a post work ride on the Cabin John Trails...

Sunset in Bethesda Maryland Last Night on the Cabin John Trail
just outside the Beltway

(my Instagram photos)

yesterday I was tired...

it was hot and I was dragging
my exhaustion was due to the heat of the day and the events of the evening prior
the night before I had a friend in town from San Francisco
a friend who was a neighbor years prior
we used to hike our dogs together when we each had different dogs

it was a forced march in the woods of Rock Creek Park under a bright half moon
the thick tree canopy did not allow for any natural light
so we hiked with the aid of headlamps and a flashlight
the headlamp dying just a few steps into our hike

it was a hike that ended after midnight with temperatures and humidity that had not dropped much since its peak that day
we were soaked and tired at the hikes end
soaked being an understatement

so it was tough getting motivated to hit the trails on the bike after work

when there is a window of opportunity
gotta make a wise decision and squeeze through

my boys were camping at camp that night
which meant I had nothing pressing after work
so... with the longer summer day I figured I could drive out to the Cabin John Trails for a quick post work dirt ride

the whistle blew and I slid down the dinosaur
got out of the building and walked into a wall of heat and humidity
made a slow pedal the short distance to home on my old and crusty Karate Monkey that is currently set up as an urban cruiser

as I rode I battled with my lack of motivation
sure... I knew it was a "window of opportunity"

when I left out of work there was a black cloud looming over head
not the metaphorical black cloud that has been looming over my head for the past few years
but an actual black cloud
a cloud that looked like it may be holding some summer rain
rain would dampen the trails and my ambition

after all... any mountain biker knows...
it is not responsible to mountain bike on wet natural surface trails

the demons inside of me cheered for the rain
I tried to fight back the demons while wishing the rain and the demons to go away

by the time I was rolling down the alley that leads to my back gate it looked as if that black cloud had dissipated
the black cloud had gone away
it was not so likely that it would rain

so now I only had to battle my demons in head
and not the weather

once inside the house I climbed out of my sweat soaked cycling garb and I tossed some left-over Chinese food into the microwave
ate and well needed snack while checking the Web for the weather
a map with a Doppler radar showed a small patch of green close by and some other stuff to the west of the region
but nothing seemed threatening to my objective

I had sent out a few emails letting people know I would be heading to the Cabin John trails after work but it looked like it would just be me and the dog
but before I drove that short drive out of the city
I would HAVE to take a nap

the couch was calling

off the imitation Herman Miller chair and I kicked the dog off the couch so I could rest my legs and take a look at the inside of my eyelids
with some music playing in the background it was not long before I was asleep
my internal clock was on my side
a short cat nap and I was up and off the couch
poured the remainder of the morning coffee into a cup followed by
loading cycling kit and whatnot into a duffle bag
filled a few water bottles with ice and water
mixing powder gatorade in two of them
then tossing everything into the car

with the dog at my side I was driving with my fingers crossed that I would not encounter too much Rush Hour traffic as I tried to escape the city

my spidey senses had me bisect the city rather than go around it
without the need of GPS technology I zig-zagged my way across town to Mass Ave pointing outside the city onto River Road rather than taking the Clara Barton Parkway

as I neared the trail head I looked off the overpass
it was quite a site
there was traffic on I-495 in both directions
I was pleased with my decision to meander the city
just getting from the Clara Barton Parkway to the River Road exit looked like it would taken as long as my entire drive


at the trail head I tried to be discrete as I got into my DCMTB kit
no one honked as I unintentionally mooned the passing cars so I guess it was okay

thirty minute drive and a few minutes to change
in under 35 minutes I was wheels on dirt from my front door

it was hot... we were not even on the trail and I could see my dog Didg was already in the need of water
so when we got onto the trail along side of the creek I pointed to the water
but no... as I got rolling on the bike Didg started to race with me
he is always so excited about these adventures with the bike
running along side of me... sometimes leading the way and setting the pace

like so many mountain bike trails this trail runs along side the creek
knowing it was hot I thought it best to help him hydrate and cool off 
at the first easy access point to the creek I stopped so that Didg could cool his body and lap up some water

then... while Didg still rested in the water I started off
without having to call or whistle Didg was on my back tire in no time at all

again Didg raced at my side... almost pushing the pace as I felt that I needed to be ahead of him
both of us wanting to be in the lead

we each smiled as we got some momentum forward

then on a right turn I felt my tires hit some sand
it was not a cool Tokyo drift
it was a sloppy crash where the bicycle disappeared out from under me sending me flying off trail into what was most certainly poison ivy

Didg did not check to see that I was okay
as I surveyed my bike and my body Didg took to the creek

after a head to toe body check and a glance to confirm that the wheels were spinning 
I was back on the bike
no damage to bike or body so I was good to go
without hesitation Didg was back on my tail

the Cabin John Trails are a suburban network of trails just outside the Beltway in Bethesda\Potomac Maryland
the park land is flanked by more park/parks and then also neighborhoods
there are short sections of woods separate by roads
some roads wider than others
all roads moderately busy

I had Didg's leash stuffed in my jersey pocket for the road crossings
several of these trail head to trail head gaps are about a city block of road away from each other
which had Didg on leash running along side of me on the shoulder
the cars rush by pretty quick... never altering their pace for me or my dog
basically the same car commuter bullshit

Didg was doing pretty good but as I was on the last leg of the "out" on the "out and back" I could sense that he was already getting tired
the full trail in this heat may have been a little ambitious 
hot... humid... and longer than we usually ride\run together
but... we were committed

I thought for a second that I could tie Didg with his leash to a tree in the shade by the water
but I knew he would not want to be separated from me
there is no explaining to a dog that "I will be right back"
sure he can understand that outside a store front
but out on the trail? that is a little obscure

so... we knocked out the last section of the "out" together
stopping more frequently for water that I usually do
that would be the tone for the return trip

on the way back I dropped my pace and stopped for water more frequently
again leaving and letting Didg stay longer in the creek if he needed more time

the light was dropping fast and I did not bring a headlamp
so... I tried to keep pushing forward

I was also getting tired
so.. I wanted to knock it out and get home
I assured Didg that it was almost over and we were nearing the end
when we hit that last leg of trails
we were both stoked to be getting closer to the car

back at the car I gave Didg some dog food and some water
neither of which he was that interested in
so I turned on the car engine and cranked the AC
called Didg with a little "up-up-up" and had him sit in the front seat with the cool air

we drove home... stopping for gas and then Z Burger
ordered enough food for a family of five
or so it seemed when they swiped the credit card
shamefully only giving Didg half a burger and some french fries
not sharing any of my Chocolate Shake with him!

it was a good ride
it was good to get home
Didg slinked his way into the house and drank some water then ate some more fries
only to flop down exhausted... but after a few moments rest he was recharged and wrestling with our neighbor's dog, Karma, who was over visiting

with the bike in the basement and the sweat soaked kit in the washer I was able to focus on dinner
finishing the shake and starting a beer
 after finishing the rest of my Z Burger Feast I took a well needed and quite refreshing shower


I need to remember how close Cabin John can be!
next trip... maybe I will explore some of the alternate trails and off-shoots that I am less familiar with

previous mentions of CABIN JOHN on the Gwadzilla Page
including some links and some maps

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