3.25.2006

saturday... this saturday... today

this morning neither lisa nor myself made it to yoga
we are out of our routine
it is tough to get the rhythm back
it is time to get back into the rhythm
it is time to get back into yoga

we took the dogs and the boys for a hike in Rock Creek that we do not usually hit
well, we do this hike with the dogs individually
not normally together
not normally with the kids
but, the trailhead to this section of woods is a hike from the house
a hike that is beyond the current span of our children's endurance
there are more logical loops that offer as much earlier on the hike
without demanding that I carry everyone back on my shoulders

while on the trails I was admiring how packed and dry the earth was beneith my feet
the air was also warm and dry
as I walked the path I imagined differed trails in the area that I would really love to rolling on at that exact moment
the thought of shaffer was more appealing to my mood than gambril
although gambril started to sound pretty nice
knew it would not happen, both 29ers are at the shop and well... not sure if my old Rocky Mountain Blizzard is currently trail worthy
accepted something I had already plotted
my riding would be on the road for another week or so

we walked forward
neither boy moving at their sometime olympic pace
I drifted back to the moment and tried to get the boys to pick up the pace
a few quick steps and grant was demanding that I put him on my shoulders
this is often the case with a 2 year old
one day they walk miles the next they refuse to walk a few feet
on this day grant got a free ride up the climbs and motored at a mind boggling pace for a child who just past his second birthday

the temperature and the state of the trail had me yearning for some off road riding
knowing it was not an option I tried to get psyched to take the boys out in the burley trailer
thoughts of an hour and a half pulling the trailer
looping back on the mall for various monuments and the kite flying festival
maybe try to occestrate some monument photos with the kids

I proposed this to the boys
grant was game
dean was not
this was fine with me
less weight.... nearly fifty pounds less weight

we finished our hike
the boys doing much better with being on their feet as we backtracked
the dogs had been able to chase a few squirels and splash in the creek
we returned to the car for some saturday afternoon errands

the errands took us to the post office and a bagel store that is closed for business
without food everyone was irratable
we drove with four passagers each whinning until we arrived at a park in georgetown
we arrive just as my brother and his sons left
they had a noon children's birthday party
our hike did not free us up in time for much more than crossing paths
the cousins were all excited to see each other
cousins is a special relationship similiar to that of siblings
maybe with less fighing... or so we will see

the park offered much entertainment
kept everyone distracted from their hunger for some time
we left before anyone got irratable
home for lunch momma lisa made up an assortment of stuff for the boys
while I had some cereal
as we wound up eating lunch I started to try and get the boys hyped
thinking I could sell dean on the trailer
no dice rock slice
dean was not up for the trailer
which was fine... it is good to get some one on one with grant
even if he becomes sleeping dead weight 10 minutes into my heavily weighted pull
before dean could get loud and bossy about not wanting to go
I said that it was fine
he could either go in the trailer or go shopping with mommy
in an almost smarmy way he said he would go shopping with mommy

grant in hearing this decided to swap options
grant was abandoning the trailer option for shopping with mommy
my ride just dropped another 30 pounds in child and 30 pounds in trailer
it also altered my duration of potential ride time

I only had the time lisa would be out at the store... and then some
that time is a variable
a variable of an unknown that would not be determined until after the ride
then I would know if I rode too long or if I could have ridden longer

lisa packed up the car with boys
I rushed downstairs and put on some gear
knowing I did not have much time
it was time to maximize my window of opportunity
like batman down the batpole and out of the bat cave
I was in black tights heading out of my basement and into the alley with a bike over my shoulder

down park road
out of mount pleasant
down rock creek parkway/beach drive
then through the gate onto the closed section of beach drive
closed to car traffic
open to recreation traffic

there was plenty of traffic
dogs on leashes
kids on scooters
parents helmetless riding along side of their helmeted children still riding with training wheels
coming the opposite direction can an long list of road riders
no familiar faces
but lots of nice bikes
many older gentlemen maintaining a good pace
as each rider comes at me and passes I try to imagine how far they road
what paths they took
where they will end up

ahead there is a petite rider moving at a pace similar to mine
I fight the desire to catch this ride
as I am trying to stay in the saddle and just spin
no muscle
no burn
just pedal.... not not long enough to qualify for LSD (long slow distance)
but something of that idea
my riding is not so much a science of training
just sort of rides I do and have done

as I settle in on a pace the rider pulls a little further ahead
at last glance I decide that this rider is female
as the road curved the small female road rider drifted out of sight

there were points where I got a little closer to the same female road cyclist
but I fought the urge to pick up the pace and tried to focus on spinning
and if not spinning
riding with more rotation than muscle
which means riding a gear or two easier than I would normally be pushing

the wind was in my face
in my mind I tried to plot my course and estimate my time
the four or five hour road ride is not really my thing
my numbers were more trying to figure and hour and a half to three
knowing when I start the mental debate the number three would immediately be tossed aside

more road cyclist came the opposite direction
more in a post ride chatty state then they were more than likely in some time ago
I imagined who was coming from where.... short up and back for them? or are they on their way back from Sugarloaf? mysteries whose answers I will never know mysteries hardly worth considering
but these are the things that occupy my mind as I ride on the road

at some point I get caught in a light and she disappears
which is fine
as I am focused on my own thing

just as I am thinking about the flying squirrels that I seldom see and the bat house I have been meaning to build I feel the moistness in the air start to build
the air grew a tad more cold
some solid yet sparse cold rain drops fell
my route was still under consideration
rather than letting turning around to avoid getting cold and wet becoming option one
I decided on riding this section of road out and back
only turning right onto the Capitol Crescent trail for some more gentle downhill spinning taking me home

as I come around a corner I see that same small female road rider
she is along side the road about to start up again
I imagine she has put on some warmer gear
maybe full finger gloves or arm warmers

we exchange smiles as I pass
I refrain from mentioning the headphones
as soon as she mounts the bike she is making the pass
as I am not moving too fast I am easy catch
she drifts into that same pace
only a little faster than me
I try to pace off myself rather than her

she pulls away and is often hidden by turns
it is an unententional game of cat and mouse
she gets caught at a light
I get to continue my pace past
only to be passed shortly after

on each pass there is no warning or alert
this is not the roadie way
I always try to accept that this is the roadie way
as I am more of a fred type that likes to give a hearty warning
then again
I am not normally giving audibles about cracks in the road or such
as mountianbikers tend to read things for themselves
although there are warnings and recommendations of gear changing, step up in techincal section approaching, and the guide to the best line to make it work

the cat and mouse continued
we had passed a number of cyclist at our clip
we both had turned around and were working our way back

at conneticut avenue we get caught at a light together
some friendly words were shared
eye contact was made
she was in fact female
she slowed her pace and we pedaled along side of each other

it was nice to share the ride with someone
some quick exhange of Q&A
all very friendly and nice
I mention I wish I had my camera
thinking of mounting it on the handlebars

there is mention of my blog and the images of cyclists

we run out of road
I pass the turn to the Capitol Crescent Trail
she slows for the slight downhill and I wait for her at the light
we say our goodbyes
as much as I would have liked to continue the conversation I could already feel that I was not going to make my two and a half hour desired destination

it makes sense to think that I could just keep riding
but I couldn't
I would just have to go home and end my ride
the capitol crescent trail would extend my ride a little bit
and allow for more if I felt the need

the slight grade down the capitol crescent trail was a pleasure
the slow pace allowed for a pretty much no handed glide
going for the handlebars when passing other trail users
going for the brakes when unpredictable trail users came from the opposite direction

the paved path runs parallel to the c&o canal in its final miles
another great place for me to let my mind wander
I think about so many rides on so many different stretches of the canal
my mind wanders about the pieces of land between the canal and the potomac

a recurring daydream about the nps allowing some of this land by fletchers boat house opening up to some formally built trails
through the trees I see some rocky sections
there are signs of high water pushing deadwood great a decent distance from the potomac shores
my daydream include irragation, bridges
and of course clean up
the wasteland of deadwood becomes an urban playground

the trail feeds into georgetown
before dipping under the whitehurst freeway I check the time
consider stretching it
consider a right turn to haines point
or maybe a right turn then over the bridge into virginia only to grab the next bridge back into washington

the glance at the watch had me thinking of the value to a few more minutes on the bike versus the value of getting home to the family

got home to the kids
grant was just waking up from a nap
woke up with a serious mood

it took some serious work to get grant distracted and playing
his runny nose and slight cold has taken over his mood
but bionicles were able to distract him
dean and grant were playing impressively well

there was need for a diaper change and me to start dinner
lisa had at my request some ingredients for fajitas
it was getting late
if we were going to eat I had best start cooking

it was not easy to lure the boys downstairs
they were playing so well
grant's mood could still be grumpy so I tried to coral them gently
I offered to make a couch fort

couch forts are big with the kids
not so much fun for parents
lots of fun for the kids
at times the boys can tear the fort down in less time that it takes to make
part of making a couch fort is rebuilding it and maintaining it

evolving it to a working state

once the structure was solid enough
and to their liking
I could slip into the kitchen while they played
before I had the flank steak and the chicken out of the fridge there were boys at each knee
they were playing well
dean was chasing grant
grant was seeking shelter in a joking manner at my side

without being too grumpy I tried to persuade them to stick to the fort
the meat started to cook so I went back into the living room to maintain the fort

it was not easy chopping onions and peppers without chopping off a finger

just as the dinner was complete lisa came in the door with a load of groceries
like racoons at a campsite the boys started tearing through the plastic bags
I demanded that no one eat as I was cooking something better
everything in the bag was presented as a better option...

lisa was able to gather the boys
she had them wash their hands then sit at the table
with them everyone at the table I was ready to serve dinner

the whole process makes me appreciate the actions of my wife
she is not a stay at home mom
she works part time
although she is a full time mom
every time lisa cooks she is able to cook with the monkeys hanging from her hip
without much complaint
without chopping off a finger

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