last night

last night after a frustrating day at work I really felt that I could use an aggressive spin on the bike
when the quitting time whistle blew I was into the supply closed where I go through my not so superhero transformation
computer guy morphs into COMMUTER GUY!
far more clothing is changed than letters in two characters names

out the front door with red lights blinking and the headlamp off as the daylight remains later these days
not sure where to go as I followed the flow of traffic down M Street into Georgetown
the usual hassles with arrogant and ignorant drivers muscling me about with their engines reving... all rushing to the next red light
with the red lights in front of me I am able to leave the car commuters behind and sprint ahead onto an oddly carless M Street only to make a quick decision to take the Capitol Crescent Trail to Bethesda and back....

as I pedaled down K Street under Whitehurst Freeway I could see a few cyclists ahead
no need to change pace
my current pace reeled them all in
squishy tires from the days of the snow covered streets creating drag
while the once dirt only knobbies whistle away
passed the first cyclist with a friendly nod from within my balacava
then when I caught the second we fought the wind along side each other and shared our frustration with the wind and the cold
my will was weak
with my house in the opposite direction I found my ambition to ride head on into the wind and the cold to be rather defeating
yet I pushed forward
only to crumble to the lack of desire
the wind did not let up... so I let up
with my speed dropping I re-evaluated my course
sure enough
the shelter of the trees and the feeling of dirt seemed far more attractive than a bicycle path spin
the second cyclist that I just past passed me as I prepared to take the exit to the right
so I went through a crusty old tunnel with moist walls that goes underneith the C&O Canal

in seconds my attitude was reformed
just as I had suspected the wind and the cold had dried the trails
the trees offered shelter from the wind which made it less cold
sure there were a few patches of wet earth
but I had to get cross town and this seemed like the most healthy option
the urban trails are short stretches of wooded territory
broken up by streets only to begin again on the other side of the road
the path through the woods is a well worn overly tracked out path
less than technical
but car free and pretty much wind free

and car free sounds pretty good to me.... just crossing the streets is a reminder of the car driver's lack of respect for human life.... even their own

on this day I encountered very few people
there were maybe 8 or 9 people.... 6 or 7 with their leashless dogs
my efforts to be polite to the dogs and their owners was apprecitate by some and ignored by others
three of the dogs rushed me in an attack that was more bark than bite
an elderly gentle men told me that his aggressive dog thought I was a "deer," to that I cleverly responded that my wife things that I am a "dear" as well.... he laughed and we went our separate ways
two of the dogs scurried off with their tails between their legs
in each case I remained still in one spot allowing the dog to regain composure while the owner could regain control of the dog
while the remaining dogs could not be bothered... sniffing and running about with no care for me or my bicycle
my effort to yeild and my friendly hello did not effect the behavior of the other trail users
it is clear that each and every trail user all ready has a pre suposed emotion to the cyclist on these trails

although I understand their point I can not deny myself the occassional assault on the urban trails
some of these people I have seen time and again over the past many years
each encounter as it if is the first

for the most part each encounter was moderately ambivelant
although ambivelant is less than friendly

in the end I felt that my impact on the trails was slight even if there were a few patches of mud
my impact was right down the center
not much worse than if I had been running right down the center of each puddle
while I would like to point out that most of the erosion on these trails is caused by hiker and runners, not cyclists
the trail widens as each pedestrian avoids the slick or deep mud
which in turn widens the puddle
which takes the trail from thin single track to being a sidewalk wide patch of liveless earth

it may sound like I am trying to justify my behavior
which I am not
I know the laws....
we all know the laws
each driver knows the speed limit, yet they modify that law to suit their needs
there is a hands free cell phone law in DC, yet there has been very little visible change
I feel that my actions are virtually victimless.... yes when the trails are wet there may be a slight impact, but no greater impact than is created by the average hiker or runner
add in the idea of the mountainbike taking the line straight down the middle.... the scales then balance

it was a short ride
pleasant just the same
something is always better than nothing
glad there was no incident with any hikers or authority
the face of the women with the skidish rodesian ridgeback was a tad grumpy
but.... as a dog owner and a father I understand the protective instincts
as I turned on a switchback on my last stretch of trail I thought I may have heard a voice calling out to me
the voice was not familiar and I was not feeling so lonely that I cared to turn around and make contact

it was great to get into the woods
and as always
it was great to get out on the bike

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