Thursday we headed down to the 930 Club in DC to catch one of my all time favorite bands, Sonic Youth. If you are a fan and have never seen them live, go do it ASAP. I've seen them quite a few times and they never disappoint. While their albums are great works to listen to, you can only get a true appreciation of the composition and complexity of their songs as well as their skills as musicians if you witness them live. If you missed the show, no worries because NPR has the full concert online. Not as good as seeing them in person, but it's better than nothing. NPR have a bunch of other shows, some you need to stream while others you can download as a super-sized MP3. All for free. You can also download some free MP3s from the SY site here.
Today is the summer solstice, longest daylight of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. I've definitely been enjoying the long days for riding my bicycle. Sure, the days will start getting shorter, but it's pretty gradual for a while, so keep taking advantage of it.
I'm thinking I may want to re-attach that bear bell I sometimes affix to my saddle rails - seems there's been a few black bear sightings up in the Watershed lately. I haven't seen any myself, but I know they are out there. Keep the rubber-side and try to become bear food.
A Little Riding //
Tuesday - June 20, 2006
By the end of last Saturday's ride I had logged 5 rides in 7 days. It was a good week. Saturday's ride itself was the pinnacle, a 6 hour workout combining Gambrill State Park and the Frederick Watershed, very similar to the one I had done 2 weeks ago with Billy. With quite a few rides in my legs already, I was feeling slightly worked on the climbs (and there were plenty of those). But all in all I was feeling good and the weather was warm and sunny but not to hot, really everything you look forward to for summer riding. Jay W and the Trossinator from B-more along with Mike G who had just returned from Germany made up the riding crew. It was great to get out with those guys again, it's been a while. Post ride we retired to my place to slug down some cold beers and refuel with pizza.
With all of the riding I had been doing the body seemed to be saying I should take a rest day. I was taking my nephew camping in the afternoon but figured I'd sneak out on a short morning fixed gear road ride to keep the legs loose. The bike had other plans. Not much more that a mile from the house something didn't sound or feel right and it quickly turned to a grinding noise. I quick assessment showed the rear hub appeared to be loose, so I made a U-turn to head back to the workshop. In no time the grinding noise and feel got worse and I slowed to a snail's pace to limp home. Removing the wheel revealed a broken axle. Ride done, rest day established by default.
The camping trip kept me busy with Monday being a day of hiking, canoeing and MTBing with my 9 year old nephew. Holy cow, entertaining kids is some work! The nephew did good on the trail we took, an easy part of the Salamander trail that is tight and twisty with relatively few technical spots (for the Watershed). I don't think he drew any blood and by the end he was launching off little rocks and crossing his front wheel up and generally just having a blast. He bashed up his single ring chain guide pretty good. It may look like a bash guard, but it's not built like one. Nothing that a little tweaking with an adjustable wrench back at the house couldn't fix.
On Wednesday I had a great ride with David K and Jason at the Shed. It's always good to ride with new people. Anyone who rides a particular place for a while develops there own loops, rides and ways to connect the trails together. Since I was tagging along David plotted our route and took us on a lot of the trails I do on a regular basis, but most were in the reverse direction that I typically do them. Made for a nice change of pace. We got rained on for a while on the second half of the ride, but other than making the rocks super slick, it wasn't bad. The other weird and interesting thing that happened was us riding right through the middle of some amateur zombie movie shoot on the super rocky, technical section above Little Canaan. I was in the lead, things were flowing good, when all of a sudden I see a dome tent set up in the middle of the trail with a half dozen people crowded around it. They may have been as surprised as me, but considering the rock ledges I was negotiating, the narrow trail and the momentum I had, I wasn't stopping unless absolutely necessary. Trail manners they did not have, as demonstrated by the location of said tent combined with the fact that they were slow to move from a large moving object (me and my bike). Maybe they were just surprised and stunned, but I managed to squeeze on by the tent and people to quickly encounter a tripod with camera, a couple more of the wanna-be Blair Witch directors and someone holding a head on a stick. I may have hit a container of fake blood with my wheel, but I'm not sure since most of my focus was avoiding the people and their camera. No damage was done to people or equipment, so it all turned out OK. Strange day, wonder if David and I will end up on the cutting room floor.
Thursday - well, I don't think I rode but I can't remember. I was on vacation and consumed more beer than usual, this may account for the memory lapse.
Friday we headed up to Michaux State Forest to ride trail I've never been to before. We were using a route guide in the book Mountain Bike: Mid-Atlantic States. The ride started out good enough but then one of the trails we are supposed to hook up to appears to no longer exist. After searching on a gravel road the trail was supposed to cross twice, we picked up a piece that appeared to be long out of use and no longer maintained. It eventually petered out and we were forced to backtrack. We eventually located part of a water-line cut that was part of the route and worked out way back to the car, but this piece was flat, boring and marshy in spots. After making our way back to the car we went in search of some more trail that we had spied off of the beginning of our route. This was well blazed, well used and nice and rocky. We rode this trail for maybe a mile at the most before we popped out on a road and noticed that, at this end of the trail, it was marked as foot-traffic only. So the best trail we rode for the day was poached (accidentally). Still a good day overall, sometimes we you go to a new place you wind up being an explorer. It's all part of the MTB experience in my opinion.
Saturday I burned out an early morning solo loop at the north end of the Shed. Nothing special to report except that it was nice to push on through the entire loop with no stops, especially all of the Salamander trail. Saturday was a hot one but I got my ride in before things really heated up.
Sunday we were headed down to B-more to see my Dad for Father's day. With Patapsco so close how could I not ride the old home trails? Julie and Jo let me lead them on loop that included both the Howard and Baltimore county sides of Avalon. Both girls were riding strong and we had a great time. It's kind of strange that I have ridden there so little since I've moved when I used to be there several times a week. Everything looked the same and the trails were dry, dusty and fast, it was good to be back out there again.