Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Schwisshhhh ... Swoooshhhh

Well it was beautful out tonight. I think it was probably just a hair under 70 degrees when I headed out tonight. No wind. Not much in the way of clouds. I even had to wear sunglasses. Like I said. Beautiful.

So I headed up to the CCT for a ride. Right at the begining of the trail I knew things were going to be a bit hinky. Some bonehead was using the trail for sprints. Why I have no idea but there were a bunch of kids lurking about at the end and other kids running fast. I know DC schools stink and all, but you have to have some sort of track. Regardless the trail ain't the place to do it.

After that cleared up things were good for a while, but about six miles into the ride my legs started protesting loudly. I think I distinctly recall them saying "I don't know what you had in mind for tonight Jones, but we want nothing to do with a bicycle ride." Any way I slogged through that and kept plugging away. One leg over the other. Eventually my legs got up to speed **oh look its a pun** WOO HOO! Anyway it took me about 10 miles to warm up. Weird huh.

Once I warmed up it was about six-ish. Remember that "its beautiful" thing. Yeah everyone and their brother was on the trail. With their freaking dogs! Last thing I want is to roll through a pile of pooh and have my wheel...well anyway you get the picture. Note to dog walkers. Take them off the trail. And if I run one over, I'm going to feel kinda bad after I scrap myself off the pavement.

Anyway, back to this weather bringing everyone out thing. Apparently walking two abreast is really popular and needs to be done on the trail. Now I'm all for running two abreast. The runners are good. They understand yeilding to traffic overtaking them and are good trail citizens. But these damn walkers. Well you're walking. Use a damn side walk. Walk through a neighboorhood. Just get off the damn trail. Its not like you can't do your WALKING say absolutely anywhere else. So all these damn walkers on the trail means half my ride was consumed by "Passing on your left" ... "Coming up on the left" ... which is great, except when there is a bike with a nice big mercury vapor (yeah I know its a LED but it reminds me of the ones on the beamers -- oh look another pun. they're everywhere tonight) coming in the other direction. obviously the walkers are two abreast and you're lucky if the bonehead in the center doesn't step in front of your bike ... don't hold your breath waiting for him to drop behind their friend. Anyway I felt like Tommy Moe swooshing in and out of gates. Only mine move and are oblivous to their surroundings.

I have an itching feeling that when you combine DST starting next week and the weather getting nicer the population of WALKERS on the trails is going to increase. Wonder if I could outfit the bike with a cowcather.

Anyway the ride was really good. 24.5 miles in 1 hr. 52 mins. 13 MPH pace.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Today's Departure

Today I hit two new trails, the BWI Trail and the Baltimore and Annapolis (B&A Trail) Trails. I crawled out of bed a little later than I would have hoped and didn't get on the road until about 1:30 and didn't hit the trail until a bit after two. The conditions were pretty good for riding app. 55 degrees and not much in the way of wind. Was pretty grey and overcast.

As you can probably guess the BWI Trail is near the Baltimore Washington International Airport (which apparently may be renamed the Thurgood Marshall BWI Airport). The BWI trail is a roughly a lap around the perimeter of the airport with various ins and outs around the grounds. I parked at the Dixon Aircraft Observation Area on Dorsey Road. Its a great place to start and is right at the end of one of the runways. It seems that a fair number of my rides involve planes zooming overhead. Next time you fly into our out of BWI I would suggest a visit its a great place for the big and little kids and there is a playground to keep everyone occupied in between take-offs. Anyway I zoomed off on my ride. Its an unusual trail. A bit of a combination of industrail wasteland (riding over highways and past Lock-Mart offices) and then through a horsefarm and around wetlands. And of course the omnipresent sound of jet engines. On a less aestetic note, the trail is well maintained and was not at all crowded on a Saturday afternoon.

After doing most of the loop I transitioned (poorly I would later discover -- no need to ride though neighboorhoods and across Crain Highway) onto the B&A trail. The B&A trail is relatively well maintained and pretty flat. Runs around a local mall and then roughly down to Annapolis. A couple notes on the trail though. I think its probably better for running. It crosses a number of roads, so when cycling you're clipping in and out alot. Other than that it was good. I did notice something really odd though. About 3/4 of the way down the trail, there was a big patch of bamboo planted along the side of the trail. I can't imagine how bamboo is indigineous to Maryland. I'm wondering why with all the invasive species causing mischief in our parks the park police haven't pulled this stuff out. Finally along the north end of the trail there is a great planetary science project and some really great scuplture!

Other highlights of the 40 miles this weekend include regular doses of energy gels. These provied a great boost of energy during your ride. They also taste like ass. I tried the apple-cinnamon and espresso Hammer Gels. The apple cinnamon sorta tasted like apple pie from McDonalds, but not too much. The espresso one looked dreadful. Looked alot like a gelatious version of motor oil that was about 3 months overdue for a changing. The strawberry-banana from Power Gel tasted ok. The Vanilla was just plain vile. And it didn't have caffeine. Ick. It worked though which I guess is good, but I think the apple ones were my favorite. Anyway they work well for what they're supposed to do and they're alot less trouble than a power bar, but don't expect too much in the way of taste.

All in all a good ride, capped off by watching The Unbearable Lightness of Being on video.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Things That Don't Go Blink in the Night

Monday night's ride was amazingly uneventful. I headed out with the full intention of doing something like 25 miles. At least 2 hours. I rolled out of the office at 5:15 ish, and it was app. 50 degrees. A good night for biking.

The ride went well. I zipped around town and jumped onto the CCT. About 2 miles into the CCT I realized that in my haste to get out of the office, I had forgotten to affix the little blinky light to the back of my bike. Considering that the front light on my bike is almost completely useless (although it does a great job at depleting batteries. and four at a time) I decided that I better be off the trail before it got really dark.

So long story short, I only did 16 miles at a 13 MPH pace. It was a bit windy heading up the trail but when I turned around I had a tail wind and made some good time. Woo Hoo!

On a related note, if there are any bikers, cyclers, triatheletes out there, I would HIGHLY suggest getting a Road ID. I keep my ID with me in the back of my camelback, but I could see a paramedic having trouble finding it. Especially for those of us who have to ride through the city, well we know the sum of the car + bike equation. Being unconcious or incommunacative when help arrives is not good. Especially those of you who have allergies (imagine getting sideswiped by a car, have a bunch of injuries and then being pumped full of penicillin which you are allergic too. ugh.) Fortunately I am allegry free, but this is one of the best $20 I've spent.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Weather Forecasts Stink

It was cold last night. Not sub zero Artic cold, but too cold to be wearing a t-shirt and an undershirt. Had I known how COLD it was going to be I would have dresses appropriately, but since I looked at my weather forecast thing in FireFox and it said 45 degrees I thought it was relatively warm out. It was not in fact warm out, it was actually REALLY REALLY COLD.

Anyway, my ride was relatively uneventful. I quick zip down 14th across the bridge (I highly recommend this walk when its not ... everyone now ... REALLY REALLY COLD) down the MVT, across the 4 Mile Run Trail, through some neighborhoods and back. The ride was completely uneventful. 15 Miles around and hour and back. What killed me was that I left my gloves at the office, and between the cold, the wind and the wind generated by my bike, my hands were frozen into claw position by the end of the ride. Took me a couple warm cup o' soups to thaw out! Upperbody was a bit cold too, but not as bad as hands.


Lesson learned is that next time I walk outside and test the weather myself pre-ride. I should have probably learned this in something like 3rd grade. oh well.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

100 Mile Week!

Ok, so technically, it was a 97 mile week. 33 on Monday, 20 Friday night and 44 today, but who's splitting hairs. I'm pretty pleased with the workout I got in. All good rides. Monday's ride was a good spin up the CCT and through the city. Friday night's ride was a quick zip up and down the MVT and today's ride was my longest yet at 44 Miles.

This morning I joined the Baltimore Bicycling Club for their weekly ride. Within a mile of the ride starting I had pretty much lost sight of everyone. This didn't really concern me. I wasn't looking towards speed more towards distance.

The hills along the route were pretty decent. Gave me a good workout. Some interesting things to note. I came within about 20 ft of getting in the middle of a herd (not sure this is the proper term of art) of deer. As you may know, deer can weight quite a bit and rarely cross the road in an orderly manner. Anway I was far enough away that I wasn't on the receiving end of 300 Lbs of bounding deer, but close enough to get a good view. Although I must say after camping in Maryland all my life the novelty of seeing a deer has worn off. It was more a "Hey if you land on me, you're going to maim or kill me." type experience. But it was neat.

All in all it was a good ride. I did 44 miles in 3 hrs 44 minutes. I hear that riding a hybrid adds 3mph. Maybe that's true. I'm not too concerned about it though. I'm feeling better about my ability to finish the ride in June. Putting on some good miles and slowly but surely getting there.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Sebastian Join Team Tahoe Jones

As some of you may know, Sebastian the Bear has joined Team Tahoe Jones. Sebastian is Reagan's Bear, and he is helping me navigate the roads and do those extra miles. There are rumors he may be augmented by a lobster but this has yet to be verified.

Back on the Road

Well I couldn't have ordered up better weather than tonight's. It must have been 70 degrees when I headed out the door tonight. It was a wonderful ride tonight. My longest so far. Quick synopsis. Got riding at app. 5:30. Returned to office approximately 8:30. Total time in saddle: 2 hrs. 44 minutes. Miles: 33. Roughly a pace of 12mph. Not too bad considering alot of it was stop and go city traffic for a while.

The route was pretty good. Left my riding mate's office on K street, headed down K street onto the CCT. Road the CCT from Georgetown up to Rock Creek Parkway i think...and then I think we proceeded to head down rock creek parkway back towards town. But I must admit, I really wasnt' very sure where I was. I was basically just following the person in front of me. Anyway, we went through the twists and turns of Rock Creek Parkway back into town. This was mostly downhill and a pretty good ride, but even thought we were heading against traffic I doubt we made any friends on four wheels. Not alot of passing space on the parkway at night.

Anyway, it was a really good ride. As an aside....there are a number of little microclimates in DC. Periodically, we'd just get hit with bursts of warm air. A nice little treat. Anyway, my riding buddy and I parted ways in adams morgan, and I headed back downtown. I decided to head back down to Hains Point and do a couple laps. This was great except I'm continuing to have problems with my seat staying put. I tried again to tighten it down and this time succeeded and breaking the crappy bike tool I bought (see photo). This is going back to bike dr.

Anyway I was really pleased with my ride tonight. 33 Miles is good I'm building the base. I'll prob. do two 35 mile rides this weekend, weather permitting. I would like to ride tomorrow night, but if the National Weather Service is right (always a dicey proposition, we're going to have snain tomorrow night. Oh well