what a beautiful day... peter beers would tell you it was a beautiful day for a bike ride... but peter says that everyday... no matter the weather... hurricane? earhquake? good day for a bike ride... but really... today was a beautiful day for a bike ride

back from a bike ride
nice to break a sweat
nice to feel the legs burn
good to be alive

ah yes... it felt good

good to get out on the bike
good to push the pedals
good to push myself
good to chase the climbs rather than dodge them
but really... I was not chasing the climbs... I was chasing the descents

the bike was creaking and squeaking
but I was good enough to myself to air up the tires and lube the chain
gotta cover the basics
which includes carrying a spare tube, mini pump, and bicycle multi tool

the bike and body felt good
it felt good going up hill
it felt even better going downhill
my efforts were less than Olympic

but the euphoria was there just the same

like a child I love the feeling of coasting down hill
sprinting ahead and then coasting
lots of coasting
maybe too much coasting

my tendency is to avoid the hills
it is my nature to try and stay on the flats
yet for some reason I pointed in the opposite direction
on this day I decided to muscle up the climbs

muscle up the climbs so that I could grin down the downhills

not sure.... but I think my path started going uphill on Grant Road off Piney Branch
at this point I was already enjoying the sensation of pedaling hard
on Grant Road I mashed things in the big ring
in part because my shifting in the front derailleur is not working 

I often anticipate the need for the smaller ring and move the chain with my right foot
I can shift it back up... just can get it to shift down
no... I have not tried to adjust it
I mal adjusted it some time ago when I had to replace the chain rings and locked it out on the big ring

from Grant Road I turned right away from Military Road 
on the paved road in between the dense woods with its horse trails I enjoyed the rolling road descent
hooking a hairpin left rather than going straight past the equestrian pen; that same spot where the boys and I like to play croquet

my ride kept going downhill

under the tree canopy I hammered downhill
not seeking a land speed record
just enjoying the crisp air and the wind in my face
not trusting my well worn Time pedals I was pleased that the crack between the asphalt and the bridge was slight

beautiful spot

back onto the main road in Rock Creek Park
got back onto Beach Drive just past the Park Police Station
pushing the pedals North
my pace was good... but riding alone I tend to daydream
I like to daydream, but day dreaming often allows the pace to drop

up the hill then down the hill
past Candy Cane City
at East West Highway I timed things such that I did not have to stop for the light
more leading than stealing

but I blew by a queue of cyclist that would have to wait for oncoming traffic to get the green turn arrow before they got the green themselves
past Norman's Farmer's Market and up that little climb that crests at the gravel section of the Capital Crescent\Metro Branch Trail

I kept it straight
passing a line of cars stuck at the light that had all just passed me on the climbs
arcing right down by the Audobon society 
a sanctuary for plants and animals
a place where I always wanted to go to the flying squirrel tour

on the road coasting downhill I get passed by a fit looking rider on a bike with arreo bars and a sleak black and white kit
I shook my daydreaming and snap a few fast strong pedal strokes and matched the rider's pace
wanting to draft... but not doing such without asking
seeing his headphones under his areo helmet I kept my distance while keeping my pace

under 495 the rider in the black and white kit motioned with the pointing of his finger that he was going left
which was good to know... because I was headed straight
and I was not in his windslip
but riding behind him to his right
no wheel overlap
but best to know where he was going and avoid the point of intersection

at the base of the climb by the Mormon Temple I made the decision
I am going to the middle ring
which had me unclip out of the pedals
stop my pedal stroke
and then try to move the chain from the big ring to the small with my foot

on the second try I the chain dropped and caught
then I was able to clip back in and resume pedaling 

climbing is not the big man's strength
I am a big man
I prove that statement true

I knocked it out
at the top traffic gave me a second to squirt water down my throat
then at the top of Capital View I got to rock the downhill on what may be Metropolitan Road
what an epic stretch of road

to my pleasure I was treated to a train just through the woods to my right
I had seen this same train approaching 
about to cross under the road I was climbing
had I not stalled for passing cars and water I may have had the pleasure of racing the engine

in Kennsington I got stuck in traffic and had to slow for some lights
I was less than patient
moved like a jaywalking pedestrian
only on the bike

got rolling again opting for Knowles Road downhill back to Beach Drive
as I rolled downhill at a nice pace I was saddened by the red light ahead and my need to ride the brakes
as I enjoyed the fast pedalless downhill I laughed to myself about the chance that I would see that faster fitter rider in the black and white kit

at the base of the hill with the light still red things were quiet enough that I was able to arc a left without stopping

I could feel my body's willingness to let the pace drop
I fought the pull to drop pace
riding alone it is hard to keep pace
no bikes ahead of me to chase
nothing but my own guess of what is a good pace

knowing it was going to be a short ride I let the muscles in my legs burn

then I saw him
black and white kit
hammering pretty good
I gave a nod and got a smile and a finger point
there was some humor to his passing me just a few miles back and our then encountering each other heading in different directions 

I was amused by alternate paths and what gets who where more quickly
there was an alleycat that ended at John Dinn's place where I debated taking the through Kensington
with hindsight... it could have been more quick

I considered popping in on John Dinn... but thought otherwise
instead I think I may try to get out there once night this week

John Dinn

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