Want to check out some cool human-powered vehicles? Then head to downtown Baltimore on Saturday for the Kinetic Sculpture race. Most designs use or are based on bicycles. And they look really cool too. The course is on land, in the water and through the mud. Riding a bike is a great way to spectate.
Friday night saw enough rain come out of the sky that I contemplated building an ark. No trail on Saturday, I got up and headed out on a solo road ride spinning the fixed gear. The blood pressure hit the high numbers as I rolled past the trailhead watching the inconsiderate weekend warriors suiting up to carve some ruts in the trail. Yeah, I want to be on the trail too, but I've got self-control. Things got back to normal as I soaked in the mellow morning and went bombing around the neighborhoods and back roads of Catonsville, enjoying the scenery of the older, established neighborhoods where trees actually grow and the houses have some character.
Sunday was a day of reckoning, when the harshness of this past winters riding made itself known. Last ride on the 1x1, I notice the rear wheel had a minor amount of play in it, so I pop the wheel to tighten things up. Winds up, the play is the least of my worries, as the bearings are practically seized. With the bike in the prone position, I do a quick check of some other things and find some play in the BB bearings too. At least they spin smoothly. A quick pedal switch and the Ibis is ready to ride. She still sports the Zoke boinger, which I really don't feel like riding, but that will have to do.
As I head to the trail an annoying squeak starts and quickly turns to a grinding howl. A quick assessment determines the bearings in one of my Time pedals are bone dry and don't want to spin freely. I can't say I shouldn't have expected this, I've been nursing them along for a while, lubing them up with some heavy oil when the start to moan in protest. Too far gone now, I turn back to switch up pedals.
Fate intervenes and a message is at the abode; Aaron is looking to ride. He's been out of the game a bit, burned himself out on racing, but he's ready to move back to pedaling on a regular basis. A change in venue and I'm heading North to Loch Raven.
Trails are in good shape and we work the upper loop. As we get within near the last mile, we carve some twisties and descend to the last stream crossing. Shortly before the low point of the creak crossing I hear the familiar sound of a high-speed ricochet of rock on metal. A split second later and the front wheel stops dead and I'm pitched over the bars, making the rest of the descent airborne. Arms spread a bit wider than my shoulders I land like I'm doing a high velocity pushup. My arms take up some of the impact like giant springs, but there's not enough travel in them. Shoulder and thigh slam into big rocks; hands, face and chest mired in the mud and decaying organic matter, teeth inches from being knocked down my throat.
I climb out of the streambed; muscles already tightening, but body otherwise intact. Aaron finds the kryptonite that brought me down: a rock larger than my fist, tattooed with red paint from my fork; kicked up by my wheel and sucked into the spokes, wedging itself between the spokes and the left fork leg. The front wheel is a little out of true and a couple of spokes are bent, but otherwise the bike looks OK. We mount and finish the last leg out, every small climb reminding me my muscles feel like they were beat with a billy club.
Today’s Public Service Announcement: Wear your helmet kids.