Rants on Cycling and on Life


Base Jumping.....
Base Jumping seems to be man's effort to replicate the actions of a Flying Squirrel on Acid

that is some very freaky stuff....

all is fine for the base jumper unless....

and that is one very large UNLESS

unless there is a problem with the shoot
or unless they get a little squirrelly in the process
you most definitely do not want to get squirrelly!

what brings this up?

some films at the
Banff Film Festival
if you can not check out the films....
at least check out the clips

these films inspire athletes, travelers, film makers, and film watchers!

Beauty Secret*: How to lose weight and years off your life in a few easy to follow steps...

1- Grow large beard in the Fall
2- Wear large Amish-esque beard through winter (trim once if at all)
3- Go on vacation... while on vacation in sunny Florida shave beard
4- Return to work and life beardless and tan.... laugh at reactions

*this is a guaranteed method for most anyone to get a reaction from friends and co-workers that you have in fact lost weight and that you do in fact look ten years younger... but... this process is recommended for men only.... women who try this may find that they get a few odd reactions through the winter months.... although... once the beard is shaved! they too will get a wide variety of interesting comments and reactions

Bonsai 101
or better yet...
"How to Kill a Bonsai in Three Easy Steps."

1- Go to local florist and spend way too much money on a pigmy plant
2- Take Plant home
3- Never water Plant

there is another option.....

1- Open wallet and pull out Fifty Dollars Cash
2- Stuff money down drain
3- Flip Switch to Garbage Disposal


the used bike....
for so many reasons I am too old for this
been down this road before...
should-a known better than to let this happen again
as a rule I like to try and avoid buying or selling used bikes
it seldom goes well for me

a month or so ago a friend at a party asked if I had a used bike to sell
I said no
the topic changed
we talked as we moved forward toward the bar to get a drink
I got my drinks he got his
we exchanged salutations and then
we each went across the room to our respective wives
delivering the drinks as good husbands are supposed to do

then later in the night as we each worked the cocktail party crowd we found that topic again...
sure enough...
again I am asked if I have a used bike to sell
again I say no
we let the topic flow into something else.... maybe our children..... maybe our dogs..... maybe real estate in our neighborhood... maybe the topic of public schools
these are the things that adults talk about

then as the night moves forward I start to think....

now that I am in the world of the 29er.... I have all sorts of bikes to sell!
the 26 inch wheel bike no longer suits my needs.
where did this guy go? I need to start selling ALL OF MY 26 Inch Wheel Bikes!

so I approach this friend before I leave.... this time saying
yes... I have a bike to sell you
... I have two bikes in mind.... both beaters.... both fender equipped commuters
nothing special.... not mountainbikes... not race worth bikes
just bikes.... basic bikes
you will have to come over and take a look
we will see what fits you
we will see what appeals to you

the next day I get a call
it is this same guy
this same guy
calling to confirm that this was not just talk in the bar
that it wasn't the whiskey that needed a bike
he wants a bike
he wants to buy my bike
he wants to buy it ASAP
he wants to be on the bike and free of a multi-transfer commute that is from bus to bus to bus
he wants all of this to happen fast

I tell him that whatever I sell him will have to go into the shop for a tune up and some minor repairs
he is all for that immediate extra expense after the used bike purchase price

we hang up the phones and he walks down the road to look at what I have to offer.....
while he is headed over I grab a key to my garage to pull out the two bikes

I have two bikes to choose from that I feel will suit his needs
a two year old Cannondale Bad Boy.....
an ancient Trek mountain bike that is lacking vital parts
the price is 150 for either....

the Cannondale is ready to roll
I alert him to a spoke starting to pull through the rim of the rear wheel
something he will just want to replace immediately
then there is also the worn chain and cassette..... still good
but not far down the road these things may need to be replaced
for the most part this bike is ready for an urban assualt

then there was that old Trek with its slick tires and its ultra simple utilitarian persona
there were no cranks on this bike
the Alivio rear derailer did not match up with the XT rapid fire shifters
and the rear wheel as straight as it nearly was.... needed one spoke
it was the absence of the cranks that had me wondering

this person is drawn to the Charlie Brown Christmas tree version of a bike... he opts for the partless Trek
I can see the attraction
this bike has a certain character that seems more like Amsterdam than Trek
the black frame with black tape hiding all logos and names
the black fenders and the black rack
this bike could be ridden in the old country across the pond or any Mennonite community in the united states
this bike is plain
plain is this bike's character
plain yet purposeful

this bike served me well
this bike went through many phases... never much for dirt
but an excellent Canal Cruiser
an excellent winter lead sled that did not mind a pot hole here or there in the dark evenings of winter

lots of time in the big ring
lots of miles in traffic
lots of miles around town

in an effort to explain things I tell him that this is "a guitar without strings.... "
"we may find out down the road that there is a reason why this guitar lacks strings"

so some days pass, not many, then I get a call
not a rush call
but a call checking in... he is pumped... he wants a bike.... he wants this bike
I tell him that this bike needs some work... that I will assemble the bike and sell it to him for 125
having him know that it will need roughly 100 bucks worth of parts and labor
he is willing to take the bike with a box of parts and take it to a shop
I tell him that no shop will want to deal with that... let me assemble something that resembles a bike
then he can go to the shop

that night I go out to the garage and start digging for parts....
there needs to be a new rear wheel and a crankset
sure... I have these things....
my most wheels that I have are worth well more than 100 bucks a piece
he does not need my disc compatible Bontrager wheels....
I bastardized other bikes
making once complete bikes incomplete to make this incomplete machine complete again

after some time in the stand I take a step back and look at this bike
with the assistance of all the kings horses and all the king's men I am not going to get this bike running again....
some things are just "a miss"

so I call this friend.... no answer... I leave a message.....

"hey.... working on the bike... I think your time and money would be better spent on a new bike.... just go out and spend 400 or 500 bucks on a new bike and forget about this ancient money pit"

later that night....

I get a call back... "I want that bike.... that is my bike..... I hear what you are saying.... but I want that bike!"

I reiterate my point....
he holds his ground

I invite him over to pick it up the next day

the next day comes and the bike is not done
with the perspective buyer there I spend an hour with various lubes, greases, and degreasers....
mixing and matching chains and cassette..... directing his attention to the missing spoke and anything and everything that needs to be done on this bike

this machine now resembles a bike
not rideable.... but it rolls

the bell is off the handlebars
the Brooks saddle has been swapped for an old Vetta Gel
I look on at the rack, the fenders, the Tioga City Slick tires... and moan as he writes me a check...

"a check?"

I don't have a good feeling about this......

there is thanks
there is a reminder of what needs to be done
in the end I tell him that he is getting the bicycle for free... I am only charging him for labor

two days later and email hits my INBOX
the shop gave him an estimate beyond what I had anticipated...
but.... you go to MIDAS.... they are going to tell you that you need a new muffler
no one wants to work and repair stuff these days
it is all about remove and replace....

the check has not been cashed
there are no worries

he tells me that I need to remind him to listen to me next time
he offers to make good by taking me out for dinner and some drinks....

I warn him that he may be better off paying a hundred twenty five bucks as I can drink more than that with ease
he laughs
we leave feeling warm and fuzzy
well.. not quite warm and fuzzy

so yesterday I am rolling down the alley towards my house
headed up the alley from the woods I see the form of a man walking a bike with a dog by his side
the silhouette does not need to come closer into view for me to figure who this person is

when he arrives we have a pleasant exchange of hellos

there is no ill will, but.... I am a tad frustrated with how this whole bike sale went

in the end the goal was achieved which lesses my frustration
he did in fact buy a bicycle and is riding it to and from work
that was the goal
not to reanimate this machine
not for me to be 125 dollars richer
the goal was to get this guy on a bike
to have him riding rather than driving or taking public transportation

not only is he riding his bicycle
he is getting more exercise
his world view is changing

he now sees car drivers and driving safety much how I see things
he will become healthier, stronger, and more conscionsous of the world
with a perspective that he did not hold prior

mission accomplished

it was a round about route to get there
a route that need not to have involved me
but what the hey....
so I turned a few wrenches and got some grease under my nails

no worries

now I can take all those parts back that I missed so badly....
the XT levers....
the LX Cranks....
those super wide riser bars....
all back in my hands!
back into the garage where they belong

I have a better idea for this bike....
let me see if I have enough Christmas lights to decorate this whole bike for a display on my roof
a beacon for cyclists in the night
who happen to be riding on roof tops

mark your calendars....
March 15th!
I can not make it.... but still want to share the word!

my buddy Duck doing a little Rock-N-Roll down south in the Outer Banks


today after work

today I tried to get out pretty close to the sound of the whistle
it does not always go that way
today was not bad
actually, today was quite good
early is better.... if not best... but we can not justify leaving work early all the time
try to save the times I leave early for the times when I have to leave early
ontime or a few minutes after are plenty good enough
staying late sucks... it happens.... but it sucks

was able to roll out of work all suited up in all sorts of gortex and polypropylene finding myself out the front door rolling down M Street by 5:15
not quite "out on my brain on the 5:15" although the "streets are suductive"
(check Quadrophenia to explain obscure quotes)

it is tough
in life we do not always have the liberty to hand pick the day do fulfill the various tasks of life
we take the day as it presents itself... optimal weather or not
when you go on a vacation to go skiing.... you hope for snow
when you go on a vacation to go to the beach... you hope for warm sunny days
when you get out of work with only enough time for a 45 minute ride you want it to be.... at least pleasant

it was less than pleasant
sure the wet snow had stopped
in fact... most of the snow had either melted or been blown away
the roads were clear of everything other than madness
the wind was "honking"
not sure of the actual measure of the wind... but if there were any dingys on the water today... the sailors would find themselves stranded ontop of an icy "turtle"

what the heck..... no worries... I was dressed for it
all geared up for a cold wet rainy morning.... so... I pedaled down the road
there was time for a quick 30 to 40 minutes on the bike
bobbing weaving dodging down the road I moved
trying to put myself in the safest place on the road to maintain momentum
trying to anticpate and guage the wind so that it did not blow me into the path of a fast approaching car

expect the unexpected is an old adage that fits here
the stop go of the red lights manage to favor my rhythm over the erratic stop go of the cars

did I run some red lights?
on the bicycle I see it closer to leading than stealing
my slight modification of the red light is no different than the car driver's modifying the speed limit on the shared roads
well... there is one difference.... if I get into an acciedent.. I am the victim.... if the speed car gets into an accident due to their modifications.... well... there may be more victims... hopefully not me

as I enter Georgetown I see a familiar form ahead
nothing more than a silhouette with the combination of distance and the afternoon's setting sun
the height of the setting sun glaring right at eye level of all the drivers and cyclists heading down M Street crossing number streets counting up does not help things... and does not give me confidence of what will happen with the cars around me
the body type along with the low rider front wheel panniers are all contributing to my guess of who the rider ahead may be
a measure of his pace and my potential for momentum left me confident to catch him before he turned off any side street; even with the single speed geared for off road use and the wind hitting me from all directions other than my back
my thought of who this rider is also gave me the reasoning to think that he was staying straight all the way down to Revolution Cycles
which also allowed me to scale my need of pace and momentum
the algorithm with all of its information turned to be correct.... it was SuperDave
sure enough he is headed to Revolutions Cycles... only in Clarendon and not the Georgetown location
immediately Dave had recognized me
my height, my size, and my voice and even my bike were enough to feed him the answer
with helmet, glasses, and balacava making face recognition an absent variable

one of the great things about cycling..... I am just riding
for me my route, pace, and distance can be altered by socializing
distance at fast pace and distance at slow pace can each be a positive experience
only problem... as much as I would love to go to Clarendon.... it is not going to happen today
Clarendon does not take me towards home
I had already altered my dip into Rock Creek at Penn and 28th street to go straight down M to catch Superdave
so going across Key Bridge towards Rosslyn and looping back on the Mt Vernon trail
crossing back into DC on either Memorial Bridge or 14th Street bridge depending on how the mood carries me
before hitting the bridge Superdave starts to brace himself for the wind on the bridge
well...... not just the wind.... but the cold
it is frigid... but the wind is powerful.... powerful and carrying an icy cold bite

we take the right hand side of the bridge
less pedestrians on the right side than the left
so we can free up some concentration on conversation
we try to catch up
but most of our conversation is about the weather and the wind
it is cold
but the wind is intense
not gusty
long consistent powerful thrusts of wind
to stay upright I leaned at nearly a 45 degree angle
trusting the wind could not let up so abruptly to let me drop to the ground
it was absurd
once across the bridge we laughed about the experience
as we waited for the light to change
each thinking it would have made a pretty funny photograph

Dave went to work
I went towards home

once on the Mount Vernon trail I was alone
the streets were mobbed with all sorts of people rushing home via cab, buses, foot, car, bicycle... okay less bicycle and foot than usual
there is some snow on sections of the trail
guess the local users know when not to use the trail
most is ridable at a slow pace
only one section to dismount
again the wind's furry dictates my pace and the angle of my operation
the white caps one the river make the Potomac look more like an ocean than a river
under Memorial then onto 14th street
again the wind nearly blows me over until I grow confident with the 45 degree angle
only this time I have a road cyclist coming towards me
so I get a bit of an idea how absurd I look
he stalls to let me pass
as the path was only wide enough for one cyclist to ride along at a 45 degree angle
I stop
we have a laugh about the conditions
I say something
he says something
we both laugh
neither knowing what the other has said
the wind took the words away before they could be heard
back on the bike opting for cross town rather than any more time along the river

zipping around through traffic was not an option
the power of the wind made each street move like a long steady climb
yet being forced to take the whole lane just the same
there was no choice
the wind was also taking me from side to side

there were a few confrontations
a few moments of anger and frustration

more on this later
need to sip some wine and wind down

there was a moment of road rage
some pretty boy kook in a Range Rover flipped me off as he passed me on 16th Street
sure I had juked into the line of traffic and forced them to slow as I took the tunnel route under a traffic circle
but the combination of the wind and the single speed kept me snailing through the tunnel
these were hurricane style winds
weather report style winds
and in the tunnel.... these were wind tunnel style winds
and I was experiencing them in wind tunnel style

so he flipped me off...
ten gets caught at a light
knowing I am somewhat a contributed to his frustration I try not to over respond
the vehicle that he would have been behind is two blocks ahead, not a car between them...
he will be there when the light turns green
yet he still flipped me off
rather than getting angry and flipping him off or spitting on his windshield
I try to turn the other cheek
I am a slow learner.... Or maybe I should just admit that I am not that bright
in my personal way of exaggerating I close my eyes and give a big kiss with my mick jagger-esque lips to the passenger side door window
his hot yuppie wife is as much of a sprite as he is
they are a really handsome couple
model hot
add the range rover and the hipper than Ikea chair and table in the back of their SUV and we really have something here
so... this pretty couple has moved to Washington DC.... not long enough to even change their plates..... and they are already flipping people off
through the closed window there are words
not sure what they were
but there were words
my words degraded from comical to crude pretty fast
the light turned green and we took off..... it was a bit of a drag race
the wind was not in my favor
there was no way that I could maintain his pace
he was assertive
not in any rush to escape me
he was just racing me
what do I know? I can not read his mind... but that was my thought

my blood boiled....

he pushed my buttons....

it was silly
before I took the sidewalk to battle the combination of the hill on 16th Street and the wind I was already laughing
not sure if I was angry because he gave me the finger
not sure if I was angry because he was from out of town and I am a "local" ... you know I am a CUTTER he is a transcient college boy (only we are all a little older)
not sure if I was angry because he was prettier than I am , cause his car is nicer than mine is, or if it was because he has better taste in lounge chairs than I have
any way you call it....
it is all so silly
as silly as it all was.....I need to start taking things more seriously

avoid the confrontation
ride defensively
if aggressive moves are defensive moves... do it
avoid the confrontation
do not treat it like a game
remove ego and attitude from the moment
think with your mind not your ego

part of being a good dad is getting home alive
can;t read anyone a good night story if you are dead


some mornings dressing my boys is like bathing a couple of cats.....
so I am guessing... as I am a dog person who has never bathed a cat



Biomega has revamped their site....
so has Bontrager... but Bontrager Rants are no more



this morning when plotting the day lisa asked me if I had scheduled some help for this afternoon
to that I said, "no...... don't you think I can handle it?"
lisa has plans to meet up with some of the girls for Vida's bridal shower
lisa proposes the trailer, my eyebrows raise, I propose the trailer to Dean, Dean leaps up in anticipation
the Burley Bicycle trailer is a bit of a process as it is always disassembled and tucked into my junk packed one car garage
the trailer is even more of a process in the winter time
in addition to bringing out the bike, dragging out the trailer, attaching wheels to the trailer, attaching the trailer to the back of the bike
there is....
accessing the temperature
getting in the right gear for me
selecting the right gear for Dean
after setting aside the sweatshirt, the jacket, gloves and hat; Dean dresses himself
when he wants things
when things can go in his way
these are the times when he is most focused
these are the times when Dean is most efficient
Dean manages to get dressed much faster than I am able to get the trailer ready

strapped in the trailer I put a water bottle and some popcorn by Dean's side
books and toys are already in the trailer
it is significantly warmer than last week
no real need for his gloves
no need for the chemical hand warmer that I have already taken from the pouch
no need for the plastic windshield today, we will go with the mesh screen cover instead
as I snap the cover over the trailer I look at my handsome young son
there is a grin as wide as the sky on Dean's face..... this makes me grin as well
as I pedal down the alley behind my house I ask if he want so go the same route as last weekend or a new route.... without hesitation Dean exclaims, "NEW ROUTE! I WANT TO GO ON THE NEW ROUTE!" not demanding..... but expressing joy and excitement
as I approached 19th Street various bike paths with various points of interest were calculated as I measured the current time, the time of the bridal shower, and the strength and desire in my legs

as we stopped at 19th and Park I turned back to Dean and proposed the airport
with the same level of enthusiasim Dean said, "I want to go to the airport!" only with ALL CAPS
that was pretty much the last we spoke for a while
sure...... I turn back to him and say something..... something that he does not hear
then.... Dean says something to me.... most things I do not hear... wind in the ears and all that

Dean gives a play by play
it is really a great perspective
Dean makes mention of obvious things that I just do not notice anymore
adults do not see the world as children see the world
and yes... I am an adult
Dean's play by play requires some involvement from me
for Dean to speak he needs his listener's full attention
so without eye contact there needs to be an audible response
so as we approach the tunnel on Beach Drive.... after Dean says "look at the tunel" the fifth time I shout... "I SEE THE TUNNEL"
as the sidewalk in the tunnel is the standard route when I am headed to or from work.....
the sidewalk is too narrow for the Burley Trailer
so to my pleasure the snow is melted enough that the bike path that winds through the back of the zoo is open
so Dean starts to shout, "Its the ZOO! Its the ZOO!" before he can get to the fifth exclamation I shout back.... "YES! IT IS THE ZOO!" with a big smile on my face
the next ten minutes go pretty much like that with mention of trees, other cyclists, roller bladers, types of cars, and the creek by our side

then silence.... complete silence

when there is a second for a quick glance back I see that Dean is sacked out
all lumped over in what appears to be an uncomfortable rag doll pose
but to a child there is great flexibility
with Dean asleep I debate about my route and my timing
then while out on Haines Point I am snapped out of my day dream by some utterance about a train that was on the tressell that we were about to pass under
Dean was awake, he had woken up as abruptly as he had fallen asleep
we talked about the boats as we both looked over towards Maine Avenue and then some sort of stucture that is a Maritime/Naval Universtity/College
as we move down the long drag I watch golfers take advantage of the spring like day
over near the water a man talks madly to himself as he fishes with a fishing line... no sport here... it is all about lunch
he breaks away from his personal debate and gives me, my bike, my son, and my trailer a wave
I wave back and give a hearty, "hey, whats goin on?" as he gives a clear and polite, "hello, how are you?"
then as we make the curve by the statue of The Awakening I pass an assortment of people getting out of their cars
the same cars that passed me nearly doubling the speed limit just a few hundred yards back
exiting the curve I turn into the wind
oddly it was against the wind the straight away leading to the curve
oddly enough the straight away leading away from the curve is into the wind as well
as a little girl steps for the curb her father slows her with a gentle touch to the shoulder
then upon the pass in a form of thank you I smile and say, "I am not sure if I stop if I could start up again"
Dean saw a toddler park and made a very polite and appropriate plea to stop at the toddler park
having my sights set on the airport I tried to sell him on the airport option
so I pointed over to the left
just 20 yards to my side was the shore of the potomac with the airport within sight on the other side

Dean loves the airport
Dean has always loved airplanes
Dean loves an airplane when it is a dot in the sky
Dean loves airplanes when we are going on a trip

Dean is sold..... more time is bought
we are on our way to the park by the airport

I am passed by an older couple on LightSpeed Titanium road bikes
they are moving pretty good.... guess they did not get the memo that we are pedalling into the wind

past the Jefferson Memorial, tempted to go in.... another time, across the 14th street bridge where I can not resist stopping for 20 seconds as an airplane comes soaring right overhead.... landing gear down..... making its approach to Washington National..... I mean Reagan National
back to rolling forward

Dean is getting ancy
Dean wants to get out

there is an exchange about how close we are to our destination and how he can get out then
we stop at a park by the airport itself where the planes take off or land depending on the direction of the wind
today they are landing...... I prefer the landing to the take off as an experience
Dean is loving it!
it is pretty awesome
actually a little scary with all of this wind
watching the planes surf an awkward bank turn

after a quick pee, a juice box, some popcorn, and a few more planes we are both suited up and headed back towards home
there are still planes over head
eventually Dean wants to go home

we load up the trailer and point for home
the ride back is much like the ride there
only Dean sleeps less...
which means that there will be more frequent observations as well as a few more frequent complaints
Dean has had enough.... he wants out.... he is strapped down in this little trailer... unable to stretch his legs unable to move like he would want to move
I try to distract him
I try to convince him we are on the way home
distracting him tends to be better than rationalizing with him
the complaints are seldom... but they are complaints
Dean is only voicing the same things that anyone else would feel in such a situation

we get home just in time for me to aid in watching Grant so Lisa can get primped for her bridal shower party....
Grant of course will not be down graded from Mommy 1.0 to Daddy beta version
so Grant crawls around as Lisa gets dressed
I slap in a dvd for Dean so I can try to pull Grant off of Mommy Lisa's ankle
he is a strong little Koala bear... clinging to his momma.... never letting go
we walk her to the door
once outside there is enough to entertain Grant
we sit on the stoop and draw with sidewalk chalk for a few minutes
then back inside to check on Dean
Dean is fine with his movie
so I center my attention on Baby Grant
we go back downstairs for some quality one on one time
he shows me all of his tricks
his walking
his climbing
his efforts to throw and catch a ball

we have a serious bonding session....

it is good for me to get some personal time with the wee one
once he gets bored with me in the living room I make a change of plans

it is too nice to be inside

I convince Dean that we will go to Turtle Park....
I fast forward the the DVD a few chapters as Dean is determined to watch the movie to its end
he is not fooled
he knows that there is something going on
he demands that I stop
I try to be more sneaky about it
he is not fooled

I let the movie run its final chapter and we head to the park
it is nearly 70 degrees in March.... phenomenal!

after turtle park we head to my Dad's place for a Chinese carry our feast....
my brother meets us there
the cousins play more than they eat
it is a great close to an awesome weekend

not sure if it was an effort to start getting pumped for the rapidly approaching mountain bike race season or a search for an email I wrote about my old Landcruiser being stolen and returned only be stolen and returned again..... like a Ghetto Zip Car
in this self absorbed search I stumbled upon a race report on Poor Farm, a location that is hosting a race this spring, a location that I had forgotten that I had raced at.....

here is the report as it was written and sent to my fellow DCMTB members aka City Bikes Mountain Bike Team Members.....

the dust has settled
a few days have passed
but before too much time passes and all is forgotten I will try to
make a recap of Sunday's race at Poor Farm
once this is done I can focus on work as well as look to the weekend

Race at Poor Farm (another Dan's Race)
This report will be quick and to the point. There will again be no
need for a play by play recap of the events of the night prior to the
race. How much red wine was consumed or how I almost turned into a
pumpkin because I missed my self imposed midnight curfew are not
entirely relevant. That my son slept late, thus allowing me to sleep
late, almost too late, then his accidentally breaking a lamp as he
climbed around the room like a little hairless monkey is not really
part of the story either. My 18 year old truck's refusal to start and
that I did not get onto the road until 10am is not really any
different from any other race day so I will not drag on about these
things. Instead what is most important is that I approached this race
with a healthy attitude. All my late in the season riding burn out
malaise was pushed aside, any ambivalence towards riding and racing
was forgotten. What is most important on this day was my positive
approach to this race and my intention to deliver my top
performance. No intention of slipping into a groove and staying out
of racers way, as I too am a racer and I have as much right to fight
for position as anyone else.

with that all said here is the basic breakdown...

There were only six Clydesdales on this day, but those who were there
all had as much of a chance of winning as any other. As this course
is not that technical nor are there any long climbs there are no real
list of advantages or disadvantages to me or any of the other
racers. On a short flat course like this one it all comes down to
who wants it more. Each racer on the line is known to be a seasoned
rider/racer with enough skill and speed to rip through a course of
this style. Spirit can go a long way when there are no climbs to
worry about. At the start line there was the usual pre-race psych
out. As I spoke with each of the other riders I found out that no one
has been riding, no one is ready, no one got any sleep, etc....the
most humorous list of complaints came from Phil who said he was just
going to hang out in the back and see how he felt. Well. That theory
did not last long. When Dan said "GO!" Phil took off like a
jackrabbit! I fought just to keep up with him and only caught him as
he entered the single-track. We rode together for a while, enjoying
the competition and the camaraderie, but I felt I could go a little
faster so made a request to pass. That is pretty much how the race
went, I pedaled as hard as I could, on the first lap I was completely
unfamiliar with the terrain, thus over accelerating and having to
slam on the brakes as to not run off the course on each turn. Reeling
in the racers in front of me and fighting to find a good place to
pass (always trying to be courteous, even when winded), always
looking for an efficient line and a realistic top speed. With a good
attitude and feeling strong I was able to really enjoy myself. Tried
not to day dream too much, felt my speed drop a few times as I fell
into some of the classic day dreams (i.e.. me on Letterman, me as a
millionaire, me with hair, and the one that gives me the most energy- my son
Dean laughing) There were also the classic clogs in the single- track
pipeline (the Caterpillar Clusterfuck), but that is to be
expected on a single-track course of this design. The sound of tires
approaching from the rear always wake people up, this gets the pedals
going again, but it is frustrating when you want to go faster than
their current speed (as I hope I did not frustrate the Expert/Pro
racers as they lapped me on my last lap and tried to make a pass,
which I allowed at the first possible opportunity) But I was able to
make enough passes and get around the course fast enough to keep out
of ear shot of the other Clydesdale racers. Each racer is dealing
with the same list of variables. Everyone in each class needs to race
for the hole shot, then each racer needs to deal with passing and
being passed. As for the tight turns and unfamiliar
terrain...preriding is always an option, not one that I tend to
approach, but it is there for anyone who wants it. The week before
the race I had spoken with Swampy and few other riders and got a
basic rundown to the course's demands. Figuring it was a three lap
race, I could use the first lap to get acquainted with the layout of
the land.

The race went well. It was a fun course, great weather for riding and
racing, fall was in full effect. I had traveled with an assortment of
cold weather gear, none of which was needed. The weather was hot and
dry with low humidity, a great day for a spin on dry hard packed
trails littered with falling leaves.

It was a fun day. The traffic on the way back was a hassle, but it
was great to get out on the bike. It was also great to yap it up with
a bunch of my biking buddies. My times were strong. I managed to win
the Clydesdale Class by a couple of minutes and my time was fast
enough to have finished 4th in the Sport Vet category (aka The Three
Lap Experts.)

glad I was able to get out there
it was a good time
a great way to spend the day

last night I went ahead and put those wheels on my cross bike man! should
have done that months ago and am looking forward to hitting the cross race
at Reston this
upcoming weekend
hopefully I can bring a fresh attitude and race hard
although I can already feel the excuses brewing