June 2013

Month: June 2013

Do not try this at home

I took my first gnarly header over my handlebars the other day… I refuse to engage in finger-pointing (particularly since I have about a 50% blame-share) but I would like all pedestrians to please listen on multi-use paths for people like me who need to get by them. Had I been able to remain on the sidewalk, I wouldn’t have had to get off the sidewalk. This is important, because when I got back on said sidewalk, it decided to jam my wheels in a way that stopped bike momentum. This is a problem, because I kept going… and fell on the rough sidewalk… and skidded… for a few feet.

ouch

Ouch.

Contact point numbers 1-5 now all are pretty shredded up, but healing. The left knee never really wanted to close up until about 2 days in (hint: that’s when you’re supposed to get stitches I think?). The road rash on my left forearm is the worst… that’ll take a week or more to stop smarting (see above). The heel-of-hand scrapes are particularly fun when typing.

Like I said, I have to take some blame here… I was rushing, there was no need to take a risk and go off the sidewalk onto the grass. Still, I can’t help but feel like I need a little help from pedestrians who are unaware of requests to move to the right when a faster person (biker, runner, walker?) who is sharing the path with them needs to get by.

But now I have some solid biking scars to share. So there’s that.

It’s Goblin Time

Back in the day, there used to be Miller Time.

Today, I polished off a major project that was a monkey on my back for months… so, I’m reminded of that old commercial.

So, I went to pick up some beer and look what I found at the corner market:

IMG_3381This seems familiar… hmmm….

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Behold, the Green Goblin!
Behold, the Green Goblin!

Ahh yes, the Goblin. I believe it’s awakening from his slumber in a box in my brother’s garage. It hasn’t rolled since last summer’s adventure, and in two weeks… I’ll be back to get it ready for a Portland to San Francisco ride.

IT SHALL BE GLORIOUS!

(Ok, I’ll admit to having had a couple of those beers. Please disregard the all caps.)

GLORIOUS! HUZZAH!

Crossing the river and heading home

I woke up with the sun… and the frogs (seriously… all night with the croaking? Or whatever you call it?) ready for the last leg of the mini-tour. I had decided to cross the Potomac at White’s Ferry using the nifty private cable ferry… 2 bucks and a couple minutes of aquatic traversing:

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The campsite I stayed at the night before was just around the bend above. As I was rolling off, the guy who was sharing the other side of it with me was getting ready to kayak the rest of the way to DC. Lots of ways to find adventure…

Once on the other side of the river, I was able to bike a few more miles into Leesburg and grab a nice breakfast at a local diner. I had about 40 more miles to ride, and I wanted to beat the rain. I chose the Washington & Old Dominon trail, otherwise known locally as the W&OD, pronounced (unfortunately) “wad” – not kidding.

Not  a great experience. In fact, I don’t think I like the W&OD all that much. There’s not much shade, and because the trail is paved there’s a fair number of racer types who are more concerned about making their times than sharing the trail. It’s not everyone (far from it – I get along just fine with bikers of all stripes), just enough “Lances” to make the ride less enjoyable.

Next time I’ll take a little mud, some more shade, and a lot more solitude on the C&O.

Final tally for the day… 44.9 miles total. Total for the weekend, about 120 miles (roughly the distance from DC home to the cabin). Feeling pretty good about next month… the big hills are tougher fully loaded, but that’s what they make low gears for, right?

This ride’s for the birds…

Today was a little humid for my taste, but mild by summer standards (please do not remind me it’s spring… My weather nerds taught me a cool term called meteorological summer). I rode from my campsite to Brunswick,MD and had a good encounter and two meh encounters.

Good – a gorgeous heron that didn’t mind a close up:

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Bad… A flat rear tire (by far my least favorite to change)) and then my entire rear rack falling off the bike… 2 miles apart… 2.5 miles from Brunswick. Dude.

About 45 minutes delayed, I nabbed lunch at the spectacularly cool Beans in the Belfry:

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I had a much easier 20 mile ride back to tonight’s campsite near White’s Ferry. My neighbor is a kayaker:

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And I just saw a deer saunter by his tent. Very cool.

So, figure about 60ish muddy miles, maybe 5 on a slowly flattening tire (yes it was that muddy I didn’t notice!). Not bad. Tomorrow I cross the Potomac into Leesburg for breakfast, then take the W&OD back home. I’ll confess, with the muddy surface and occasional downed trees blocking today, I’ll happily take pavement tomorrow!

Quick escapes

It’s amazing how fast you can get away from a city… DC in particular… by bike. After dropping off my dog Louis for a weekend with his number one fan (I’m not kidding – he has one) I was a 90 minute ride of 20ish miles to a gorgeous riverside campground. How often do we fritter away 90 minutes and it gets us no place interesting or rejuvenating?

Also nice here tonight, but sadly unphotographable – the fireflies.

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Gearing up (get it?) for my tour

After a week of solid work, I’m ready to get back on my bike to get in some miles and test some new gear. This past Sunday, I tried one of the more challenging rides in the region (“The Blueridge Challenge“) complete with an 8% grade hill. It compares favorably to some of the bigger hills I hit in Oregon and California, and while I wouldn’t say it was easy, it built my confidence up for the ride. I even rode it pretty fast considering.


This weekend, I’m looking at a flatter ride to focus more on riding fully loaded for hours and hours. Weather looks good, so I think it’ a C&O kind of weekend. More from the trail to be sure…

Best news of the day: coffee the wonder drug

coffee
I am a coffee maniac. While I don’t drink nearly as much as I did in my Portland days (cough cough 8 cups a day cough), I love me some dark roasted, super strong black coffee. We’ve seen all the studies that go back and forth on the benefits of coffee versus the hack science that dares to suggest coffee could be bad for you.*

So, it is with great pleasure that I quote an article about the latest pro (and therefore correct) coffee study:

Other recent studies have linked moderate coffee drinking — the equivalent of three or four 5-ounce cups of coffee a day or a single venti-size Starbucks — with more specific advantages: a reduction in the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, basal cell carcinoma (the most common skin cancer), prostate canceroral cancer and breast cancer recurrence.

Perhaps most consequential, animal experiments show that caffeine may reshape the biochemical environment inside our brains in ways that could stave off dementia.

All hail coffee for keeping me cancer free, diabetes free and keeping my faculties in later life.

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*I could be accused of confirmation bias here, if I weren’t correct that all pro-coffee studies are good, and all anti-coffee studies are the work of the devil, and those responsible should be punished.

More Tranquility Tour announcements

We’re up to 14 cities as of right this moment…

More to come… I’m happy to be able to write about biking this weekend though. Stay tuned!

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