3.09.2008

I wonder how Camp Hilbert went....

I wonder how Camp Hilbert went....

yesterday I decided not to race in Richmond today
the heavy rains of the days prior
the continued rain saturday morning
and the spit that turned into hail in the evening
all of this combined into doubts of a race-able race

the evening which was spent at a fish fry for maggie formula of waba currently of bicycle colorado
fantastic food with wonderful people
a warm fire on a cold night
a welcoming crowd for an outsider like myself
an excellent option to sleeping in a honda element the night before a muddy mountain bike race in the cold

knowing that I was not going to be in richmond on sunday I called cargo mike to see if he was free to go for a road ride in the morning... yes a road ride
there was some consideration of joining my brother and some other fast folks from DCMTB on Beach Drive at noon
but I was looking to be done my ride shortly after noon
rather than starting at noon
so I called on cargo mike to see if he wanted to ride out to great falls on the maryland side in the morning

cargo mike accepted the invite
the plans were no more concrete than lets talk at ten

the morning came with that twist of confusion that comes with daylight savings time and a night of drinking
after making coffee and walking the dog I called cargo mike
it was later than discussed but that is the way things roll sometimes
with no real plan mike agreed to ride across town and roll out from my place
which gave me time to prep my bike and get suited up

mike arrived and we exchanged hellos as we each ate a banana and finished the pot of coffee
then just as we were ready to leave I felt that I was under dressed in my knickers so I slowed our departure as I searched for some leg warmers
during this time the dish washing machine started to make some strange noises then water flowed onto the kitchen floor
it was towel drenched madness

this process of the dish washer flooding the kitchen repeated itself each time I tried to cancel the wash and drain the device
a little mopping and toweling of the floor and we were on our way

much later than planned we were out the door
I had my green jamis nova cyclocross still sporting knobby tires
while cargo mike was on a bike with gears.... cargo mike on a bike with gears? yes, cargo bike on a bike with gears
we rolled down Park Road then down onto Beach Drive in Rock Creek
at the closed on weekends section of beach drive I saw my brother and chris clarke
I had thought that we may see them
sure enough we did

cargo mike and I slowed and stopped for a quick hello
they understood my desire for a lesser tempo experience without hitting me with too much ribbing
sure I was backing down from the big dogs... but that works for me

cargo mike and I left out for our ride
there were no power taps or heart rate monitors
there were no superman racing the train moves in traffic
there were not pace lines with alternating leaders
we just rode out to Great Falls Maryland hammering and chattering along the way

the wind was strong and the temp was a tad more chilly than I had dressed for
the traffic was not really an issue
although there were no shortage of cars our running their daily light savings day business
yet there were no real issues
while there were a few odd moments

on the way out to Great Falls we spent a fair amount of time on Bradley Blvd
at the junction of Bradley Blvd. and Seven Locks Road I considered our trajectory
my mind wandered as we approached the intersection while I thought about the condition of the cabin john mountain bike trails ahead

as we stalled and stopped at this busy intersection and waited for the red light to turn green I looked one way then the next to see if waiting for the light to turn green was necessary
as I looked right I stared at the old elementary school building where I played a season of soccer in the early days of MSI in the late seventies
when a passing car moved past something strange revealed itself
it was a small boy maybe the age of my younger son Grant standing at the side of the road
it was clear he was going to cross

I glanced left to see that it was clear then sprinted towards the boy trying to calmly tell him to wait and not to step into the road
imagine me sprinting on a bicycle and screaming wait
well... he waited and I leaped off my bicycle and picked up the little man
sure enough he must have been four or five
four or five weighing a sold forty or fifty pounds

comfortable in my arms I tried to ask this little man in the red shirt where was trying to go
he told me he wanted to go home and pointed
I asked where his parents were
he told me he wanted to go home
I asked if the building across the street was his home
he said yea... he said yea to a lot of things
he wanted to go home

all in a matter of minutes cargo mike took the boy back to the elementary school where he had escaped
not staying to get the story if they knew he was missing we were back on our bikes fighting the wind so we could do a few hills at Great Falls on the Maryland Side

as we dropped in fast on a curvy descent we talked about what may have happened with the small boy and how things could have gone differently
I could not help but think of my boys when I thought of that boy
our conversation halted as we tried to climb the hills with some speed and fluidity
I muscled the gears to try and keep with Cargo Mike's pace

a tad rusty on the route we meandered through what may be known as Avenel without any wrong turns
landing on Falls Road just as I had hoped

three quick set of down and up and we were headed on MacArthur Blvd towards Washington DC
but rather than ride the pavement and deal with the cars
we took one of the first foot bridges over the canal onto the tow path by Brickyard Road
a car free route that turned out to be littered with hikers, walkers, runners, and casual bikers
but no fishermen

we knocked out the seven or so miles of gravel covered towpath into georgeown in a less than vigorous manner
under whitehurst freeway we said our final goodbyes
cargo mike went up Wisconsin towards Georgetown while I continued down K Street towards the bike path along Beach Drive
for no reason I chose the bike path over city streets to get me to mount pleasant
a hundred yards onto the bike trail and I felt and heard a snap/pop
I knew immediately it was the rails of my saddle
I stopped to check things out
sure enough it was the rails of my saddle
not one rail... it was both rails

I rode the final miles out of the saddle with no great issue
after the turn towards calvert street I chose the narrow sidewalk through the tunnel rather than the passage through the zoo
cars were backed up through the tunnel
cars are often backed up through the tunnel

all the while I was focused on traffic on the sidewalk in front of me as well as the cars beside me
always aware of the tile wall just to my left and the drop off the curb just to my right
then something funny happened
just as I was exiting the tunnel a walker button hooked into the tunnel right in front of me
he shuffled his feet backwards while I panic stopped
the abrupt braking and the out of the saddle body position sent me over the handlebars

clumsily I went over the handlebars but rather than flipping I made the jump and landed on my feet
a sincere apology left my lips
then some words about the sign entered my ears

that is why the sign says walk bike through tunnel!

not... are you okay?
not... I am sorry
not... excuse me
not... that is fine

but... that is why the sign says walk bike through tunnel

in his face with my blood pumping and told him that I am the father of two small children
children who know enough to look before they leap
I told him that he was in error
that he had blindly gone around the corner
that walking or running we would of collided
I told him that he should look before he leaps

my blood was boiling
I was pissed

but my anger subsided
the effort and energy of the ride outweighed the anger and frustration of the moment

with a clearer head my comeback was too late
the sign that says WALK BIKE THROUGH TUNNEL is a yellow diamond not a square or rectangular sign
which means it is a recommendation not an instruction
much like a sign mentioning slippery when wet or curvy road 25MPH
just recommendations not instructions
those are warnings to slow down
not a change in the speed limit

I rolled the final mile home and took a shower before picking up my boys from my dad's house

it was a good ride
the bike and the body held up well
sure the rails of my saddle broke and I lost my temper
but I also may have saved a little boys life
or at least prevented a very stressful afternoon of locating a lost toddler

this evening I worked on the dish washer while lisa tried to put the boys to bed
just back from a weekend away the boys were more enthused about mom than dad anyway
with a few moments of frustration I was able to clean some tubes and hoses on the dishwasher and get things draining as they should
sure I got sprayed by some water and feared that I was going to get electrocuted
but it all turned out okay

I have to wonder
did the whole dish washing machine fiasco of the morning happen so it would slow the departure time of my ride such that cargo mike and I would arrive at Seven Locks and Bradley just in time to catch a toddler before he wander away from parents to beltway speed traffic and a bridge over the beltway itself with a few hundred yards
after all I know nothing about dish washers and I am hardly mr fix it
yet my dish washer is now working

I wonder how Camp Hilbert went today
my day went pretty well
a ride with cargo mike that had us out for more than three hours
how much of which was riding I am not sure
but I know most of it was good


3 comments:

Family Bike Shop said...

Camp Hilbert went well. Couple of mud puddles. Did the Enduro class turned 8 laps. Reminded me of the Lodi Farms course. I am sore today.
Jonathan

gwadzilla said...

yes jonathan

rub it in
rub it in

I have heard from several sources that it was a great race

my day was good
it took a good course
the weekend worked out well

I am sore today as well

what are your plans for lodi?

MRussell said...

my take on Hilbert is up, sorry you missed it. Sounds like you had an eventful day nonetheless.