post work ride

today I was able to get out of work a few minutes early
my legs have been a little tired and my knee is feeling a tad worn
but I had a window of opportunity
not only did I have a gap of time to ride but the weather was summer cool with low humidity
not typical DC summer heat
so I had to ride

having time but not sure where I wanted to ride I instinctively rolled down to Georgetown
as I cross a the bridge over Rock Creek Parkway into Georgetown I rolled up on the sidewalk and glanced at the road below
there was no car traffic
still unsure of my destination
but confident that the wide open carless road of beach drive was a good place to start

the rain caused massive flooding earlier this week
with flooding come damage
the roads have been closed while repairs to the road and surrounding area occured
some of this work involved the removal of fallen trees while some of the work involve the pulling of cars from the creek
no matter the reason
the car free road was an amazing thing

the open road felt good yet creepy at the same time
there was a "something is wrong with this picture" sort of feeling
this caused a playful grin
not just in me
but in the few other people that were exploring the car free lanes of Rock Creek Parkway

the passage under the bridges felt most odd
usually I am in a car moving fast
the bridges felt larger and more solid as I moved underneith them on my bike
with no one in sight I felt an odd post apocalypse sort of feeling.... like the guy wandering the streets in 28 DAYS LATER

without cars following close behind I was able to take in my surroundings without fearing that I am going to get run down by some executive checking their blackberry, some sororiety girl putting on her make up, or some high school kid text messaging their friends
I rode no handed and took photos
focused more on the creek and its river size proportions
and the damage to the trees and the trails on the shore

so many beautiful old trees fallen over
another tree gone
sure it is the cycle of life
but the old trees seem to all be falling
old growth trees
the 100 foot oaks and elms
they just do not grow them like they used to

I day dreamed
I drempt about the replacement of soil
and the repair of trails
in my mind I saw a park better than it was before the flood
knowing that another flood could tear through the park again
but knowing that it is important to rebuild these wonderful resources

my car free pleasure ended as Beach Drive crossed from DC into Maryland
I continued on the road along side of the cars
the first few cars quickly reminded me of why the previous miles had been such a pleasure
passing too fast and too close
following close behind as if I am an old cow
and the bumper is a cow catcher
people passing within the lane... never breaking the yellow line
on coming cars breaking the double yellow line in the center of the road to avoid a cyclist on their side of the road or a pot home
not having the foresight to see that they are playing chicken with me

after the Mormon temple and a few more miles to Rockville I see that the road is under repair
these are not cones I can just split
they are laying fresh asphault
this causes me to turn around a few miles than I had intended
as I point for home revise my return route

after the mormon temple then a right on the Capitol Crescent Trail
a nice steady slow railroad grade which seems like it is rolling slightly downhill to georgetown

a few miles into this 8 mile path I see a cyclist on the side of the trail
I ask her if she is okay and if she needs any help
she is fine I resume speed
never stopped
only slowed
she must have mounted her bike a second after I passed as she was passing me in no time at all

I let her go
I let all the other cyclist that passed me on this day go
as I am trying to just maintain a steady pace
working more on duration than power
not a long ride
but a ride longer than two hours... which is long for me

I see ahead the woman cyclist and a young male cyclist... maybe a junior pulling ahead slowly
not too much faster
I resist picking up the pace to keep up with them
then I see an oncoming cyclist walking their bike
a teen age boy with a front flat

I roll past the kid without any offer or assistance
immediately I feel a little hypocrisy
I accelerate
and share my sociological observation with the woman cyclist
she was wondering if I was going to stop
I told her I thought about it
but thought that getting a flat may be a good lesson for the kid
the topic drifts to other things cycling

we finish our next few miles pacing down the path together
while we ride I quiz her on this and that
trying to piece together this other person on the trail

I learn that she is new to the area
she is trying to figure the best route from Rossylyn to Rockville
her new commute
I ask if they have showers... she does not know
I joke about the cute new girl at work that does not smell so nice
not sure if she gets my joke
I consider pulling the camera from my bag
taking a few moving shots
at this point we are at the roughly the same position where I took the photos of Mark from City Bikes just one day prior
but... I feel that this transplant from California has been accepting of me and very pleasant
no reason to pull out a camera and make her think that I am a total stalker

as we hit K Street in Georgetown under the Whitehurst Freeway I point her up towards the stairs... the quickest way to Key Bridge

then focus on Rock Creek Parkway
as I get closer I can not tell if the parkway is open to cars
I see one car come in the off ramp
then I see more
so I cut through the city rather than the bike path
riding or Rock Creek Parkway is still an option... but not a pleasure with cars moving as fast as they do at this time of day

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