starting to catch some of that cyclocross fever...

today I rode the Jamis Exile Single Speed 29er into work...
why? why not?
but after work I did something I do not normally do
I rode home to switch bikes, change clothes, then go for a ride
very much not my style
for some reason it seemed to make sense to me
part knowing I would need to hike the dog
part thinking I would like to know the temperature before suiting up
knowing I had tentative plans to do some cyclocross training with my neighbor down the block

rushed out of work a few minutes late
moved through traffic straight home with the camera dangling around my neck
an attractive woman on a bianchi cyclocross bike with knickers and a yoga bag captures my attention
a potential subject for the photo thing
she is headed the other way
our paths cross before I can pull the lens cap off the camera
for a second I consider turning around and reeling her in
but I stay my course and head for home
no need to over spin the single speed in the wrong direction
there are things to do

I get home and head out with the dog
brutus is shocked to see me so early
usually the kids or my wife get home before me
we take the standard loop in rock creek park down the street
I measure some of the repairs I have made on the trails
knowing that the barriers need a solid rain to catch some run off to terrace the stairs
I also see that I am well overdue to bring an industrial strength garbage bag out with me into the woods
the bottles and cans, all the styrofoam carry out containers, and the smashed boom box have occupied my field of view long enough
okay... maybe three trash bags... maybe five
either way
this should happen before the change of seasons

after walking the dog I see an old friend heading up the stairs to my place
I was stalled by helping a neighbor carry a piece of furniture into his house
I was confident that there was time to tie the dog, carry the piece of furniture into the house, and get up the block to catch this friend snoopy before he leaves from dropping off his old road bike
I see the door open... the family is home

I enter the house and survey the machine
it looks good for a twenty year old team fuji
this bike will do fine for someone looking to get around
Ibrahim in Kenya is my first thought for the relocation of this solid beater bike
but I question the thin 700c tires for the Kenya streets
then I remember that I have never been to Kenya and I have no idea what the streets of Kenya are like

the boys give my old friend a tour of the back yard
they have built a fort inside their clubhouse
dean call's grant's fort the basement
because grant's fort is filled with junk
dean's is vacant
dean tells me that he has cleaned his basement
I am always trying to clean the basement

the tour move into the house and I say my goodbyes
I have a 6PM meeting to make
Chris McGill from down the block is headed to my front porch at six sharp
I say my goodbyes as the family heads up the stairs with my old friend snoopy... who now goes by kevin
they go upstairs
I go downstairs to suit up

I put together the old orange and red city bikes jersey and shorts over some knickers
no jersey
no arm warmers
no jacket
it is cool and crisp
but not cold

chris arrives pretty much right on time
he is stoked to have a fresh replacement for a recently repaired front tooth
a tooth that was lost along with several other teeth in a bike related accident
an incident in Rock Creek Park...
a chain was pulled across the bike path like a trip line
at dusk chris made the corner at speed and hit the chain before he could respond
all sorts of damage to his bike and face
chris is better now
the teeth were replaced and his face has healed
somehow one of these replacement teeth popped out when he was tearing open a GU in a mountain bike race last weekend

with a fresh tooth in place chris leads the way to his local cyclocross training grounds
we pedal the short distance down beach drive towards the police station
shortly after pierce mill chris spots another orange and red city bikes jersey reeling us in
it is not just a team mate it is my brother
I have been caught
caught breaking my rule that gentlemen do not pratice
I get some ribbing that this sort of stealth training on the cyclocross bike has been going on for the last month
when in reality this is my first day out working on that cyclocross thing

the exchange is a tad longer than short
the light is dropping the day is getting late
we part after another bike rolls up on the corner
it is some guy from what may have been Route One Velo
apparently the host of some pre-season cyclocross practices
events I missed
events I missed because I needed the rest and needed to shift my focus on some other things
I am intrigued at how social and friendly people are when cyclocross is the topic

we head down beach drive on the road with traffic
we are not on a road ride
we are warming up for a workout on our cyclocros bikes
which is good... I would not enjoy trying to hang with chris on a road bike
we moved from the road to the packed earth along side the road
we move at a speed well below sketchy... yet sketch is potential just the same
the dirt path is on the against traffic side of the street
there are a few tight obstacles
I am a bear trying to chase chris around as he points his bike through a rabbit hole
I have to slow a few times for fear I will not fit through the gaps

not far past the police station where the larger picnic groves begin there is a little section of land where chris has set up some log barriers for cyclocross practice
we ride the zig zagging less than marked course once slow to we get a mental mark of the course
some of the logs have to be set back in place
then we move the course at a slow pace in reverse
we pick up the pace... not race pace
a mellow pace so that we can work on our skills
our handling in the corners, our dismount/remount over the logs, and the control in the sand
sand? there is lots of sand
I will admit
I did not dig the sand
it was sketchy enough
but the transition from fast hardpacked to a turn on sand was more than I could handle
chris was able to keep speed and slide and skid through the sand
I felt like I was about to twist my bars and go over the handlebars

I cut out work out at that location short
not because chris was pulling so far out ahead
that was not the case... chris stopped after each lap... we took each lap in follow the leader mode
but it was not long before I had lost his rear wheel and was looking for his tire tracks

some good up and back with some discussion about good clean dismounts and good clean remounts
neither of which I practiced
we moved to another patch of land
a piece of land that I am more familiar with from sledding with the kids than cyclocross practice

here chris has a loop with a solid run up and some up and back on some steep then 100 yards of horse trails looping back to repeat the run up
chris displayed an effective dismount and carry that I actually implemented
it was a good grade
steep... but not absurdly steep
long... but not so long that it was absurdly long
the loop was short to offer multiple run up opportunities

three laps into the workout and I hear and feel a body beside me
there is a greeting in the heavy breathing as the body passes me up the hill on the bike
it is a familar face from the cross races last season
it is barry in his fuji kit on his fuji cyclocross bike
barry jumpes right into the work out
barry follows for a lap or two then leads
the light drops and the hour was starting to get late
so I propose my evacuation
chris had lapped me but was still ready for more
barry stayed and did a few more laps in the rapidly fading light

there was still some time to spend a few moments with the family so I headed for home
chris joined me with mention that he was going to go for a run
life is different without life and kids

up the hill
into the house
out of my sweaty gear
there was some salmon and broccolli left over
I fill a plate and join grant in the living room
grant takes a break from his nintendo ds game of mario kart to ask me why I was eating in the living room
we do not eat in the living room
I tell him I am eating in there so that I can be with him
he accepts this reasoning

maybe I should not bend that rule
as I don't want him throwing that back at me when he wants to eat in the living room

got the boys ready for bed
told them a story
planting a seed to get Dean enrolled in a Tae Kwon Do class
maybe even sign Grant up as well

structure? discipline?
they could use some of that stuff

good to get out on the cross bike
starting to feel the bite of cross fever

registered for Charm City today
will be lining up with the 35+ B Masters

Charm City Roller Girls Blog

Charm City Roller Girls are doing a car wash in Baltimore this weekend

1 comment:

gwadzilla said...

too long to proof read