Rants on Cycling and on Life


Sue Haywood
The road to the Olympics is a long one...a path that I will never know. As a sport level racer I know how hard it is to perform at my "personal best" and to try and maintain that level of performance. While for the top competitors it is so much more demanding. They seek the highest level of performance and are not permitted to slip or slack. The training, the racing, the sacrificing; it is all more than I will ever know. I am not much for training or sacrificing. A few weeks ago I was pleased to hear that West Virginia women's mountainbiker had won the sole spot for representing the United States in the XC Mountainbiking event in Athens. The official US Cycling page did not post this information, but a variety of other links had announced the news. Now I come to find that there was a calculation error and Sue Haywood has not infact earned this slot. Was she robbed? Or did she not earn the requisite points to beat out the other competitors. Here is her story from her perspective....Sue Haywood.
Here is the Official Site with the official announcement. I am not sure, but I think that the women that won the slot lives in the same sleepy town as Jetsetpete, a friend and blogger who blogs about life, politics, and the experiences of owning a San Fran based messenger business.
Either way, Sue we are proud of ROCK! Your accomplishments are still impressive. Everything happens for a reason....maybe your reason will show itself some time soon.


Free Diving Tragedy
I do not subscribe to Sports Illustrated (SI), heck, I don't even watch sports on TV (too much VH1 to watch) Yet, there was an SI cover story some years back that caught my eye; The Deadly Dive. Each year I may grab one or two issues of Sports Illustrated from my father's house. I almost always grab the swimsuit issues and then there is a story like this that stirs some interest. This true story of a Cuban freediver and his French freediving girlfriend impacted me before I even started to read it. It was clear that it was going to be a sad tale, but I felt compelled to read it just the same. Then for some reason I held onto this issue and reread it today just over a year since its release, after reading it I did some online searching. Here is an article from the survivor's of this relationship's perspective. I have not finished it, so I am bookmarking it for me and for others here; Pepin's Perspective on that fateful day.  I was not able to find an online version of the SI article.

There is something powerful about water. We are all drawn to it. People go to the beach and set up their chairs and just watch. Days can be spent listening to the waves and soaking in the sea air. Most do not enter the water, others do little more than get their feet wet. These freedivers pushed the limits of the human body and swam to the greatest depths. It is enchanting to me.  I respect their drive and mourn their loss. There is no need to pass judgment on safety this or negligence that. Had no one been hurt there would be no mention of the lack of preparation. We all take risks. Each day your normal person exceeds the speed limit, smokes a cigarette, or gets on a bicycle without a helmet. On this day things went terribly wrong and that is all that needs to be said.  It is the zest for life that caused them to past their limits. The risks were always known, certainly that is part of the rush. If it were easy, then the record would not mean anything.

I can not reference this link without reflecting on another sad tale, Heart of the Sea. Another story of a freediver. Only this freediver did not lose her life in one of her many surf competitions or out freediving, she battled breast cancer for 15 years. Both stories will move you.  

I would hate to lose my life while out riding my bike. It would be sad to get run over by a car or to snap my neck crashing on a technical downhill. But, it would be more sad not to ride my bike around the city or for me to not ride and race as fast as I can on dirt. Precautions are taken, yet so are risks.  It is overcoming these risks and approaching certain fears that offer the rush and make life worth living.  I aim to live a long full life. The thought of missing out on seeing my sons grow up to be old men saddens me deeply.  These are things that I do not even like to contemplate. To entertain such thoughts could surely make a person phobic.

Dean has one heck of a sense of humor...
On Sunday afternoon after a morning in the house Lisa and I packed the kids and the dogs into her fresco green vw passat wagon and headed down the road to take a hike at Great Falls on the Maryland side. As we headed down MacArthur Blvd Dean requested his Cheerio hat. Well, we have never been clear what his "cheerio hat" is, but we asume that it is an old navy baseball cap that we lost some time ago. I was wearing a baseball cap and he wanted to wear a baseball cap too. I offered him mine, he refused, then I offered him lisa's. he took it and put it on backwards and smiled. the drive continued and time passed, topics went from t-rexes, to spiderman, to itsy bitsy spiders, and so on. then dean asked for his hat. i did not know where it had gone. I checked the floor and the seat beside him. the hat was no where to be found. I looked around trying to find the hat before dean got frustrated. Then I noticed that the hat had fallen off his head and was pressed between his back and his car seat. I pointed this out to him. Dean turned and looked behind himself and grabbed his hat. We laughed. Dean had one of those moments that we all have...."where are my glasses?"..."they are on your head." Dean put his hat on and smiled widely.
We each laughed a deep laugh, deep within the gut, a natural laugh, nothing forced. Things subsided to normal and some time passed. Then Dean asked..."where is my hat?" I turned around and Dean had removed his hat from his head and put his hat behind his head and neck on his chair. He pretended to look around for his hat, raising his arms out to the side gesturing "I do not know."  We each pretended not to know where his hat was and then we had the pleasure of repeating that deep laughter when he found the hat again. I was greatly over joyed with Dean's ability to create situational humor, and Dean was pretty pleased with himself as well.
On that hike with Grant in backpack, the dogs ran leashless to who knows where chasing this and chasing that, Dean learned another game. He learned to hide behind a tree and leap out and say "BOO!"
There were certain subtlies that he missed about this trick, but he loved it just the same.
It was a great little hike. Dean loved hiking an unfamiliar trail and covered at least three miles at an adult pace.  This evening was topped off with a little sea kayaking down river at sunset. We drove from Great Falls on the Maryland side down to Belle Haven Marina just north of Mount Vernon in Virginia where we met up with Steve and his wife Holley and their new born baby girl Nellie and Bennet and Elsa with their 2.5 year old boy Diego. We all had our dogs and it was a great way to end the weekend. The dogs all swam as we all took turns paddling about the marshes in the orange glow of the summer sun. There should be more days like that. I must make a note to myself for us to do that again some time soon.

What the heck is this?
First they are ruining our they are trying to ruin our backyard barbecue!
Give me a break!
Sure it is clever and cute....but what give this stuff its red coloring?
The blood of American soldiers dying in Iraq? 
 W Ketchup?
Someone please help!
This is absurd as Freedom Fries, Freedom Toast, and Freedom Kiss!
We are lucky that they did not try to change the name of the Tour to, le Tour de Freedom!

Bringing it back to the bike....
There are so many different bicycle manufacturers....
How does one choose?
In my garage and basement I have bikes/frames from Kona, Jamis, Rocky Mountain, Trek (yes, trek,) Raleigh, Fisher, Outback, Schwinn, and Surly. All are mine except for Lisa's Fisher and her unbuilt Outback (one of my things to do) and Dean's Schwinn. Not all of these bikes are assembled or rideable, but all those bikes are there to trip over.
Here is another company...a guy around the corner has a Vanilla track bike, so I thought I would scope out the scene with this manufacturer. Vanilla Bikes, and of this world of many options...when you have Vanilla you also have Chocolate! Chocolate Bikes!
My selection process has always been based on THE DEAL, THE HOOKUP, or THE DUMPSTER. Some of those bikes mentioned are relics that I have dragged with me over the last several moves, while others are in a healthy rotation. My cross bike only gets ridden for cross races and my mountainbike only gets ridden on dirt....
with that said...
I want a new bike!

meanwhile PFunk is looking at buying a RETROTEC
follow the saga here.....
will pete go with the used built up bike that has low miles and a XTR mix that he saw on eBay
or spend more money for a fresh new frame without parts
and build up his dream machine
or is he just window shopping?
tune into his Blog for the answers to these questions and more; JETSETPETE


Two Minute Countdown
It is just about time to slide down the dinosaur and roll out into the rain.
Before I go I am going to bookmark another link to myself...
Sheldon Brown on teaching a child to ride a bike.
Dean is three years old and doing quite well on the bike with training wheels. He has voiced an interest in removing the training wheels, although he is not actually ready for that step. I think it would be best if I start guiding him in that direction....
Any tips or tricks to getting my son rolling on the bike sans training wheels?

I am outta here!

Created by Anu Garg.
got this here

Business growth is not an issue I have ever had a problem with. There is that old punk rock notion of not selling out. But when it comes down to it, why not get paid as much as you can for doing what you do?  Timbuk2 Tour de France Bag and the Timbuk2 Yoga Bag; I have seen a variety of messenger bag companies come and go...but there may be something about these guys and their business model that has kept them afloat. Dirt Rag was a zine at one point, now it is a glossy mag! All the while Ian MacKaye tried to avoid fame and fortune with Minor Threat and Discord Records, then ended up getting rich with Fugazi and all that is Discord.
In the world of mountainbiking I often hear people complain that the race promoters are getting rich for throwing these events. As far as I am concerned if the entry fee is not outrageous and the event is well put together then sure, let them make a buck. Perry Farrell got rich off Lolapollusa but no one boycotted the mosh pit because of that.....they went along and enjoyed the show.
It it true that our society has a hard time getting its priorities straight....teachers work part time jobs while super models complain about how hard it is to look pretty in front of all those lights.

go figure.

what is Straight Edge?
(other than not me)

and an oldie but a goodie
but only relevant to someone with some knowledge of DC punk rock history...
What DC Hardcore Band are you?

You are STATE OF ALERT! Very pissed off in general,
you don't mess around. Even rednecks don't like
to get in fights with you because you are
crazy. You aren't afraid to promote yourself,
not to mention you are a loud mouth. Outspoken
in what you believe, you will ALWAYS be there
to help out and fight for your friends and
those you love. And of course to create a
whilwind of senseless violence.


this day is slipping away
the Red Bull is in my veins and I have taken all that energy and put it in the wrong directions
managed to get a few things done
but need to knock out a few more
been playing a virtual hookie all day
tangent hopping from Blog to Blog
a random GOOGLE for a new BLOG took me to one site and then another
here are two I linked to earlier
Punk Ass Bitch and Facing Inward
these people are all going through life trying to figure it all out
to see other parents perspectives
I read their words and I see how young and alive these people are
and then I read further and I hear that their kids are older than mine
it is great to see that as much of a focal point a child may become in a parent's life
they do not have to forfeit their own interests

I may be a servant to two children and two dogs
but that does not mean that I can not be a servant with his own sets of interests

this time for real!

I must get to work!


In life we all search for meaning.
Although I am not a religious person, I do believe in god or at least some sort of higher power.  My understanding or conception of god is a modification of the catholic god that I was brought up to believe in, a very loose adaptation. If I were to believe in this version of religion it would be hard for me to go on faith that any of the stories in the bible are anything more than stories. Good rules for life, but more like fables with lessons than historical accounts of things that actually happened. Not unlike George Washington chopping down the cherry tree or George W. heading to Iraq to fight terrorism, these are just tales told so many times that people have taken them as actual accounts of history, while we all know that they are just stories.

I use to joke that I had an agreement with god, 'I don't go in god's house and he does not go into mine."  Well, that is not true.  I welcome any outside source that can aid my family to a safe and healthy future, this does not rule out god. Going to church is not anything that has ever appealed to me, guess god should have made the weekend longer if he wanted me to go to church. With only one sunday and mountainbike races, sleeping late, and hang overs to recover from I just can not find the time for church. Not to sound selfish, but I just never got anything out of it. It never made me think any more, it never made me feel any better, feel any more awake, or feel more alive.  Riding my bike or going to Yoga can be a more religious experience for me than going to church.  And this is after going to church a great school for 7 years and acting as an alter boy for at least 5 years.....that was a lot of 7 am masses in spanish and a good number of math classes missed to serve funerals. Quiz

there are some interesting topics at

I recommend it....
more for the atheist/agnostic than the believer

About six years ago on a small Thai island I met an old Italian man. He was handsome and fit with a calming presence. We talked, but not at length. Each day we would pass and exchange hellos at breakfast or as I went down to the beach with my rented snorkel and fins to check out the action on the reef. This older gentlemen with his peace and scerenity impressed me. I wanted aspects of his persona to be part of me. I wanted an inner calm that was visible throughout. I wanted to be sure that I am fit when I become older. I wanted to be at ease with who I am and what life had granted me. In our short brief discussions I learned that this man was a Yoga instructor off to India to further his studies. At the moment of hearing this I wrote myself a mental note....Make Yoga Part of Your Life.
Here it is many years later and I am slowly making Yoga part of my life. It is only a one session a week commitment at the present. But, after the mountainbike race season slows for me I will try to tag on a second day; if the responsibilities of family will allow.  It is hard to measure the effects.  So many other variables in my life. But, the feeling I get when class is over is so positive I can only think that these classes are valuable to my current well being. (currently happy working a steady 9-5 job, riding and racing mountainbikes at a moderately competitive level, and living as a good husband and father)

I do not recall what style of Yoga this gentleman from Italy practiced.  Presently I have been studying Ashtanga Yoga.  It is a style that works for me. It is all more a matter of exposure. This is the style that my wife studies; as well as a wide variety of our friends (most of them female.) But I have been curious about checking out some of the other styles, just so I have a greater understanding of what Yoga is. At this time all I know is what I have learned through this Ashtanga class here in DC.

(similarly I have considered trying a local Wednesday night road race in Greenbelt. just because I am curious about the road culture...who knows? I may like it. I have been doing some Cyclocross races in the winter....never thought I would like it until I tried it a few years ago, now I am hooked!)

Brief descriptions of various Yoga Styles

Six Feet Under
Blogging about TV? Now, I have hit an all time low. I tend to have all these great observations of the world that I want to blog about, but by the time I am at home from a post work bike ride (the bike is where the blog ideas blossom), walk the dogs in the woods,  hang with the wife and the kids, figure out the answer to the age old question, "what's for dinner?" shuttle Dean off to bed, make sure Lisa does not need any help getting Grant to bed, by this time I am brain dead. Last night I turned on the laptop with the best of intentions and got sucked into HBO's series Six Feet Under. I must admit there are some genius minds working for HBO. They produce an entertaining series after entertaining series. But the writers/producers of last week's Six Feet Under hit a new high for this series. It started playing out in its natural soap opera based in a funeral home direction, but when they got into the hitchhiker tangent of the story! Well, it was like Farrah in Extremities. It got to be really intense, complex as well as intense, tehn downright scary. Definitely cured me of ever wanting to pick up a hitchhiker or even help a stranger ever again for that matter!

Blog Tangents


I need to slam some RED BULL and get back on track!
The day is slipping away. But before I BLOG OFF I will post a link to a CLEAN AND SOBER BLOGGER. I am neither Clean nor Sober, but I am not a JUNKIE either. But I did enjoy some of her rants.
and I have not gotten to this blog...but will bookmark it for myself here to check out later
after I get some work done
Ashtanga Blog

gwadzilla out
(for now)

Funny Thing...
In my adult life I have always claimed to be too large to fit in a standard bath tub. Only under situations of great need did I ever get in the tub. Lets say....if I am in great pain and need the healing sensation of ebsen salts or just the hot soak. But since Dean has been on the scene I have found myself taking more and more baths. Odd! Before my 6'4" frame with its 230 plus pound frame was unable to fit comfortabley into the tub. But now when my three year old son Dean asks me to take a is bubble time. It is usually a short process, but I do join him for a bit. Then when I get out of the tub the water level drops to an absurdly low level.  I then grab some of his favorite tub toys (turkey baster being a current favorite) and fill up the tub.
As for Grant....I have taken his cubby little 4 month old body in the shower with me, cleaned him up with great caution, as when he gets soaped up he is one slippery little beast. But no baths with both of the boys yet, although Lisa makes the family tub a semi-regular experience. I have photos....but they may not be web worthy.

With all this said.....

We have a larger tub on the second floor....sans shower. It is one of those massive tubs with the feet. Dean broke the ornate faucet and I have not gotten around to replacing it. But we need to replace that and make sure the feet are secure. That would clearly be a better bath tub for me and the boys....much higher walls and a tad longer!

Races in the near future....

This weekend is the Michaux race, depending on the days leading up to Sunday and the progress on my deck. My attendance has yet to be determined.

As for the Hoo-Ha....
well, check out this site. Hoo-ha!
this ain't Massanutten, but it is worth checking out

Invasion of Privacy...
spending a few moments at lunch tangent hopping from web site to web site
got off the topic of bicycles and somehow got onto someone's story about being approached by the police while taking some photos in Seattle

it is an amusing tale
amusing if you are not the author

I have had similar experiences
in these times, this sort of thing may very well be happening more and more frequently
but for me
this does not happen because of my 'brown-ness'
as I am not brown
yet I am in touch with the brotherman

makes me want to take an Intro to Photography class
and move to Canada

for me to join in on any of this single speed fun I would definitely need to get a suspension fork on my Karate Monkey
maybe it will happen for me next year
until then
I really need to concern myself with getting in a few long rides before I get my ass handed to me at the Shenandoah Mountain 100

that is not to say that I am not out having single speed fun
raced as a Clydesdale at Wakefield
and have been taking the Single karate monkey out at local dirt rides including that Patapsco ride the other night
but, I have yet to try my single at Gambril or anything else that rocky

summer is here and the heat is upon us
don't expect august to be any cooler
things here on the east coast are a little different, well different from the western states
here in the east we have humidity
humidity and all of its splendor
in dc it is bangkok hot
sadly we lack the good grace to embrace it with the Songkran Festival
instead we just complain
we bitch and we moan
everyone grumbles about like they had not expected it
like a hot humid dc summer is something new and different
it gets ugly...real ugly
ac in dc is a must
on an average day I must change my clothes 5 or 6 times
if we don't have the ac going I am sweating in the shower
when I go to towel off I never get dry
when I go to brush my teeth, the tooth paste comes out as a liquid
out the front door and I am soaked with sweat before I get off my front porch
it is miserable
but it is home
home sweat home
embrace the summer and all of its splendor
sure spring and fall are the pinicale seasons
spring with the cherry blossoms and fall with the foilage
I think fall was on a tuesday last year and spring lasted for a wednesday and a thursday this year
we are not here for the climate
for many of us I am not sure why we are here
(here....not as why am I here on this planet, but why am I here in dc)
I am here because my family is here
here is home
night riding is one of the best answers to this heat and humidity
it is a few degress cooler and the air is not quite as thick
that trip to Patapsco showed that you do not need to get to far out of the city to find a pleasant oasis

so enjoy the summer
grab a watermelon take a bite and spit some seeds
eat a bussel of steamed crabs
go to the beach, any beach
jump in the pool any pool, dc has countless public pools
pool hopping may be gone with the era of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn
Carl Rowan marked the end of that era when he shot and wounded some local high school boys cooling off in his pool without invite
leap off a cliff into the Potomac at Great Falls
find that hidden rope swing at Brickyard Road
rent a sea kayak a Bell Haven Marina from Chip who lives in his van down by the river
or head to Fletcher's boat house or Swain's lock for a canoe instead
enjoy the long days
put on some bug spray
don't forget the sun screen
splurge and order the Key Lime Pie
take an evening stroll to your local ice cream parlor
road trip, then road trip again
splash in the river
go tubing at Harper's Ferry
enjoy summer while it is here
the dark days of winter will be here soon enough to give everyone something different to complain about


Patapsco State Park
It would seem that I need to be re-introduced to the trails at Patapsco State Park. Night riding can have its fair share of confusion. But last night I shocked myself with my lack of recolection of a more sensible loop. Sure, we were out long enough and we only back tracked once, but, I still feel that I could have created a more fluid loop. Not that I am trying to beat myself up. It is more of a matter if I am going to get out and hit the trails I would like my time to be well spent.
I was pleased when I we found the field crossing, but was shocked when we crossed a street and I could not find where the trail picked up. I recognized a good bit of the trial, even in its new and unimproved state, but I could not find a few sections of trail that I was looking forward to riding.
It was a great ride any way that we look at it.  The single speed worked out pretty well for those trails. It may have been a better combo for dave to be on his geared hardtail while I push the rigid single, but that is not how we headed out there.
Most of the sections of the climbs that I was unable to clear on the single would have been little different on the geared bike. I hesitate to go for the granny and the granny may have lacked the tork to get me up the steep and over the obstacles.
enough about Patapsco.
when is the next ride?
when am I going to pack that rear hub?
am I going to race this weekend?
or am I going to be a rational adult and work on my deck project?
part of me does not want to chicken out on the Michaux Rock Fest
while another part of me feels if this does not get done soon it may never be done!

The Saga Continues....
(the saga of trying to coordinate a night ride.....and unlike Kerry.....we ended up leaving a man behind)

this sort of email communication and brotherly conflict is part of my everyday life...
the emails go back and forth
tempers flare
and as usual I am in the wrong
I am always in the wrong
it is tough to always be wrong
and one would think that I am use to it by now
it is hard to accept
I am in the wrong again
at least I am right about that

Riding...Planning Rides...Group Rides...etc.

Last night I went for a night ride. It is pretty basic stuff. Get your bike, your gear, and you go. As we all know it is not always that simple. Yesterday was the usual email battle. It started off with me sending out an email saying that I was ready to go mountainbiking that evening, lights on the charger and everything. Immediately I get an email back from my brother saying that this was not enough notice. Oddly enough, it was my brother who had started the whole night ride email by saying that he could night ride on Monday or Tuesday. By this time, mondya had passed, and tuesday was our only option. After my response he recalled that he had infact started that scheduling opportunity. Then there was a back and forth on where we should ride. I wanted to go to Patapsco State Park, while my brother was lobbying for Cabin John. Then there was all sorts of back and forth, then some more back and forth, until finally we had established that patapsco was the choice and that we would settle in on a time when everyone got home......Then Dave shows up at my house with his rigid single speed...I put away my geared hardtail bike and grabbed my rigid single speed and we were off.
The ride went well.
Then I find emails from my brother showing his frustration in my INBOX this morning.
It is tough to coordinate the simpliest of rides. Everyone has their own needs and their own agenda. That is why most of my rides are solo. Most of my approaches to the races are solo.
The email back and forth between my brother and myself continues. Apparently he wants an apology. But I never said I was going to call. He misunderstood. On Sunday I said I would call if I was going for a ride. I did not go for a ride, so I did not call. As for last night....I never said I was calling anyone. I said I was going riding. And I went riding.
riding can be a pain in the ass

In the City....

There are certain advantages to living in the city. For example, on a day like today where I had all of this wood delivered. If I need a little help moving this wood. It seems that I needed to do was to walk up to Mount Pleasant Main Street and head over to the 7-11 and ask a few of the guys hanging out if they wanted to do some work. That easy. The language barrier was not too much of an issue. I spoke as much Spanish as these guys spoke English. I think that there was some initial hesitation. They walked slowly behind me as I walked slowly infront of them. I was skeptical of them as they were skeptical of me. I feared that they were going to jump me, and they were....well who knows....these are dangerous times.
All went well. They helped me move the wood. I gave them each 20 bucks and a couple of glasses of water. And then I went to work. Well, I went for a short spin on the bike, got a flat at Haines Point, and then rolled into work exhaused.

check out DT's BLOG on the Wednesday at Wakefield race last week.....

he raced in the single speed class
I raced my single speed, but in the Clydesdale Class

Night Ride at Patapsco State Park

Ouch. I am sore. My shins are feeling the pain of the pedals. The first crash of the evening was clearly my worst, but the others add up nicely to give my body a morning stiffness; get your head out of the gutter! Not that kind of morning stiffness! Asprin and Advil are just a thought away.
By Dave's choice we opted to take the Single Speeds up to Patapsco State Park. We made the night drive in my '84 Landcruiser without any traffic and pulled into the Park and Ride after a painless 35 minute drive. Once in the lot we suited up and soaked in night. It was pleasantly cooler outside of DC. The moon was just a sliver of a fingernail. The sky had a glorious orangish glow, and the parking lot had a scattering of cars with all sorts of people doing odd park and ride things. Young couples? Adultrous affairs? Crackhead getting high? junkie getting his fix? who knows? All I know is that they are there at the Park and Ride and not at home! These freaks wig me out! With our lights on our helmets and our feet clipped into our pedals we headed for the woods. Having not ridden these trails in a year or two I was in for a bit of a surprise. The trails have changed, and not for the better. There are more options, more unneccessary options. The erosion from man and nature had altered the settings. The trails were widder and more conveluted. The impact of the trail use is obvious and nothing shy of brutal. As we got deeper into the woods the trails became more narrow/less abused, but then there would be open sections where single track had turned into the land of a thousand options. Large nasty openings where various puddles and divots crisscrossed and no vegetation could survive. There were man made obstacles for freeriders; log crossings, stacked log barriers, and long logs with log staircases leading up to them. It is tough. Such a great trail so close to the city. The user traffic on these trails is beyond that of any trail I have ever encountered, even Schaffer Farms in Gathersberg. This is clearly a set of trails that could use some serious TLC. maybe a bandaid with that MORE signature. A few wooded bridges over and through some of the bogs, directing traffic so that things to do not hit a point of no return.

The trail on the ridge was tight and narrow single track which put a smile on my face. The trails are surrounded by beautiful old growth hardwoods, but no time to take in the scenery. Just time to ride. Too much time starring into the glowing eyes on the trail side and I would surely be riding off trail and over the handlebars. We looped and turned, were forced to dismount for a few climbs. We regrouped as each of us had the pleasure of alternating crashes. My years of experiece, heightened fitness, and 29 inch wheels kept me ahead of Dave, stopping periodically, always pleased that he was not far behind, but always a tad frustrated that I had to stop at all. Thus is riding. There are those riders who have to wait for me, just my turn to return the favor. I lead and broke through countless spider webs. The stream crossings were clear and cold. On one stream crossing I ran over what looked like a snake or a fresh water eel. The sounds of the nearby train, the rumble of the trucks on 95 in the distance, and the music in the distance were all subtle and spooky enough to give night riding at patapsco that Blair Witch feel. Then looping back and running the same circle twice increased that Blair Witch spookiness. When passing the old abandoned houses we passed quickly and cautiously.

My unfamiliarity with the trails caused us to just scratch the surface. We managed to loop around doing pretty much the same set of trails up and back, with a reapeat of some of the loop in the middle. Which all turned out okay as when we started to head back I could estimate that when we get back to the car we would have ridden just under 2 hours. Ontop of that as we loaded the bikes into the back of the truck I could feel that my rear tire was losing air. We got out of the trail just in time. By the time we were back in DC my rear end was flat, complete loss of air.

We got back around 1am. Right on target with Dave's estimate to his pregnant wife Anna. I returned home to a long tall glass of water, some left over Pad Thai noodle, and a night cap. Took a shower, watched some tube, before climbing into bed I pryed Grant off Lisa's chest. Both asleep from the last feeding, took Grant to his crib upstairs and climbed into bed. My body was sore. Sleep felt good. The morning came on too fast.

Now it is time to move that wood!

Gotta roll!

more on this later
I need to figure out this wood thing
and get into work
I may have switched shifts, but I am not taking the day off!

Waking Up!
Today I switched shifts with my boss. Finally having the wood delivered for my 'deck project.' Woke up and the wood was already here, and I am without anyone to aid me in the transfer from the alley to the backyard. So, I choose to wake up slow, drink some coffee, and BLOG as I try to figure out how to handle this....Perhaps I should just head up to Mt. Pleasant Street and grab a day laborer.

Before I decide I will BLOG and read BLOGS.

In my search for a map of Patapsco State Park I found a link to one of my archives while doing a GOOGLE SEARCH, Gwadzilla Archive. Is it me of have I gotten really boring with my blogging? That archive page is clearly more interesting than this posting!

Maps for I search for something that I can view
(no I am not selling maps, I am just linking to a page that sells maps of various trails)

MORE (Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts) page with a few words from the City Bikes Chevy Chase shop manager.


World Cycling Productions
Today I did a little impulse purchase. Went online to order some classic road race films at World Cycling Productions.  Ordered two oldies but goodies......A Sunday in Hell and La Course en Tete. Both are amazing films, not sure why I ordered them now...guess all this talk of the tour had me thinking of some films that I always wanted. These two are up there with Pee Wee's Big Adventure (which is in my home collection) and The Bicycle Theif (which should be in my home collection) as some of the greatest cycling films of all time, throw Breaking Away in there and you never need to leave the house!
any other recommendations?
let me know

CLYDESDALE: What is a Clydesdale? gives us this.....
Clydes·dale Pronunciation: 'klIdz-"dAlFunction: nounDate: 1786: a heavy draft horse with feathering on the legs of a breed orig. from Clydesdale, Scotland
But in the world of cycling (and running) the Clydesdale Class is in reference to the rider/racer's weight.  In mountainbiking it is the East Coast standard that each rider over 200 pound qualifies as a Clydesdale,  while I have heard that the Western States use 220 as the Clydesdale Cutoff. It does not matter where I ride,  at the current time my tall thin (well, not thin) 230 lbs makes the grade on either coast. In reading a variety of forums it seems that there may be some dispute.  On the MTBR Forum there are many posts that compare the thin muscular rider to the shorter stout rider with greater body fat....
Well, let us not be comparing within the class, the actual comparison should be between the plus 200 rider and the standard 150-165lbs  riders. It is that large weight difference that makes the difference, not a measure of body fat. Yes, most Clydesdales tend not only to be larger, but also tend to be heavier and maybe a tad more fatty, but that is not the distinction. It all comes down to total weight, no factoring in height to weight ratios, BMI, or the Special K pinch on the spare tire. The scale is the only device needed to make this classification. 
Dirt Rag's Clydesdale Forum....
I have race as a Clydesdale for years, well, when offered. Up until recently the Clydesdale Class was a class that did not seem to get much respect. It for some reason was taken as some sort of novelty class. But if people were to take the time to look at the finishing times of the winning Clydesdales they would see that this class is no joke.....these guys are not just big, but they are fast. In years past the Clydesdales were often given a beginner class course length, when I have always felt that the Clydesdale should be nothing less than Sport and in some cases Expert.  I do not mind the distance being closer to Sport, as I must admit that part of my Clydesdaleness is expressed in my love for riding but my distain for is too much like homework. So, I tend to ride and race, and do very little riding that I would call training. Which will have to change in the next few weeks as I get ready for the Shenandoah Mountain 100!
Not to toot my own trumpet, but if I don't who will?
At the local Wednesday at Wakefield (WAW) I raced the last two races of the series in the Clydesdale Class. As the course was moderately flat I opted to race my single speed Karate Monkey without suspension (well, suspension seatpost) and found that my times were competitive over all!  My times put me faster than the Sport Class (which tends to be the class of the sandbagger) had me strong in Single Speed Class, and although my race was three laps, I was fast compared to the Experts first three laps of 4. In this case bringing some respect to the Clydesdale Class. Now, I must admit....on the flatter courses the Clydesdale is at less of a disadvantage, it is climbing that is the greatest hinderance. So in recent times I have been flip flopping Classes.....Always racing Clydesdale when there is that option, but racing Expert if I do not feel I will be dropped off the back and racing Sport if I feel that is the most rational option.
I forgot....
What was my point?