Night Ride at Patapsco State Park

Ouch. I am sore. My shins are feeling the pain of the pedals. The first crash of the evening was clearly my worst, but the others add up nicely to give my body a morning stiffness; get your head out of the gutter! Not that kind of morning stiffness! Asprin and Advil are just a thought away.
By Dave's choice we opted to take the Single Speeds up to Patapsco State Park. We made the night drive in my '84 Landcruiser without any traffic and pulled into the Park and Ride after a painless 35 minute drive. Once in the lot we suited up and soaked in night. It was pleasantly cooler outside of DC. The moon was just a sliver of a fingernail. The sky had a glorious orangish glow, and the parking lot had a scattering of cars with all sorts of people doing odd park and ride things. Young couples? Adultrous affairs? Crackhead getting high? junkie getting his fix? who knows? All I know is that they are there at the Park and Ride and not at home! These freaks wig me out! With our lights on our helmets and our feet clipped into our pedals we headed for the woods. Having not ridden these trails in a year or two I was in for a bit of a surprise. The trails have changed, and not for the better. There are more options, more unneccessary options. The erosion from man and nature had altered the settings. The trails were widder and more conveluted. The impact of the trail use is obvious and nothing shy of brutal. As we got deeper into the woods the trails became more narrow/less abused, but then there would be open sections where single track had turned into the land of a thousand options. Large nasty openings where various puddles and divots crisscrossed and no vegetation could survive. There were man made obstacles for freeriders; log crossings, stacked log barriers, and long logs with log staircases leading up to them. It is tough. Such a great trail so close to the city. The user traffic on these trails is beyond that of any trail I have ever encountered, even Schaffer Farms in Gathersberg. This is clearly a set of trails that could use some serious TLC. maybe a bandaid with that MORE signature. A few wooded bridges over and through some of the bogs, directing traffic so that things to do not hit a point of no return.

The trail on the ridge was tight and narrow single track which put a smile on my face. The trails are surrounded by beautiful old growth hardwoods, but no time to take in the scenery. Just time to ride. Too much time starring into the glowing eyes on the trail side and I would surely be riding off trail and over the handlebars. We looped and turned, were forced to dismount for a few climbs. We regrouped as each of us had the pleasure of alternating crashes. My years of experiece, heightened fitness, and 29 inch wheels kept me ahead of Dave, stopping periodically, always pleased that he was not far behind, but always a tad frustrated that I had to stop at all. Thus is riding. There are those riders who have to wait for me, just my turn to return the favor. I lead and broke through countless spider webs. The stream crossings were clear and cold. On one stream crossing I ran over what looked like a snake or a fresh water eel. The sounds of the nearby train, the rumble of the trucks on 95 in the distance, and the music in the distance were all subtle and spooky enough to give night riding at patapsco that Blair Witch feel. Then looping back and running the same circle twice increased that Blair Witch spookiness. When passing the old abandoned houses we passed quickly and cautiously.

My unfamiliarity with the trails caused us to just scratch the surface. We managed to loop around doing pretty much the same set of trails up and back, with a reapeat of some of the loop in the middle. Which all turned out okay as when we started to head back I could estimate that when we get back to the car we would have ridden just under 2 hours. Ontop of that as we loaded the bikes into the back of the truck I could feel that my rear tire was losing air. We got out of the trail just in time. By the time we were back in DC my rear end was flat, complete loss of air.

We got back around 1am. Right on target with Dave's estimate to his pregnant wife Anna. I returned home to a long tall glass of water, some left over Pad Thai noodle, and a night cap. Took a shower, watched some tube, before climbing into bed I pryed Grant off Lisa's chest. Both asleep from the last feeding, took Grant to his crib upstairs and climbed into bed. My body was sore. Sleep felt good. The morning came on too fast.

Now it is time to move that wood!

Gotta roll!

more on this later
I need to figure out this wood thing
and get into work
I may have switched shifts, but I am not taking the day off!

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