9.29.2014

Robert Lighthouse... Major Lawrence always tried to get me to see Robert Lighthouse... and that was decades ago... finally saw Robert Lighthouse



I never saw this shot... I did not get the memo that we were supposed to wear our Folklife t-shirt... I thought it looked like a Gap shirt so it never made it high in my rotation... I think Holland got bounce from the World Cup the day prior... so I am wearing my Dutch orange t-shirt


some photos from a party after the 2014 Folklife Festival

Battle of Bethesda? I thought it happened in the McDonald's Parking lot!


photos from the JBOMB


I did not take a photo of every child that passed
but I did take a lot of photos
threw those images on the Gwadzilla Facebook Page

and some mention of the JBOMB previous years

my brother Marc won his age category at the Head of the Potomac... I searched for results online this morning... but had to wait for information to filter through Facebook


row row row your boat would explain why you were not racing the first MABRA Cyclocross race of the season

Marc on the Gwadzilla Page

brother brings up some randomness that is... oh
I always say that
but really... there are some words on this tangent worth chasing

Police CRACK DOWN on Bicycles on the sidewalk... etc.

Washington City Paper Article about Police ticketing cyclist
http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/

Don't Get Me Started!
oh... you already did...
ticketing bicyclists?
who is the genius behind this...

lets start with the cars and then go down the line...
really...
who put in the complaint?
a pedestrian? one of those suit or skirt cell phone wielding jaywalkers
one of those penny loafer wearing terrorists

or was it one of those Nascar wanna bes?
one of those car drivers with their 0-60 in seconds flat accelerators?
one of those eco-terrorists with their AC cranked and their windows up
GPS system talking to them like a modern day hover parent

oh...
those car drivers with their high end vehicles
the capacity to go well over a hundred miles per hour but tend to do most of their driving in a 25-35 MPH Zone
those machines that comfortably seat four but tend to be occupied by one
was it one those people

who was it?
and why?
what is their objective?
are they trying to make the streets more safe
or are they just responding to a squeaky wheel?

THE BICYCLE AND THE LETTER OF THE LAW!
that is a notion that cracks me up
WHY DOES THE BICYCLE HAVE TO ADHERE TO THE LETTER OF THE LAW... BUT THE REST OF SOCIETY CAN DO WHATEVER THE FUCK THEY WANT?!?!??!?

enough on this...
my words on this blog mean nothing



Halloween Themed DC Bike Party!


harsh reality slaps me in the face riding the trails at Bike Bear Lake in West Virginia


one of my life's greatest joys is riding my bike with my boys
yes... I love riding and racing mountain bikes
but I find great joy in dropping my pace and pedaling with my kids
although I do not let them drop their pace
which has me pushing them all the time

yes... sometimes I may inadvertently push them too hard
by the nature of riding with both of my boys there is the risk for failure
Dean is 13 and Grant is 10
although Grant is strong on the bike for a ten year old... it would not be fair to expect him to keep pace with a 13 year old boy
especially his 13 year old brother Dean... a young boy who is able to ride his single speed mountain bike at an adult pace

the discrepancy in the ages and the varying skill level is something that I have tried to balance from their humble bicycling beginnings
always knowing that there is the potential issue where the three of us are riding together has my older son uncomfortably forced to slow down or wait
while my younger son is forced to push his pace and not permitted to stop as much as he may feel he must


they have managed...
it has not been without issue
but they have managed

during the period where I was working part time I ran a system where I would drop the kids off at school with their bikes
then instead of picking them up from school
I would ride my bike to their school and we would ride our bikes home together
usually making the route longer than the most straight\direct route

oh man...
there would be fights
each boy wanting to lead
me trying to be fair
but more than likely favoring the whine of my younger boy

it is troublesome... something that I scripted
in an effort to be fair
in an effort not to leave anyone out
I have ended up making an awkward situation for all parties involved

even with the best intentions 
often I get frustrated\grumpy\angry
while each of the boys gets frustrated\grumpy\angry
and this did not start with our mountain biking together
even our urban rides have had their moments of youth rebellion

I can remember riding down to the museums
it was always a party heading downtown
but heading back at the end of the day
not only is it the end of the day
but it is also all uphill headed home
man... the number of times that Grant threw his bike down and took a stance that he would pedal no more
well... I think I could count how many rides we did like that
and well... that would be the number of times that he revolted or at least complained


youth events tend to go pretty well
the kid bicycle events usually separate the kids by different age groups
which is good
so rather than having the boys compared to each other
they get to line up and get compared to other kids their own ages


the boys are strong... they always make me proud
there is a good chance that they are not as strong on the bike as they once were
not to get too deep into it
but all the bitching and moaning that the boys go through when I try to rally them for a ride
well... it wore me down
they won... well... actually... they lost
I no longer have the strength to fight them
their resistance go their way

sadly... kids do not know what is best for them
they only know what they want
and
it would be best for them to listen to their father
but alas no... that is not the nature of the relationship

so... we ride far less frequently together than I would like
but this is not the point
this is not the direction I intended this post to go


BACK ON TASK
BACK ON POINT!

oh yes... the MORE Fall Camping Trip
that was supposed to be the center of this rant
the MORE camping trip and my effort to take a 10 year old on a the Big Bear Race Loop aka the Yellow Trail

this weekend past I went on the MORE Fall Camping Trip
this has become a seasonal highlight for me and the boys each fall
so much fun that I have accepted that the boys will miss soccer and I will not be able to coach my younger son's team
I feel the experience of camping and riding their bikes in the mountains is as valuable as any "rec" soccer game

FLASH FORWARD\FLASHBACK!

jump to Saturday post breakfast
we are at the campground at Bike Bear Lake in West Virginia
everyone is suited up and all jittery
everyone is all hopped up on coffee and ready to rock and roll
I gather with some of the SMORES ride coordinators to see what they were thinking

there had been talk of three rides of varying skills
but when I meet up with Jason Miller and Eric Crawford it is sounding more like one large SMORES ride and me and my boys doing our own thing... which is fine

we start off with the kids...
out of the campground, into the woods, and onto the trail
not even a half mile into the ride I stop in the shade before the "pumptrack\jump lines"
we wait... kids are collecting... we wait some more
more waiting

kids are getting anxious
some kids in the front ask if they can ride the jumps and come back
I sent them forward... they leave off
then every kid who arrives just rolls right by me

it is madness... it is like herding cats

but... I still think that all the kids are going to the other side of this open section and then turning back
then Jason Miller rolls up and tells me that my dog Didg did not see me go ahead and has gone back to the campground looking for me
so... I turn it around
I head back to locate the dog

at the campground I give a whistle and a hoot and I hear the jingle of my dog's collar
then back into the woods and I am in chase mode
trying to catch the kids
at the dam I see kids and adults
I ask where my kids have gone
people think that they are in a breakaway group on the black trail
but there is no definitive answer
I continue to chase

in the woods I run into Eric Crawford and Todd Bauer's son Johnny... but still no sight of my boys
so I continue on... then 100 yards or so forward I run into my boys and another kid from the SMORES group Calvin
Calvin wants to go with the other group... so I send him backtracking

here is where the story starts...

I am on the Black trail in the woods not far from the actual Big Bear Lake
it is Dean, Grant, Didg, and myself
things are already moderately technical and we have not even gotten to the Yellow Loop yet
the boys are each picking solid lines
Didg is as excited as everyone else to be covering some ground in the woods
and I am stoked to be in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia

the trail is tough
not only is the trail tough... Grant's shock is frozen in the compressed position
so... young Grant is riding rigid
RIGID IN BY GOD WEST VIRGINIA
THAT IS HARDCORE! 

it is not long into our ride and Grant is starting to wain
we slow... we wait... Grant catches up
Dean and I roll forward... Grant falls back
we stop... we collect
Grant is not having fun

things are discussed... I am chastised for not giving Grant a choice on what to do
Grant would have preferred to ride with the other group

so... I have Dean hold the dog and Grant and I start to see if we can back track and catch the other group
100 yards down the trail and Grant stops his bike then turns back to me... "lets do this... I can muscle through this"

ah... that is my little trooper
that is the never say whatever attitude that I was looking for
so... we turn it around and roll back up on Dean
we approach things a little differently

I put Grant in the lead position... Dean and I stay back... we give Grant a head start
this seems like a better plan
it is so defeating mentally to be the caboose
it feels so much better to be up front as the engine

we continue this cat and mouse game
slowing and stopping for the dog to get some water and the boys to catch their breath
then I send Grant ahead and Dean and I wait back
this continues for a bit
then we run into Bike Lane's Lynne Grasso and her daughter
by this time the we are on the Yellow Trail and it has gone from kinda rocky to all rocks all the time
ride-able... but no flow... noting free... nothing easy

Lynne and her teenage daughter are turning back... 
actually... she has the map out and is trying to establish which way would be the most immediate route home
I was confident that our approach was the quickest way back
then I turn to Grant offering him an escape route
it is the rational thing to do
it is what is best for Grant
it is also what is best for Dean

this trail did a good job in showing the discrepancy in their ages and the difference in their strength and skill
this is not viewed as quitting
this is viewed as playing it smart

I thank Lynne... Grant tears back to camp in record time


Dean and I muscle our single speeds up a gradual technical climb
it gets hard and then gets harder
then there is some hike-a-bike
and then it keeps going up
not a sustained climb
but a difficult slog
Dean and I dismount and push our single speeds up the hill

I am pleased that Grant went back when he did
it was the right decision
it was a mismatch to bring these boys onto this trail together
Rosaryville... Schaeffer Farms... Wakefield... the flowing trails there is less to show the difference between a strong 10 year old and a strong 13 year old

the trails of West Virginia will separate the men from the boys


but what are my best options...
I guess separation is the best option
well... some days together... other days apart 
in these group ride scenarios I will have to make that painful Sofie's Choice
I will ride with one and send the other off with an alternate group


growing pains
growing pains for a father who wants the best for his kids
a father who wants to push his kids
and also wants to be there to support his kids and to have fun with his kids

I love riding with my boys
but... I think we need to sort out this varying intensity thing
Dean gets less out of the rides with we have Grant in the mix
but if Grant is left out... then Grant gets nothing out of the ride

what to do? what do do?



9.28.2014

it is great to have an EMT on the race site... it is better not to need one!


Chris Barnes at Wakefield
snapping shots of the young racers
and on hand incase someone takes a spill
or worse
as I have shown... bicycles are not only fun
but there can be some danger and some injury

I sure could have used Chris when I crashed my bike in Asheville
it still creeps me out when I think of dislocating my elbow



waiting for Grant in the woods at Wakefield...


we waited in a spot that was not used on the race today...
I get it... it all looks pretty similar
roots... turns... trees... washed out section... man made boardwalk
it is awesome
we caught the racers
missed some photo ops
but got these selfies as we chill laxed

Dean had just finished his race... he killed it
good weekend for my boy
two goals in soccer yesterday
and then winning his age category and overall for the juniors

good stuff
he deserves to feel good about himself
he worked hard
it paid off



JBOMB... sadly no longer a junior series... but still a fantastic day for the kids on the bikes


Dean and Grant rocking Wakefield at the JBOMB
I am a big fan of the JBOMB
sad to see the JBOMB go from a series to a single day
yet.. I am STOKED to have taken my boys to the JBOMB



those boys attacked the course
each of them raced for the hole shot
won the hole shot
was the first bike leading into the singletrack

each of them holding off the racers behind them and gaining and passing racers from previous categories in front of them

good day for my boys
good day for dad

proud poppa


thanks Pat\Julie and all the volunteers with Trails for Youth
great day
so many happy faces
so many young people developing a love for the bicycle
and the bicycle in its greatest incarnation
as the mountain bike

trails for youth part of the local mountain bike scene for YEARS!
http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com/search?q=trails+for+youth



what is this I hear of Tim Faia?


riding his bike?
that guy has been riding his bike for as long as I have known him
and well... that is a long time
he has always been fast
and I was... well... I have always been me

close enough to ride his bike to the nationals... well... almost

image from Mad Alchemy

tim faia


this is no Polish Joke!


Michal Mwiakowski wins the elite men's world championship


have you seen these guys... they are suspects in a Mount Pleasant burglary

the police have video
this image is circulating
if you see these guys poking around acting in a way that you view as suspicious
go with your gut

too much crime in our neighborhood
my house has been broken into
my car... electronics... bicycles have been stolen
we need to prevent further crimes

lock your doors
watch your back
and alert the police to suspicious behavior
and be careful

I like her intensity...


cool look

gold letters with sage words on his bike... I can not remember the words or the authors...


small town... I bet I will run into him again


on my short straight ride into work.... I need to get up earlier... walk the dog earlier... and ride my bike for a longer duration before work... even 45 minutes is better than 15


Stickerless Surly on Pennsylvania Avenue
cruising down the bike lanes down the center of Pennsylvania Avenue
an area that was once a no man's land between the moving traffic
an area that was once trolley tracks in a time when there were Trolleys in Washington DC

Trolley




waiting for the light to change... waiting to cross the street... why not wait on the sidewalk... you are not blocking traffic... but you it would make more sense to wait safely just a few feet to the side


there are many cyclists on the street
many of which whose actions irk me as much as they irk the car drivers
this woman's behavior did not bother me so much
yet... I can see that it lacks logic and reason

she would be more safe and less in people's way if she just waited for the walk signal from the sidewalk rather than parking in the street


across the street from the White House




I did not "almost hit you" and yes "saying ""excuse me"" does give me a right to pass your... your response to my presence is not within my control... I do not decide if you get spooked or not

yesterday I was taking the straight route home
battling a cold, not having any approaching race ambitions, and just feeling lazy has kept me from doing anything more than the most direct pedal home this week
yesterday was wednesday... which has me in a rush to get home so I can load up my car with kid and soccer gear and head off to coach my son's U11 rec league soccer 

so...
out of my office down on the National Mall... a few blocks to Pennsylvania Avenue\Main Street USA and then through the park by the White House and onto the separated bike lanes on 15th Street
well.. actually during rush hour... I often just keep to the streets
the bicycle traffic in the bike lanes can be slow going
so... I take it to the streets

up 15th... then somewhere before U Street I take a left down a beautiful block lined with historic rowhouses
then up 16th on the road for a few blocks
where the fast moving traffic has me pedaling for cover on the sidewalk
as I point toward the handicap ramp on the corner I give the pedestrian a heads up with a friendly... "excuse me... on your left" as I roll up the handicap ramp
to which I hear a simple and clear "F_ck You."

me being me... I can not let this slide

I roll back and ask him what his problem is... he of course says, "you almost hit me"
well... almost hitting someone is like almost pregnant... there is no real almost... either it happened or it did not
I did not almost do anything
sure... I may have come close to him... but I did not brush against him
and I most certainly did not "almost hit him" because hitting him would cause me to crash
and well... I most certainly do not want to crash
so... "almost" may not be the best word usage... but... "f_ck you" is not the best way to articulate yourself either

so... we have this attempt at a conversation...
he is walking and I dropping the F bomb more than I deserve
I am amused
but really... I am confused
did my action really merit this attack
and...
I turned around... not that I want to fight him... but does he not realize that "F-You" is an invite for a fight

it goes back and forth... he says "have a nice day" but he does not mean it
I turn around and say that I accept his "have an nice day" sarcastic or not
he of course drops another F Bomb

I head for home... I do not have time for this guy
it is not clear what his objective is
but I have no need for him and his inability to have a civil exchange with me
I get his frustration... I HATE BEING BUZZED BY A BIKE
but... I did not buzz him... and I was trying to be polite


that guy has an ANTI-BIKE CHIP ON HIS SHOULDER
my action only had a small contribution... the issue is in his head and not in the world around him

enough on this guy

DC Critical Mass Rides... LAST FRIDAY OF EVERY MONTH... MEET\GATHER\COLLECT and take off from Dupont Circle


Dave aka DJ Fanthom
search for Dave on the Gwadzilla page
you may find more what you are looking for if you chase this link
DJ on the Gwadzilla Page


the current photos are cool... but as the images age
they become even more cool
search the Gwadzilla page with the search box in the upper left hand corner
it is really random at times
but can often entertain


this is a great example... I search for "mess" on the Gwadzilla page
yes... random... yet totally entertaining
why mess?
well... sometimes Critical Mass is a Critical Mess


years ago DC did not have Critical Mass rides... instead... there were Solidarity Rides
an effort to avoid the aggressive stigma of the Critical Mass Culture
these rides work better when riders give surrounding smiles rather than the finger
although I get the whole car versus bike thing
I have been riding a long time and have spit on more cars and given more people the finger than I would like to admit
if you only go to two links

the pre-ride and the post-ride can be as much of the event as the ride itself



time well spent... just one of DC's many "social rides"
I never thought I would get pleasure attending a "social ride"
at first I was drawn as an opportunity to capture the cycling culture with my camera
but now...
I look forward to these rides to get together with friends and take a ride 

riding bikes with friends is fun
making new bicycle riding friends is cool