5.26.2008

three day weekend... a mixture of things... including some riding

a three day weekend
a three day weekend which included some riding

the riding was definitely needed to aid in burning off the excess of calories consumed in the tradition of Memorial Day Weekend
Memorial Day Weekend
much like the 4th of July is a weekend whose traditions may have been created by the Weber Grill Company in the same way that Valentines Day may have been created by either Hallmark or some sort of Florist's Union

the weekend arrived with some tentative plans to head over to my dad's house for an assortment of meat filled meals and some splashing in his backyard pool
BONUS! an additional draw to my dad's house was the visit of my cousin and his family from the mid-west
meat filled meals and a backyard pool is usually enough of an incentive
but this is a rare visit by my adult aged cousin
this is a cousin who I have not seen much of since we entered adult life
this is a cousin who I share many a memory with... memories of fishing and memories of family holidays... all sorts of memories from being a kid
now with this visit my cousin and I can build similar memories in the minds of our children

so my riding plans had to be factored around the loose plans of the family gatherings at my dad's place
while those plans had to be worked around som obligations of the kids
there was a Saturday afternoon birthday party for a kid in Dean's class
Lisa went to a wedding while I watched the boys
the birthday party was a perfect way to keep the three of us entertained

after a morning with various kids from the block playing in the backyard we evacuated
I was on foot
the boys were on their bikes
we worked the city sidewalks
stopping before each alley
stopping at each street corner
trying to be respectful of all others we encountered

I ran to keep pace with the boys
running along side of four year old Grant for portions of the trip
holding his shirt collar as we ran down hills where I feared he needed assistance stopping
at four he does well with his training wheels off... but the added variables of the people on the sidewalk can be tough for him

the party was fun for all... even me
the moon bounce had a slide and no weight limit
so I followed the international rules of the moon bounce and removed my shoes
then joined in on the party in the moon bounce and on the moon bounce slide
there was food, entertainment, that birthday song and cake, then more fun on the moon bounce
with a glance at my watch the boys were back on their bikes
mention of the party at grandpa's had them out of the moon bounce much easier than I had expected

we retraced our steps back from Adams Morgan into Mount Pleasant with a few stops
the boys demanded to stop twice
water was in my bag and the boys needed the hydrate
Bike To Work waterbottles did the trick

the family went for the first of three visits to grandpa's on this long holiday weekend
Saturday came to a close
swimming and grilling followed biking and birthday parties

earlier this week I had some email back and forth with MikeK aka CityBikesMike about riding this weekend

MikeK was looking to do a full day epic mountain bike ride
I did not think I had the time slot for a full day away from the family
MikeK was not concerned about the visit of my cousin... MikeK wanted to ride
when sunday rolled around MikeK and I had not formalized any plans
so I woke up slow without my gear packed and without a plan
there was the notion of riding... but I thought I would be heading to Rosaryville or Schaeffer Farms solo

then early Sunday morning I got the early am call
MikeK had switched his trajectory from Gambril to Patapsco
this call altered my tentative plans

MikeK knew I could not make it for the full duration but figured I could join him for part of his day in the woods
sure enough... there was the potential for me meeting up with MikeK at Patapsco State Park area just outside of Baltimore


the timing was pretty good
Lisa got back from Yoga with a bag of groceries and a smile on her face
responsibility
of the kids was passed from father to mother
then I got in my car with my bike on top and my gear in the back and headed to the highway
from the road I called MikeK to give him an estimate of my arrival to the Park and Ride side of the park

there was no significant traffic I arrived
in a flash I jumped out of my street clothes and into my DCMTB-City Bikes Red and Black
there was no camera
this was not a day for photo opportunities
this was a day for riding
so I left out of the parking lot and dropped into the woods
it was warm... which had me pleased with my choice to ride bare back
the tools, pump, and tube were in a seat pack
while fluid was in the water bottle cage
and a little fuel was in my jersey pocket along with my cell phone

with only slight confusion MikeK and I connected in the woods
there were a few phone calls
once in the woods
after an agreed obvious meeting place we connected without the passage of much time

yes... it is true... I showed up to ride with a faster more technical rider on my single speed
short travel hard tail with one gear

there was some question of my bicycle selection on the part of MikeK

then there was a reminder of my quest to buy a new bike... a squishy bike
the talk stopped and the cranks started as did the spinning of the wheels, the beating of the heart, and the gasping of my lungs


MikeK was warmed up and ready to ride
actually... MikeK may have been a little tired due to his miles already logged
but fatigue was not visible
well... not visible in MikeK's riding... but apparent in mine

MikeK lead up a path I had been on in years
things looked familiar... but things had also changed
being stronger and more familiar with the trails MikeK lead
without warm up the climb out of the gate started the suffering
but the rules of gravity apply to mountain biking as well
what goes up must also go down!
we got to flow fast and fluid down after each slow muscle up

not only did MikeK crush me on the climb
MikeK crushed me on the descent


it took a while but I managed to warm up
but... warming up did not aid so much in keeping up

my riding style is steady and slow compared to MikeK's hustle and flow
while I pick a line between the rocks MikeK is here and then gone floating over anything and everything
scoring an occasional point for style with a pretty little move here and a pretty little move there

there was not too much time wasted stopping to chat
although we did the respectful thing on each approach to other trail users
audible warnings of our approach and slow passes to the hikers
gentle audible approaches and slower passes for the families hiking
complete stops and friendly exchanges for the equestrians
on a beautiful three day weekend it is likely that all sorts of people will be out on the trails
there were all sorts of people enjoying things
we wanted to enjoy ourselves but not at the expense of others

once warmed up I was cleaning the obstacles and clearing the climbs
not with the speed or finesse of MikeK
but I was working things pretty good

MikeK's superior knowledge of the trails kept up moving efficiently
we did a pretty solid loop around the park touching on a good variety of terrain

our pace was not conversational
well... actually our paces were too different to be conversational
MikeK was working some sort of off road intervals... sprinting through sections then breaking and allowing for me to catch up

after we finished our ride I followed MikeK back into the woods
we had each parked on alternate sides of the Patapsco Valley
so I followed MikeK back into the woods and took one more ride on The Ridge Trail
it was worth it
my body and soul needed the additional time in the woods

back at the car I got back into civilian gear
started the engine and pointed straight to my dad's house
as expected
a meat filled meal off the grill and some splashing in the pool

monday morning came as sort of a surprise
everyone woke up slow as if stealing time away from the work day/school day
I sipped my coffee and hung with the boys as my window of opportunity to go mountain biking shrunk into time for a road ride
without much ambition I suited up and got on the bike
nothing more than the morning coffee and last night's midnight snack I set off on Beach Drive

did an hour twenty from Pearce Mill to the Rockville end of Jones Bridge... or whatever that road is out there behind White Flint and such

got back and gathered the family
we got in the car with the dog and headed back to my dad's
the ten minute drive doubled into a twenty minute drive as our detour took us to a yard sale I had passed on my road ride
there was a yard sale with a Zuthura board game

turns out the game was two dollars and appeared to have its pieces
the game is a hit!
we played it at my dad's with my brother's kids
then again just now before bed time

a good weekend
would have loved for another ride on dirt
would have loved to attend the RFK Crit
but... all in all it was a good weekend
time well spend
more memories created

would love to give this a read to make sure it makes sense
but I need to get some rest







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