Random Thoughts on a Down Day

Taking the rest of the day off

  • It’s hot as blazes outside. And I have ridden 188 miles in the last four days. So I decided to skip my usual night baseball game this week. And I am working from home today as well. I haven’t had a day completely off the bike in two weeks. It’s no wonder that I slept like a log last night. I am still a bit drowsy today, but I will be back at it for tomorrow’s 50 States Ride.

Blog power?

  • The car that was parked illegally for over a week in the bike lane at 420 North Union Street in Old Town was gone yesterday morning. Did somebody read my post? Or is it coincidence?  Either way, good riddence to the scofflaw parker.

Coffee in a tree

  • The forecast calls for horrific heat and humidity. Thank god the last rest stop is at a coffee shop around mile 55. Nothing says relief on a hot summer day like a big hot cup of joe. My friend Ursula will be running the rest stop. The thought of heat and hills and hot coffee gave me a weird dream the other night. (I rarely dream so it has stuck in my head.) I am climbing a tree. And there, sitting on a branch, is Ursula. Drinking hot coffee. She is cheerful. Then she spills the coffee and we mourn the loss.

Keeping my rubber side up

  • A shout out to the bike rider who nearly crashed on the Dyke Marsh bridge on the Mount Vernon Trail yesterday morning. He was passing a runner when he saw me coming toward him. He hit the brakes and his bike went skidding every which way. I was surprised he didn’t go down. His misfortune was a warning to me to take it easy on the wooden bridges which get really slippery when wet. Good thing. There was a pile up on the Trollheim, the boardwalk under the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge, yesterday morning. I wasn’t involved but rode through the crash site about 40 minutes after.

Road rage in North Old Town

  • I was on the receiving end of an act of road rage last night. I was coming to the place in North Old Town where the trail crosses the railroad tracks at an angle on First Street. A driver was approaching from the left. I was braking for the stop sign. About 50 feet before reaching the stop sign, the driver passed in front of me. He honked his horn and started yelling and pointing at me from behind his rolled up windows. He must have been having a bad day. It was weird.

Greetings while you sweat

  • A woman gave me the peace sign after I rode through the Memorial Bridge underpass last night. Then a passing male cyclist said hello. (Odds are it was Chris M. who I never recognize.) Just before the road rage incident two other unknown cyclists said hello. Considering the brutally oppressive heat and humidity, I’d say the people of the Mount Vernon Trail were having and exceptionally cheery day.

Flogini’s healing bike commute

  • My friend Flogini, erstwhile spiritual adviser to the Rootchopper Institute, wrote a cryptic note on her Facebook page yesterday. It was about bike commuting home in the rain and having the rain wash away her heartbreak. She broke up with her boyfriend that morning, on her birthday. I have been in a down mood the last few weeks. Her note was eloquent (not a surprise), and it somehow made me feel better. Whatta ya know about that, Burt? I reached out to her for the first time in months last night.

Impermanent friendship

  • Flogini and I have known each other for over nine years but we don’t hang out together anymore. A couple of years ago she just stopped saying yes when I asked her to get together. After several nos I stopped asking. Then she stopped reading my blog and following me on Facebook. So I unfollowed her. If she read this, she’d almost certainly say “Nonsense. We are still friends,” but her inaction speaks louder than her words. Sometimes life goes “CLANK.”

Any day will do

  • There is no good day to break up a relationship. That is to say, when a relationship is not working out, any day will do. I sympathize with Flogini because I broke up with a girlfriend on her birthday back in my grad school days. It was the right thing to do but the timing was unintentionally unkind. 19 years later she sent me a letter apologizing for breaking up with me! I had to remind her that I was the dumper not the dumpee and that it happened on her birthday. Derp. Time heals all wounds. We are on good terms today.

Trees at the ballpark

  • I hate my birthday. It’s like New Year’s Eve. Expectations are rarely realized. And the next day, if you’re lucky, you wake up another day older. I don’t need to be reminded of the ticking of my life clock. My knees and back and neck and shoulder and bladder remind me of it every day. I just wanted to hide in a hole this year. After the day had passed, I went to a Nats game alone and hid in plain sight. The people in the stands around me were anonymous like the trees I rode by on my bike tour in July.

Charlie’s an angel

  • Finally, a shout out to Kelly, my co-worker who has forsaken bike commuting this summer for baby making. Last night, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Charlotte. Sometimes happiness comes in warm 7.3 pound packages. Congrats to all. (BTW, I lost the friendly, no-awards office pool by a little over 3 hours. Her due date was September 1. When I guessed the 9th, she wanted to burn my desk.)

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