New Year's Day Ride... my first dirt ride of 2009

there was desire to ride but I had not formed a formal plan
malaise was burdening me such that I had not yet developed my "want into a plan"
there was risk that lack of planning would set me out on a mundane road ride
a road ride is better than no ride... but a dirt ride is good for the soul

then fellow DCMTB team mate Darren Biggs sent a message out on the team list serve about heading to Rosaryville State Park in the morning on New Year's Day

there was mention of a flexible 10am start with a mellow tempo on single speed bikes
I responded to the email that I was "in" and that the 10 am start sounded rational

the rigid single speed sounded like a good Rosaryville option
mountain biking over road riding sounded awesome
the developing plan was exciting to me

New Year's Day Ride... my first dirt ride of 2009
my New Year's Eve evening was moderately chill after a mellow day at work
last year's New Year's Eve included the effort to gain entrance to the Single Speed World Championships
a race I got entry to but was unable to attend due to the realities of life
this year's New Year's Eve was a tad less eventful
more of my evening was spent gathering gear and working on my bike than throwing down beers
this evening would not include the anxious experience of pushing SEND at Midnight California Time/3AM Eastern Standard Time to get into this race with limited entrance

after email conversations with Darren I headed out to the garage and grabbed my rigid Surly Karate Monkey single from the garage and threw it in the stand
the shit brown bike was caked in crust of mud and what appeared to be wet cement from the Wakefield ride with Grant on the trail-a-bike and Dean on his BMX bike a few days prior over the Christmas holiday

the Surly was looking rough
once the mud was cleared from any and all working parts I noticed that he rear wheel was not looking so straight
not a hop.... lots of hops... a shimmy and a shake with not so much as an obvious loose or broken spoke
I glanced at a new 29er Single Speed wheel with the Surly Hub that I ordered for this bike but had yet to put to use... then reached for the spoke wrench
the fool in me thought that it would a quicker task to straighten the wheel than put rim tape on, grease the threads then pull the single bmx gear on from the old wheel and then swap tire and tube
honestly it was really the tire caked with mud and cement that intimidated me the most
so I did a quick true job between the brakes

some time passed and I felt that the lube to the chain, a glance at the brakes, a spoke wrench to the rear wheel, and a couch covered with cold weather gear was a good start
it was getting late and I had not had any dinner
so I headed a few blocks down the road on foot to crash a friend's New Year's Eve Party
a few drinks, some serious food, and some shared holiday cheer and I was out the door headed home a half hour before midnight
once home with a glass of wine in my hand I glanced at my gear and felt as if I could make some solid selections in the am
it turned midnight with me sharing my attention with FACEBOOK, the television, and a glass of wine
the television and the computer were shut off before I finished the glass of wine
after brushing my teeth I went to bed

morning came peacefully
with Lisa and the boys in Florida visiting the grandparents I was able to wake up at my own rate
with my black dog Brutus still asleep at my feet I climbed out of bed and put on some hot water for some tea
as the water boiled I checked my emails and was pleased to see that our start time had been bumped back to 10:30
I made the call to Darren to confirm that I was aware of the time change and would be there at 10:30

as I walked Brutus in the woods of Rock Creek Park I sipped my tea and I got a sense of the weather of the day
the earth at my feet was frozen which meant that the trails at Rosaryville State Park would be solid
the air was cold, but there was no wind
my mind solved the riddle of what I should wear as I relaxed and watched the dog frolic
it was as if Brutus knew it was the start of a new year
my ten year old dog ran about as if he were a puppy
brutus rushed through piles of leaves... sprinting up and down the trail in front of me, taking that downward dog position that means "play with me" all this with his heavy breathing made visible by the cold
a white cloud coming out of a dog mouth that looked as if it were smiling

time passed quickly and I was pulling away from the house with a little anxiety that I was going to be late for our set meeting time
to my pleasure the roads were vacant
there was carnage in some spots from the post party drives home from the holiday celebrations the night prior
not much traffic... no traffic at all
the trip to Rosaryville took roughly 35 minutes when it often can take an hour or more
without any excessive speeding I was there on time

the parking lot at Rosaryville was filled
a hiker approached to their car as I arrived
I waited patiently as the spot opened
talking out the window to my riding partners for the day
I pulled in pretty much on time... arriving to both Kevin (KMAXTAX) of Racing Union and Darren (The Bike and More Blog) of DCMTB suited up and ready to ride
they finished their prep as I stepped out of civilian gear and into skin tight cycling geek gear
holiday greetings were exchanged and we debated about how many layers should be worn and which pairs of gloves would be best
there was a discussion about gear
Darren tried to talk about tires... Darren loves to talk about tires
gear was brought and gear that had been left behind
it was in the high 20's so I wanted to make sure that I dressed appropriately
I questioned if I had made the right decision leaving my Lake winter mountain bike shoes behind

a quick slam of some water followed by the last minute decision to ditch the backpack was made and we were on the trail
the Pealrizumi Lobster claws were on the hands
I was wearing standard cycling shoes with two pairs of regular cycling socks and some old gortex socks
a skull cap under the helmet an no balaclava being confident that the beard would be enough
the upper body had both DCMTB city bikes vest and jersey while the arms were covered with the sleeves of a some gortex/lycra winter full zip jersey that was selected to be my base layer
knowing that there each loop returns to the car had me feeling that I was never so far from car that I could not modify my gear at the time of the second lap

oh joy! the trails were frozen rock hard just as I had anticipated
frozen... buff and frozen... with not much leaf coverage
the ice on the stream crossings had been broken by the cast of riders who had worked the loop earlier
there was no standing water anywhere on the trail
no places where there had been mud and there was now a rutted out frozen mess
everything was smooth and buff ready for some carving

our ride consisted of three members... Darren, Kevin, and myself
it was a good group
everyone was mellow
we hammered far below a race pace
we tried to spin it and keep it at a conversational pace
there were times were we kicked it up and other times we toned it down
everyone got a chance to lead

the first lap pace was enough that there was agreement to tone it down a tad for the second lap
it is tough to slow it down on the single speed
the gear of the single speeed has a comfortable cadence... too much slower than spinning that gear can be a hassle
it can be easier to knock out the hill than to snail up it
so I doubt that lap two was all that much slower than lap one

on lap two we guessed our way around until we found the man made technical inner loop
Darren made some solid attemps at the log rides
KMAX and I messed around on the kiddie log ride
some photos were snapped and we returned to the main exterior

currently my shoulders are sore
my shoulders are sore and my back is a tad tight
it is that sore that people call a good sore... but maybe a little more so
the rigid monkey can be rough... most people upgrade from the stock monkey fork if they can
I have yet to take a shower because I wanted to walk the dog before the sun sets
back to this rant after the walk

ah... back from an epic walk back to the post
started off hiking with the dog and got a call from a friend in town from the holiday
turned back from my hike to meet him then set out again with the dog again
we hiked the dog for a half an hour or more then returned the dog to the house along with our empty cups that once held our tea
from there we marched through Mount Pleasant on into Adams Morgan where we stalled at TRYST so my old friend from college Shannon (Shannon boy not Shannon girl) could get an Espresso... we warmed up at the bar
I ate a waffle with strawberry and drank some coffee before we marched back home which brings me here to this moment
it seems that Portland has turned Shannon into a Espresso drinker
back to the rant..

the interior loop had its mixture of pleasure and frustration
the log ride is not really within my vocabulary and I did not feel that this was the day for me to work on my skills
so I was pleased to return to the exterior to knock out the rest of our ride
there was some success on the kiddie log ride
but I did not care for the approach on any of the other logs

Rosaryville State Park is a mountain bike loop without much drama
there are no epic climbs
there are no dangerously technical rock gardens
Rosaryville is about spinning the cranks and trying to corner fast
speed and momentum... it is a great place for a mountain biker to have pleasure working on some cardio
by the second lap things had started to thaw in a few spots which caused me to squirrel
these sketchy front wheels slides robbed me of some high speed cornering confidence
each slide occurred without crash... but they did make my heart jump
I was hesitant and a tad cautious to really let things go after a few suprise sloppy spots on the trail
which was a bit of a bummer... because other than those three slips there were no other sketchy spots

slowing down a tad was fine because this was not a race pace ride
no one was training
it was just friends out riding
I had left the RED BULL in the FREEZER
this was a healthy ride with friends
not a training ride for an approaching race
the battling testosterone was kept to a minimum

the ride at Rosaryville involved some trailside chats with strangers and friends
in addition to some strangers in the parking lot and a few strangers on the trail
there was...
Coppi Scott with his son Jake
and also Tommy aka Gorilla on a Bike with a multi-man posse
everyone was in good spirits
it was fun to share the energy of New Year's Day with the other mountain bikers
we are after all brothers on the bike
excuse me... brothers and sisters on the bike... I did see one woman on the on the mountain bike today

our three man group broke up as Darren broke away
so much for keeping testosterone to a minimum
Kevin asked us to let him step down the pace and Darren decided that was the opportunity to step up the pace
20 yards ahead of me and I could not decrease the gap
an oncoming runner on a tight section of trail gave me a great excuse to stop and let him go

I was in the parking lot a little bit after Darren

back at the car Darren, Kevin, and I all loaded up our various cars and pointed ourselves towards home
Darren rushed off to get Pho... when the rest of us headed for home
while I was at the Exxon fueling up my car I saw the Kevin rush in to fuel up his body
not sure what he bought but I imagined he bought anything and everything that the Exxon had to sell
I lost some time on the way home searching for something better than Burger King
end up trying out the chicken sandwich at CLUCK U
the sandwich did the job... but it was not what I ordered and the side order was not what I thought it would be
and the service was tragically slow
I left with my food and let the caffiene and sugar in my Mountain Dew give me a kick
enjoyed the calories I consumed not caring if I was taking in more than I just burned

it was a good day on the bike
it was a good way to start the year

back and home and the bike is in the basement
the gear has been washed and is ready to be hung to dry
when I finish this post I think I will check WEATHER DOT COM to see if riding is part of my plans before my family returns from a fun in the sun Florida vacation that I was unable to attend due to work

ah.... it was a good day
time for a shower

Darren's Blog

Kevin's Blog


no pictures
I have not even approached the GWADZILLA IMAGE ISSUE.


Anna said...

Congratulations on Happy New Year blog.

Darren said...

Well at first I felt your pace was a little high for me, but in the second lap I started "feelin" it. Will have photos up soon.