earlier this week we had an unseasonably warm afternoon
I am not positive... but I think there was a high of 70 degrees
shorts and t-shirt weather in Washington DC in December?
global warming? or just a random warm day in a city that is not sure if it is a Southern spot or a Northeastern location?
either way... it was a beautiful day

I had to work late that day... but was able to sneak in a decent road ride when I extended my post work commute home
ah... bringing the bike to work makes getting to and from work a pleasure
my commute is short
so... I have to take a less than direct route home to get anything that resembles exercise or a work out

I enjoy my indirect rides home from work

then yesterday came...
with my wife Lisa traveling for work which meant I had to take the day off so I could handle the morning routine with the boys

the morning came and I got to sleep a few minutes extra 
as the day for the kids starts a little later than my normal work day with its early morning IN TIME
I got out of bed and scratched my head
trying to sort out what time each child has to be where

this routine is not my current routine
so I had to sort out the unfamiliar

eleven year old Dean was already up and out of bed finishing up his homework from the night before
young Grant was savoring the last moments in bed before I hit him with the reality of the day
our dog Didg was content to wake up from the bed beside me only to migrate to sleeping on the couch along side of his boy Dean
I tried to rally the troops without instituting any drill sergeant tactics

Dean was up... but was not dressed
Grant was still hugging the pillow

certain things do not happen on their own
on this day it was my duty to herd the cats

I gave Dean instructions to get dressed and gave him an idea of the time frame before he had to get the bus around the corner
then I went up stairs and tried to gently wake Grant
much like myself Grant likes to steal that extra couple of minutes of sleep
that said... waking Grant can be like waking a bear from hibernation
I crawled in bed beside him and told him that he had to start waking up
I saw his eyes open and I could see that he was starting to break out of his deep sleep
Grant shuffled around and moved in closer to me
it was tempting to enjoy the moment... but for only a moment... it would have been nice to drift back to sleep
but instead I gave Grant an idea of the time and got out of bed
told Grant he had to put his feet on the floor
as I feared that he would fall back asleep if I did not have him out of bed before I left the room

there was a moment of conflict as I put in a second request to put the feet on the floor
"dad! I am stretching!"
okay... stretch... but get up and get dressed... I need to go make lunches
and you need to get ready for school

oh man... that morning routine
get the kids up... get them to get dressed... get them eating some breakfast... make them lunches
get one kid to the school bus and get the other kid to school
then get myself to work... 
only on this day... I am not working

oh yeah... on this day I was not working

back downstairs I made lunches
it a morning haze I made lunches... but failed to make myself coffee
Lisa normally makes coffee... I opted to start my day without coffee
in a coffee-less haze I worked on the lunches- sandwich... drink... fresh fruit... and cookies
am I missing anything? is this enough food?
will they eat the Liverwurst on Pumpernickel sandwich?

Dean left out the door for the bus... I told him to bring a yo-yo so he would have something to do while he waited for the bus
and I sent Grant out the door with the dog while I went to get Grant's bike from the garage
having the opportunity to bring Grant's bike to school would allow for us to take a post school bike ride
riding bikes home from school rather than driving
this is something that I enjoy
this is something that does not happen as frequently as I would like

with the bike on the car and Grant back from walking the dog I put a freshly toasted Pop Tart on the table in front of Grant... the orange juice and milk remained untouched... "I am not hungry"
I did not push him... but suggested that he try to eat something
then I hustled out the back door with the other Pop Tart wrapped in a paper towel
thinking I could get it to Dean before the bus arrived

I got to the bus stop just as a the loaded bus was pulling away
oh well... all for the best
it could be embarrassing for Dean to have his dad come walking up with a Pop Tart
so... I ate the still warm pastry treat as I walked back for home

back in the house I ushered Grant to pack his backpack and head for the car
we drove across town parking a few blocks away from school
I walked as Grant rode ahead
Grant waited for me at each corner... when I would have been fine with him crossing when it was clear
better safe than sorry

it is anxious to watch my son on the bike
it is not his skill
it is the skill-less driving style of the morning car commuters
the inability to make a complete stop at the Stop Line irks me
the failure to modify their driving behavior with a child on the corner pisses me off

oh man...OH OH MAN!
don't get me started

I watch the car misbehavior around me
it scares me
I fear that "worst case scenario"

Grant rides ahead and crosses safely without me
I watch him meander through the wall of people on the sidewalk
people taking up the whole sidewalk moving at their own pace
Grant does a good job of anticipating their movements and makes a fast fluid pass on one side or another

Grant locks his bike up out front of school
he gets a kiss on the top of the head and a little pep talk reinforcing some things we had talked about the day prior about behaving
listening to the teacher... and not being too concerned with the behavior of others... to just focus on himself
then back headed for home

once home I thought about my day...
the first thing was to start making dinner
start making dinner at 9am?
well... that is how the slow cooker works

I pulled out the half turkey breast and all other available ingredients
then I scanned the web for a few of the recipes I had seen days earlier
after that I ignored all the recipes and went at it with the usual guesswork
adding too much of this and too little of that
that is just how I roll

with dinner cooking at its slow cooker pace I did some dishes... some laundry... some cleaning and then gave some consideration to the rest of my day
I had it... I had to harness it... there was this window of opportunity
I would be a fool not to take it

although I had done some cleaning... the house was still a mess... it is impossible to keep up
with the dinner project pretty much finished I did a measure of the time...
if I wanted to ride... I would have to leave
I made a measure of the time

my window of opportunity was getting smaller

okay... 3ish to meet Grant for the post school bike ride
which leaves just enough time for the drive out... the drive back... and a lap at Rosaryville in between
yep... sounds about right
so... I packed my bag and loaded my bike on the car 
then drove the 45minutes to an hour out to PG County and Rosaryville State Park with the dog at my side

no dollars in the wallet
luckily I had a handful of dollar coins in the car ash tray
Susan B Anthony and some other folks would be paying for my parking at Rosaryville on this day

at the trailhead I got out of my car and started to get ready
rather than letting Didg out of the car to roam the parking lot
I kept the him in the car until I was ready to ride
this worked out well... as a car with some sort of PG County insignia on the door pulled into the lot

I was not sure of the official nature of this car
but I did not want to have a conversation about the dog and the leash while in the park
as I wanted to ride my bike and have the dog run leash-less behind me
just wanted to avoid the conversation...
always trying to avoid the conversation...

so... dressed and ready to go I waited
the car with its official icon on the door sat idling
not parked... not in a parking space... just sitting at a diagonal with its driver doing some paper work
I waited... thinking that this man was just going to use the porta John

so... I made small talk with some riders in their FRESHBIKES kits
"how are the trails?"
"any wet spots"
"how many laps are you guys doing?"
I asked questions with no real concern for the answers

then it happened... just what I was waiting for
but I was not really ready
the man stepped out of his pick up truck and into the porta potty
I stepped away from the conversation and quickly got the dog out of the car and grabbed my bike

had to be stealth
let the dog out... locked the car... put keys and leash in my Ergon backpack
then grabbed my gloves and bike

with gloves in hand I pedaled towards the trail
giving a wave to the FRESHBIKE crew 
as expected Didg went the opposite direction and started leaving PEE MAILS for other dogs
but with a hoot hoot and a whistle and his attention was on me
before my tires hit the singletrack trailhead Didg was on my rear wheel

good for me
good for the dog
good for the mind body and soul of both of us

in the woods single speed spinning
I started hammering pretty good
not race pace
but good pace just the same

arcing fast fluid turns
trying to get a feel for how the bike and body felt on this day
trying to get a measure for a good speed on the turns
not wanting to over cook things
but trying to take the turns fast with my hands off the brakes

but no.
my style is to brake hard and muscle my way out of the turn

Didg did well keeping pace
Didg does well keeping pace
although Didg has only been mountain biking with me a half a dozen times
this dog is a natural... he really digs the fast pace through the woods
but... the four legs and the two wheels experience things a little differently
while I get to coast fast down the down slopes
the dog needs to keep all paws moving at all times
which means we need to stop and allow for rest and recovery

at the first stream I stopped so Didg could rest and refuel
but before he got into the stream... I noticed he was already wet
interesting... he already found water
this little four legged friend had already left my shadow to get a drink 

sure enough
Didg was ready for more
more water to drink and more water to rest his body in

fully reclined in the cool stream Didg relaxed
I gave him a few minutes... then with a click of the cleats and a cluck cluck with my tongue and I was pedaling forward with a dog on my rear wheel
ah... back on the bike
rolling forward 

Rosaryville and its fast flowiness
that wonderful mindlessness of it all
a loop... sure it has its inner technical section
but for the most part... the perimeter trail is a great little escape in its absence of a need to pick a path or select a trail

just twists and turns
only one long straight descent
and only a few roller coaster hills that ask me to get out of the saddle
for the most part it is a fast flowy up and down

my riding felt okay...
there were a few little humps where I caught little airs and then there were some log crossing that I usually blow off but hit this time
then one little log is usually ignored entirely
but not today.
so when I approached this log crossing on the side of the trail I did a panic stop just before I hit it
this irked me 
so... I backed it up... and hit it 
 it was free and easy

rinse and repeat
rinse and repeat

yes, the log was free and easy
all I had to do was trust the bike
up and over one way
up and over the other way

rinse and repeat
rinse and repeat

then forward and further
with that log entered into my vocabulary I was feeling a little more confident
trying to regain the confidence of my riding when I used to ride dirt more often
I need to ride dirt more often

there were a few other bikers on the trail
but not much else
no equestrians... no runners... no hikers
just a bunch of bikers doing their mountain bike thing

when I finished my lap I was shocked at the time
my allowing for my dog to rest and refuel
my time on those few logs must have really increased my lap time
I was not on schedule
I was at risk of being late

sure enough...
on the drive home there was traffic...
all sorts of traffic...
an ambulance with its lights on was going 10 miles an hour below the speed limit
it was like a pace car holding us all back

even without the traffic I was at risk of being a few minutes late
this unusual traffic was going to make me MORE LATE

I followed that ambulance on Suitland Parkway all the way into the city
on South Capitol Street I took an alternate ramp to get out of the shadow of this slow moving emergency vehicle

I was so late that I called the school
sure enough... I would not be 2-3 or 5 minutes late
I was going to be 20 minutes late
unacceptable... but that was my reality
I think the staff at the school appreciated the heads up

the slow moving ambulance was only one factor
perhaps it was the slow moving dog
or worse yet 
the slow moving cyclist that would make me late

at home I took the dog inside... switched bikes.... grabbed my backpack and a lock
then rode to school to get Grant
more things to make me more late

Grant was fine with me being late
the administration did not seem phased
there are people this late everyday
on the bikes I told him Grant our plan
Grant does not like the parental plans
Grant likes to make his own plans

I told him that we were taking "the city way" then onto Target to get some groceries and some Christmas Lights
there was some objection
but I could see the wheels turning in Grant's head... Target always means that he "gets something"

sure enough
in addition to the milk, zip lock sandwich bags, Christmas lights, and blue chips for nachos
Grant was able to get a pirate Nut Cracker and some gum
it was win win all around
the house got its groceries... dad got Grant on the bike... and Grant got some stuff

we got home with some daylight left

the boys got a snack...
I checked on the turkey in the crock pot
we worked on the Christmas lights out front

homework was started
dinner was eaten early
as it made more sense to eat dinner than to make a snack
the turkey and potatoes turned out great
there was too much fluid which left the stuffing soggy

the boys enjoyed the turkey and potatoes that I cooked up in the crock pot

all in all it was a good day
the combination of a mountain bike ride with the dog and a post school bike ride with my younger son Grant really combine to make the day a mini epic
then the completion of stage one of the lights in the front yard with my older son Dean made some nice icing on the cake

all in all a good day
a wonderfully unseasonably warm December day 
there should be more days like these
I need to make more days like this happen for me

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