Despite Ma Nature trying to ruin things for me, the plan is to dust this big wheeled baby off and log some trail time. Even the rocky goodness an hour west may be too wet to ride though, got to play it by ear. It's mid-January here in the Mid-Atlantic and it's warm and rainy. What the hell is going on???
All Systems Go. //
Thursday - January 13, 2005
Wednesday morning, time to follow up with the Doctor, have him see how my progress has been on the thumb ligament repair. I have an early AM appoinment, makes me wait for an hour before he even shows up. I'm not too happy. Checks out the paper work from my physical therapist, looks at my hand and is pleased, even surprised at my progress. Tells me I don't need to come back and see him anymore. Sweet. Then, almost reluctantly (for fear of bad news) I ask him if I'm still on track to start mountain biking 3 months after the operation (it's been 2 so far), this is the time frame he told me right before going under the knife. What he tells me next I'm not ready for, hasn't even been a thought in my head. "You're ready now". What? Did I hear that right? Holy shit, I'm cleared for dirt a month early. I am stoked. I've really amped up the hand exercises the past few weeks and it seems to have paid off. If the trails weren't swamped from the recent rain I would have ditched work and been on them 15 minutes after I left his office.
I've still got work to do, flexibility and range of motion isn't 100% yet and I'm just now cleared for strength training. The thumb is weak. Back to the therapist today to start on that phase. We'll see how it feels on the trail.
Last night we did 32-33 on the pavement, weather of course dictated this, trails are swamped with all of this rain we've had lately. Not as bad as Cali by any means but certainly enough to nix the mountain biking.
A bit misty out, heavy fog, some of the heaviest I've ever ridden in. You could see the moisture in the air in the beam of your light. Made things a touch sketchy when looking for those hidden obstacles, looming posts and such in the trail. Every 2 minutes of so I had to wipe my glove across my glasses like a windshield wiper to clear the accumulated moisture that gave the illusion of an even thicker fog. Temps were warmer than usual though, which meant you could go a bit lighter on the clothes. Overall a nice, solid ride but the route is starting to get a bit too familiar. I know I'm not the only one craving dirt for Wednesday nights.
Seventy Five in O-Five //
Sunday - January 9, 2005
In hindsight, it looks like the Wednesday night ride was a warm up for the weekend. It started out at 39 degrees F and raining but that didn't stop 5 of us from going out and doing 30 miles. The temperature naturally dropped as the night wore on. Not the best conditions, hard to believe we had this many show up for an unexciting ride like this, but at least we were turning the cranks.
Saturday I drive down to the DC/Virginia border for a nice, long ride. Been needing it, so I came up with a route that I had been wanting to do, put out the word and got a few takers. It was raining steady all morning and when I pulled in the lot where we were meeting no one was there yet. Everyone else lives pretty close, so I figured at least someone would beat me there. And I think: Am I going to have to do this stupid ride by myself? Has everyone else had the good sense to sleep in and avoid the rain? Luckily the others start showing up, five of us total - four fixed gears and a multi-speed, and we get going in the cold rain.
On to a couple of local bike paths that eventually lead us to the W&OD, pavement pounding, rain still falling as we grind our way west. After an hour and a half or so we pull into a 7-11 for some food. The rain was supposed to die out by now according to the forecast and the temps are supposed to rise, but neither seems likely to happen. Back on the bikes, cold and stiff from a 10 minute stop we pedal on towards the ferry that will take us across the mighty Potomac river. By now the gloves are soaked and the cold has penetrated the gimp hand, bringing on a steady, dull ache. Luckily, the rain seems to die out around the time we get to the ferry. One dollar to get across and then we are on the C&O Canal. Time for the dirt - or should I say mud. Only 35 miles of it to deal with. The tires feel like they are velcro-ed to the trail, resistance is high in the muddy double track. Eventually the conditions get a bit better, the soil is stiffer but the gravel sends jackhammer vibrations through your seat to your ass. Seventy-five miles and 6.5 hours from the start and we are scarfing some hot food and sucking down cold beers, legs a bit sore but the soul quenched.