raining cats and dogs in DC... good thing I hit the trails yesterday

no time to proof
I will just have to hit PUBLISH AND POST
that is... if anyone still reads this stuff

Friday was my boy's last day of school
the last day of school
the first day of summer

Alice Cooper Sings About this Day
School's Out for Summer

with the end of school comes camp
this is not the same world I grew up in
my summers were a little more flexible
my summers were a little more free flowing

my camp experiences were few and far between
only did one sleep away camp
wish I had done more

now days...
it is structured
everything is structured for kids these days
they do not hang with friends
there are scheduled "play dates"

summer is no different
it is either summer camp or some sort of adult supervision
for my world it was different
we got so bored that we had to make things happen

but not these kids in this day and age
it is structured
it is scripted

this weekend the kids went to Pittsburgh to visit their grandparents
then when they get back
it is time for camp
next week they are going to mountain bike at camp

it is not a "mountain bike camp"
it is a camp that has mountain biking
slight difference
an easy explanation of this would be the thought of "soccer camp" versus playing soccer at camp
get it? got it? good.

yesterday I threw the boys' bikes into the stand and gave them a very quick once over
lube on the chain... air in the tires.... no real need to do any major repairs
I think that the brakes got a little adjustment
and the truing key came out for a few turns
but really... the bikes were just about ready to go

once the bikes were adjusted it was time to drop the bikes off at camp
which was less than convenient
the bike drop off was in Potomac Maryland
and not the part of Potomac that calls itself Bethesda
if you did not know... I live downtown... downtown dc... not Bethesda or Potomac

with two bikes on top and one bike tucked inside the Honda Element I pointed things out of town
before leaving on this mini adventure I had to fuel up the car and the body
the tank was on empty
the gas tank icon on the dash was lit up and the eggs and sausage breakfast from the morning had faded away

feeling rushed for time and wanting to make this bike drop off happen
sorry... no need for excuses
I wanted McDonald's... so I grabbed some McDonald's
it is a guilty pleasure that does not happen often
but may happen more than it should
actually... I should forbid this guilty pleasure... it almost always turns into a bit of a let down

so... grabbed a salty Big Mac Extra Value Meal... then an extra sandwich from the .99 menu
then rolled up to another evil multi-national corporation to fuel up the car... Exxon
with Didg the dog at my side and a Niner Single Speed on top of the car I pointed my ride out of the city to drop off the bike and then find someplace to ride

having ridden the MoCo Epic the year prior I knew that there were some trails not far from the spot where I would be dropping off my boys' bikes
but not entirely sure where
luckily... in this new age of modern technology trying to start an adventure does not start off like the beginning of Deliverance where Burt Reynolds tries to make getting lost on a country road sound cool by saying "sometimes you need to lose yourself to find yourself"

MoCo Epic

with GPS technology I was able to find quick and easy directions to the Black Rock Mill to start my ride with my dog Didg

it was not only quick and easy... but it was close
it was close and it was hot

I will admit... the modern age and its wonderful technology is not always fully correct
so... as I went driving down these tight twisty country roads I was weary that these may be the wrong country roads
although I had been to the Black Rock Mill a few times before
each and every time before... that approach had been on bike

this would be the first time approaching from this direction
this would be the first time approaching by car

as I drove I kept my fingers crossed

as I went around the bend at the base of the hill I was pleased to see a familiar site
it was the old Black Rock Mill and the clear creek running under the bridge

there was a moments frustration as I saw that there were no spaces in the lot by the mill... but was relieved when I saw that there was room at another lot just across the bridge 

the smile on my face remained as I watched families swimming and wading in the clear creek right along side the sign that said NO SWIMMING AND NO WADING

where is a good place to go swimming or wading?
heck... look for the sign that says NO SWIMMING AND NO WADING!

before suiting up I threw the stick for Didg so that he could cool off and hydrate before our ride out and back on the SRT
the SRT?
the SRT is what the cool kids call the Seneca Ridge Trail

a little mixing and mingling with the locals with their grills along side the water
a few more throws of the stick for the dog
then I pulled the bike off the roof of the car and stepped into my DCMTB kit
the cyclist version of a super hero uniform

then hit the trails...
the Seneca Ridge Trail is some sort of locals secret
it is not a destination for anyone
it is more of an extension off the Schaeffer farms loop or a post work ride from the house
than a place for people to congregate to ride

which is fine... which is great... in fact... it may be better

The SRT is a great little secret
it is a trail with a wonderful design
swooping trails up and down and around
not much as far as rocks or logs... not even so much as an exposed root

the Seneca Ridge Trail is perfect for a ride with the dog... for several reasons
in part because it is secluded and somewhat vacant
but also because it runs along side the creek
allowing the dog to rest, recover, and hydrate at each stream crossing

I rode... Didg ran
we did a quick out and back
riding what I believe to be the entire SRT
stopping at the road crossing that leads into what I estimated to be the trails at Clopper Lake

it was time to loop back... on the out and back
I could sense Didg was getting tired
his pace was dropping and he was clearly looking for water
then at each water break... he was spending more time lounging in the creek

and since it was an "out and back"
our turn around would be our halfway point

so... I dropped the pace a bit
which was fine
although the swooping single track of the SRT seems like it is rolling downhill all the time
the undulation of it all has the rider pedaling and coasting... pedaling and coasting... pedaling and coasting...
in a healthy manner that is actually a solid work out
yes... I was feeling it as well

the heat may have been a contributing factor
I was feeling it... Didg was feeling it

when we finished our ride I could not resist the temptation
I joined the families that were ignoring the No Wading and No Swimming Signs
I cooled off myself
I am not positive... but I think that steam left off my body as I submerged myself into the clear creek

Didg was spent... he made a solid effort and was feeling it
I too was feeling it
perhaps I am not as fit as I think I am

good day on the SRT
Didg dug it... I think we will have to go back!

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