Cider and Elbow

I usually have a tough time thinking of gift ideas. Every so often a good gift idea pops into my head but more often than not, my gift ideas are duds. Sometimes unintentionally. I bought Mrs. Rootchopper a certificate for a massage at her favorite massage place. It closed a month later. I bought her a gift certificate to an ice cream parlor. It closed within months.

Last spring I was put to the test. Her birthday, retirement, and Mothers Day fell within one month of each other. Somewhere in there I bought her tickets to see Elbow at the 9:30 Club in DC. (Elbow is a band from Manchester, England. Like my man Neil Finn, they’re much bigger in the UK than here.) We’d seen Elbow two or three times before. They seem to fit the 9:30 like a glove. The concert was last night.

As luck would have it, WABA’s Cider Ride was held during the day. So I got up and drove to the start at daybreak. Having helped put the cue sheets together Thursday evening, I kept one for myself. (It was an extra or so my conspirator told me.) This meant I could leave before the official 8:30 start time.

Off I went. Having done this course twice before and being absolute shit at cue sheet reading, I made numerous wrong turns. (I blame the folks in Maryland and their utterly confusing trials.)

Little Nellie and I had quite a good time cruising under the fall foliage along the Anacostia River and through and beyond the USDA farmland north of the Beltway. There were pits stops with donuts and cider at one and pie and hot cocoa at another. In keeping with my recent dietary restraint I refrained from hoovering all the foods.

The ride concluded with a cruise down the east bank of the Anacostia, into the Hill East and Capitol Hill neighborhoods, and back to the start along the Metropolitan Branch Trail.

Most rides have after parties. Usually they are duds, but WABA seems to have a special talent for these things. Riders gathered at the Dew Drop Inn. There was a great disturbance in the Force. I saw somehow managed not to see a single Katie. I did, however, talk with two Graces and two Rachels. There was also Kathy, Steve, Tara, Michael B., Jeff, Sam, Tyler, Ted, Adam, Greg, Ursula, Kristin, and undoubtedly others whose names escape me.

It took forever to get out of there because I kept bumping into someone I knew.  I arrived home in time to clean up, grab a bite, and drive right back into the city for the concert. We had to wait about 30 minutes in the rain to get in but once we did we had a blast. The 9:30 is a small venue and Elbow owns it. They had the crowd signing their songs all night. At one point they had the men in the audience sing 9. All in one note. Then the women sung 30. Somehow it came out in harmony! How the hell did that happen? Very cool.

In one strange moment, someone in front of me stuck their cell phone in their back pocket, facing outward. It glowed through the fabric as if their right butt cheek was radioactive. (I swear I was sober. My mind just works in strange ways.)

When we arrived home I could barely stand. I had spent 3 1/2 hours standing on concrete after riding 53 miles. My legs were a wreck. I took some ibuprofen and slept for 9 hours. I got my money’s worth out of my Saturday.

The return to standard time saved my Sunday which included reading newspapers from the last two days, finishing a book, taking a nap, and doing a gentle 22 mile recovery ride.

Tomorrow is another day at the gym. This time I’ll skip the leg machines. The  weight lifting is causing nerve entrapment in my legs causing sharp pain at night and numbness during the day. I think it’s time to start up my physical therapy exercises again.

Age is all in your head, except for the part that the legs go first.

Big thanks to the folks at WABA and the volunteers who made the Cider Ride a big success.


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