window of opportunity... sailers pray for wind... skiers and snowboards worship powder... surfers chase waves.... and mountain bikers seek frozen trails in the winter.... it is the sustainable way

this is funny...
well... this is not funny at all
a few weeks ago I went mountain biking
and well... I wanted to write about it

yet somehow... I dropped the ball
I started writing... I returned to writing
but lost momentum
somewhere along the way I lost my voice

trying to rediscover my voice
having a hard time finding my voice
I know it is there
yet somehow it is not making it to the surface

this was going to be a post about me not listening to my body
because I feared that the complaints of my body were amplified by the demons of malaise

here is what I wrote...

it is Saturday evening...
and I am spent
not just spent
I am hurting
battling a cold

morning came and I woke at 6:45... time to get up for work
only one thing... it is the weekend
I do not work on weekends
so... without the sound of an alarm I ignored my circadian rhythms and wrapped myself up like a burrito and enjoyed the warmth of my bed
knowing full well it was cold outside

it had been a tough night... itchy throat had me coughing through the night
things did not feel right
not quite chills... but my body was not regulating its temperatures right
yet I ignored those signs as I felt that these were just demons trying to keep me from doing what is best for me

there were no formal plans
I had not set a time to meet at the trailhead
it was just going to be me and my bike
well... me, my bike, and my dog

foolishly I had not packed my stuff the night prior
always better to pack things the night prior
I did not pack things the night prior
instead I watched The Life of Pi with my two boys
they had seen it before... but purchased it last weekend when up at the box stores
they bought it for me
which was touching for me

morning had arrived
it was time for Didg and I to face the reality of the day
we meandered about the basement as I gathered the requisite items for mountain biking on this winter day in February

no... I had no schedule to keep
but I did have one thing to consider
the warmth of the day
the night prior I took into account the hourly estimates for the ambient temps in Bethesda
it looked like it would be hovering around freezing for most of the morning

hit the trails before things get soggy and soft
ride the hard frozen trails rather than soupy trails

normally I change at the trailhead... but today I put on my gear at home and drove in my winter tights and DCMTB kit... while bringing a change of clothes for the post ride errands

the drive from my house in Mount Pleasant in downtown Washington DC is about a half hour without traffic to the Cabin John Trailhead just outside the Beltway
the drive was painless
I arrived at the trailhead wondering how the trails would be

I know from hiking my dog in the woods that there is still a good amount of snow and ice in the woods
heavily shaded areas and then the sections of trail that face north had good coverage
foot traffic had a mixture of hard packed snow and sections of ice
little craters filled with is ice with firm frozen ruts in between them

beside the car I tried to get a feel for the temperatures
I had two helmet options
the day was starting to warm so I opted for my standard cycling helmet with a skull cap
the I decided to go with fewer layers than I brought
and opted for my Specialized winter gloves instead of my Pearlizumi Lobster Claws
it did not seem cold enough to merit the lobster claws

at the trail head and into the woods I was feeling pretty good
my personal mantra is "it is always better on the bike"
somehow I managed to forget my cough drops and this itchy throat had me coughing intermittently on the drive you
yet when I started pedaling... I stopped coughing

this polar vortex has brought winter and all of its icy cold splendor to the Nation's Capital
last weekend I spend a decent part of both Saturday and Sunday ice skating on the C&O Canal
but with things warming up... I think that door is shutting fast
then I heard sirens... the Cabin John Fire and Rescue team was moving fast down River Road in a pick up truck hauling a trailer with a rubber raft motor boat
I could only imagine the worst
someone has fallen through the ice on the Potomac

the trail conditions changed with every turn....
it was never clear what would be around the corner or at the base of each little descent

the bike and body felt good
the Niner Single Speed seemed to be gripping the various surfaces pretty well
the hard packed snow covered trails had the element of "hero snow" that people rave about
but there was no chance to get comfortable
things went from snow... to ice... to rock solid muddy ruts...

I tried to trust the bike... while trying to be cautious
but really... there has to be an element of just letting it roll
I let it roll... but I was not exactly arcing turns
in an effort to not slide out I tried to keep the bike vertical at speed

it was a beautiful day to be on the bike
young Didg was ecstatic to be in the woods

I tried to keep a good pace
spinning that 32 X 19 pretty good
even with the mystery trail around the corner
and Didg... Didg rocked it
the trail runs along a creek which allowed for Didg to cool off and hydrate along the way

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