timid on the cross bike

saturday night I swapped out the tires on the specialized cross bike
took off the road slick tires
went with some knobbies
bought a 32 GEAX for the back and a 35 Continental for the front
swapped the tires out
pumped them up with air
went upstairs to pour a drink and watch the tube
felt like a man who had just built something

sunday afternoon left a gap of time where I had a small window of opportunity to ride
got on the cross bike and spun around town

in my head I plotted a course to several grass parks in the district
some places where I had ridden my cross bike for practice in years past

as I worked my way through the city I tried to gain confidence on the cross bike on non-paved terrain
needless to say I was feeling shy
curbs were more than I was ready for
this early september cross ride was making more and more sense the more I realized how out of touch I am with the handling of the cross bike
good thing to get some practice before Charm City

did a few laps around a grassy field in Rock Creek Park that is usually used by dog walkers
not the heart exploding pace that cross usually inflicts upon me
just a mellow confidence booster
getting a feel for what the bike does on something other than pavement

each lap got faster than the last
no lap got fast

from Rock Creek I meandered through Northwest DC into Montgomery County Maryland just over the district line
rolled into Norwood Park
a park where I flew kites and played soccer as a kid
did multiple laps around the park
trying to mix some up and down with some off camber
still riding very cautiously
still not getting my heart rate up
never taking things to the point where I started drooling

after some loops at Norwood I was back on the streets headed into the District
as I played cat and mouse with the traffic
I looked at my watch to get an idea of my remaining time

there was still plenty of time for Fort Reno Park
having to gather the family for dinner at my dad's

as Friendship Heights blended into Tenleytown I passed and got passed by the same set of cars
I took the full right hand lane
even if this offends some of the obnoxious car drivers
no one is concerned for my well being other than me
so, rahter than letting cars pass me fast and close, pinning me between their car and the parked cars
I avoided the door zone
allowing them to make a pass in the left lane
a number of these cars made their fast pass only to jump into the lane close infront of my front wheel
there was the exhaggerated shaking of the head
even someone who yelled... GET OFF THE ROAD!
to which I had to issue the bird and remind him that he is from Delaware and not DC
and that he should go back to Delaware
to think.... a stranger from a strange town telling the locals how to behave

I passed each car just as they had passed me
if they had any sense
they would see that my taking the lane did not slow their pace

this SUV driver from Delaware passed me again... this time with his windows up
no more yelling at me
maybe his wife yelled at him
so I saved my lungs for the climb up the hill
but gave him the bird freely
knowing that I was turning off the main road and headed to Fort Reno Park along side of Wilson High School
to do just as this Delawarian had commanded
I was getting off the road

the terrain of Fort Reno offers a nice varried loop with a mixture of some hard packed, some paved trail, and some great rolling grass
again I did not feel inspired
again my confidence was low

the cross bike was not feeling second nature
did a few dismounts and remounts
but... was feeling so timid across the board that it did not seem important for me to find more spots to slow and stop as I was already going so slow

feeling somewhat defeated I finished up a few laps and pointed for home
seeing the clock I extended my trip for a few more minutes
trying to stretch my ride past the two hour cut off

got home
lisa and I gathered the kids and the dog
met up with my brother and his family at my dads for one of the last meetings at the pool

tonight I think I will swap out the rear 32mm tire for another 35
put the 32s on my fixed gear
although I do not intend to ride the fixie on dirt or for cross
I have been wanting a larger tire on that bike

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