seven speed mountain chain rings on an old and tired 9 speed chain
they have been together so long that they actually get along
although it may be approaching the time to retire them both

feeling the energy of spring I looked at my watch and headed towards Great Falls on the Maryland side
there were visions of the hill dropping into the parking lot at Great Falls
maybe some hill repeats
maybe some deer feeding on the road side at sunset
after a moments calculations I knew that was an option more selfish then intended
to get home that late would merit a phone call or some advanced notice
no time for a phone call
just ride and head home

riding that energy of spring I worked through the congestion of Rush Hour traffic
tried to let it go

tried to take it out of auto pilot
tried to keep the spit in my mouth
tried to keep the hands on the bars
tried to keep my fingers to myself

not just to be civil
but to be safe
in a road rage situation the car is in a much better situation then the bike
sure, a few people got the bird
they deserved it... luckily they were just assholes and not psychopaths as no one hit the brakes and ran me down
that is always a potential next step
it is best to be avoided
need to try to think two steps ahead
need to think
this idiotic knee jerk reaction is a dangerous behavior that has to stop
my actions are not improving the car driver's behavior
these actions are just putting me at greater risk
no one walks away enlightened

I try
I am flawed
I am trying to be a better person
I am trying to be civil
I am trying not to let the uncivil behavior of others bring me down to an uncivilized level

the traffic thins as I exit M Street, past Key Bridge, onto Resivior, up the hill to MacArther Blvd
it has been too long since the last time I rode this stretch of road
I smile as I look at the water in the resivior
my mind wanders as I dream about that green space being opened to mountainbiking around the resivior
no I do not know how to spell reservior
spelling has never been a strength

riding out of the door zone towards the right side of the lane I move at a good clip
more muscle then rhythm
I am not that fit and not that strong so I am working hard for what I am doing
lucky for me there are no cyclist passing me to show how humble my efforts are
no... a few bikes coming the other way
only cars passing me as I cross from DC into Maryland
lots of expensive cars passing fast
one subaru drives behind me almost extra cautiously
then this same subaru drives along side of me
an infant looks out the window as I pace along side of them
there is a roof rack on top of the car
guess daddy is a cyclist

more expensive cars pass
a lexus passes and runs the red light
I run the red light as well
I know the light was red
not sure if they noticed
a few cars pass aggressively
as if to try and make a statement
blood boils
I say words
but I keep these words to myself
I am trying
I am not perfect
if they are so focused on me as so to read my lips
well... then they were passing fast and close only to retake the lane dangerously close
well... then they were trying to teach me a lesson
so maybe the do deserve the names I am calling them
even if these utterances are not going to aid in altering future behavior

at the historic one lane bridge I take a look at my options
the light is red
traffic is still coming
the sidewalk/bike path has just become vacant
perfect timing
a cyclist who I had passed moving parallel on the jumped on my rear wheel
as much as I hate having people drafting off me
I was confident that he would not follow me back onto the road
not due to my pace
but because I could see he was more at home on the bike path

after some confident measure I make my move
a tad sketchy from the follower's perspective
perfectly fine from mine
alhough I know that there are always risks
always re-evaluating the situation
always ready for the next false move
no feathers ruffled from on coming traffic
traffic still waiting for the green light to get onto the one lane bridge
it is all clear

as the timing at the light works out
it is my turn
no need to slow
I accelerate on the road forward and further
rolling through fast is the best move for all involved
as I look towards the bike path I see a woman running
not sure... but it looks like Chris Scott's girlfriend
she is part of the team along with Chris and many others to promote various races including the Shenandoah Mountain 100, a race that I love and I dread
it is a glance
I could be way off base
but the puzzles seem to fit
although I do not know where she lives
so that is a missing piece of the puzzle
maybe it is not chris' girlfriend
either way I saw a pretty girl running

still moving strong but already realizing I went our harder than I am worthy of at this point in my season
along with a little fatigue I got a little stressed about my lack of dirt and lack of fitness
not because I have great expectations of my level of performance
no... because I know it is more fun to race when I am not in pain the whole time
in pain for some of the time is okay... but wishing for a race to end is not the most fun way to race

a glance at my watch and I return to the calculations of my turn around point
it looks like Great Falls would be too far.... well... it might fit
either way.... the excuse is good enough for me to move to the C&O Canal at Brickyard Road for my turn around
it was a good choice
able to drop the speed a bit
able to fatigue my upper body a tad with the hard packed gravel base benieth me
more stress about races to come
already fearing my arms and hands not being ready for the demands of racing
why do I stress?
for the same reason the dog chases the cat
nature
it is my nature to stress and complain

the canal back was worry free
a number of cyclist moved in the direction against me
some familiar faces, forms, and bicycles
in no time at all miles were behind me and I was on the Capitol Crescent Trail back towards Georgetown
there was a brief moment where an old man in retro gear jumped on my rear wheel after a friendly pass
I slowed, I slowed, I slowed
he did not pass
rather than stopping I started back up to speed
not looking to try and fail to shake a many who got his Fuji with a discount from AARP I turn around as we are about to reach speed
do not draft
it is drafting in a race
it is tailgating on the path
give me some space
thank you

he agrees
he gives me some space
he drops it a gear and pulls ahead
I am not sure
but I do not go for what could be a challenge
no desire to play cat and mouse

his pace was good enough for me to drift behind him 10 or 20 feet

the trail fed onto K Street
I made a pass and left him behind
not because of my great speed
more than likely he was looking to turn it around

from K Street onto the bike path of Rock Creek Park
some very familiar asphalt
there are spring time trail users doing ignorant trail user things
dogs on leashes crossing the trail
people walking 5 a breast looking straight down at their feet
cars doubling the speed limit on the street four lanes wide just to my right

just before the tunnel the path gets thin as it crosses over the creek
it is essentially a one lane bike path
I yeild for the two very slow joggers that are on the bridge as I approach
impatiently I mouth to myself... come on.... come on..... come on as I stomp me feet
they thank me for waiting
I feel like a jerk for my impatience
I am a nearly halfway across the bridge when an idiot trail user enters the bridge
my defused anger returns
it is not hard for me to get frustrated with interacting with people at times
I keep pace
he hardly moves to the side as I zip past
I mention something about a one lane bridge as I pass
I am sure he did not hear me

through the tunnel rather than left on the path
in the classic urban asshole way a car honks at me while I ride the sidewalk through the tunnel
wanting to give them the finger
but
not wanting to slam into the tile wall that is inches to my side
man... I wanted to give them the finger
no.... it would not of helped
but it is what i wanted to do

up porter
the sidewalk is packed
up on the road
not too far to the right
almost the middle of the lane
if people are going to pass... they need to pass in the other lane

a car comes down the hill and passes fast and close
too close
I feel the wind at my side
they come in close after they pass
as I roll towards the climb I give them the finger
I just hold it there
if they are looking at me
they see that I am giving them the finger

as I climb the hill I see they are stuck at the light
as much as I want to show them that their high speed was ineffieient
I am more in hope that they get a green
no desire to make contact
already regretting giving the bird
when will I learn
as I pass I see it is a woman
that offers some relief
I roll past without eye contact or any more gesturing

home
into the basement
I hang with the kids while lisa walks the dogs
right towards home

was not out as long as I had wanted to be
but back in time before I turned into a pumpkin

4 comments:

gwadzilla said...

again....

gewilli said...

one of the best GD reads out there...

ya readin my mind...

damn fine shiz g... damn fine shiz

random said...

a wise man once said to me "you have to calm down tim, a car is the best weapon."

Martino said...

Great prose. Wow! Thank you!