a different side of Wakefield

on January Second I got a call from Jason Berry of Gripped Films/Gripped Mountainbike Team
we had made tentative plans to go mountain biking over email
when I got the call I was thirty minutes into an hour-twenty minute hike with my black dog Brutus in the woods of Rock Creek Park
the phone rang... I was on the other line with a friend who was in town for the holiday
in the moment's confusion of answering this one call while not losing the other I failed to manufacture a good enough excuse for why I could not go riding

I proceeded on my hike knowing that the window of opportunity for this ride was not available until late afternoon
as I marched up hill on the Roosevelt Trail headed towards the backside of the Carter Baron Amphitheater I debated in my head about what bike to ride and where to ride it

phone calls went back and forth
short discussions shared over a rapidly dying Blackberry battery
desire to meet at Schaeffer Farms was nixed by a call to the SCHAEFFER HOTLINE saying that Schaeffer is closed for the season
the decision to meet at the Park and Ride and hit Patapsco remained the top bid until it was bumped by the ambition to drive less and ride more
it was decided... 3PM at Wakefield

after my hike I fired up some Earl Grey tea and a zapped a generous helping of chili in the microwave
I felt properly fueled for a bicycle ride in the park
little did I know I could have used a can of Red Bull and a motorcycle engine

there were a range of emotions rushing through me
thoughts that I would be "over biking" things at Wakefield by riding the squishy Niner on terrain that I am usually approaching on my single speed... often my rigid single speed
then there were fears that I would not be able to hang with the faster, fitter, and more technical set of riders

I arrived early and met Matt who was waiting for Jason as well
Matt was riding a new Single Speed which again had me thinking I was over biking things at Wakefield
Jason arrived and we hit the trail...
I got schooled. I got smoked. I got my ass handed to me.
People accelerated faster than me. People cornered faster than me. People cleared anything and everything technical with more grace and more speed than me.

Matt and Jason both on the Gripped Team were always two turns ahead of me
the gap was such that it merited them to politely stop every so often
their stopping was generous.... it reminded that I was not riding alone

it was WAW: Winter At Wakefield!
we were hammering... or... at least I felt like I was hammering
the intensitiy was high... well... at least high for me
it was a work out... well... at least for me

conditions were good
it was hovering around freezing when I got the call from Jason
things warmed up a bit by our 3PM ride time
so things were good... but a little sloppy in a few spots

everything is a blur... we linked the race course loop to the bowl with PHASE THREE and the concrete-esque dippty doos and rock gardens tossed in the middle
then rinse an repeat
on our ride we encountered a number of other mountain bike riders
including a Bike Lane clad rider named John joined our single track caterpillar for our last loop
and then also a fast and fit German fellow who was really tall caught us just as we finished our ride

my heart was pounding fast
the fast dropping sun was my savior
had the boys gone back into the woods I would have followed
when there was agreement to head for the cars I did not argue
I had seen a side of Wakefield I was not so familiar with
a Wakefield where a geared bike squishy front and rear is not too much bike
a Wakefield that caused pain and hurt
a Wakefield that offered a serious work out and grants great big smiles

it was a pleasure to chase Jason and Matt around the woods
sure it was a tad humbling
but it good to start the year with a little humble pie
it is good to put things in perspective
it is good to re-evaluate things
it is good to get out and ride with friends


KMAX said...

This is remeniscent of how our ride on New Years Day went for me. I guess I'm not as good at humbling myself in the eyes of my readers. Or really, I think I try to always a paint a rosier picture of things for myself so it doesn't hurt as bad when I do get humbled!

Again, fun riding with you guys; even if you both can kick my arse up and down the rollers of Rosie!

gwadzilla said...

my experience was very similar to your experience
which is part of the reason that I was not so hung up on your pace

I need to get on the bike and get some skillz!

gwadzilla said...

and from the Jason Berry Blog



Gwadzilla Archive with some shots of this JB

chris said...

I am a graduate of falls Church High.. barely.. and i went to some college courses at annandale NOVA and also we used to hit this very nice halfpipe in those woods behind the campus which was designated skater (we were freestylists bmx I had a lavender Hutch Trick Star..)only but we were cool and actually would not burn the surface with dumb inability ...maybe we had some other method of coercion also..but ..wakefield was always in my backyard and i still have no clue about those trails. But some times it dont matter the terrain ..u .r. outgunned... TH