- I had pancakes and bacon for breakfast today. It reminded me of a great Calvin and Hobbes cartoon. When you think about it, pancakes and bacon are pretty barbaric. Let’s see, I’ll mix some flour with cow squeezings then drop in an chicken egg embryo. Swirl it all around and throw it on a skillet. Then I’ll fry thin strips of pork belly and have that on the side. Eww.
- Sometimes it’s best not to think too much about these things. I once had eye surgery while I was awake. Wanna hear about it? First, the surgeon sticks a needle in your eye….What? Okay, I’ll stop.
- For lunch I had a tuna fish sandwich. When you open up a can of tuna, it’s like a mystery substance. It doesn’t look like it could possibly be part of an actual animal. Just in case somebody might happen to identify it, we mix it up with mayo (more chicken embryos) and some random bits of veggies. We’d probably eat a lot less tuna if there was a tuna eye in the can. Ewww.
- I have no idea what made me think of these things. I blame the weather. The temperature dropped over 20 degrees last night. I went out for a bike ride to beat the approaching rain. I lost the race. It rained for the last seven miles of a 23-mile zig-zag ride through Fort Hunt, Virginia. I was pretty comfortable except for my toes. They were cold and wet. After over 50 years of bicycling, I still have no cure for cold wet toes.
- I saw my friend Nancy. She was out walking with Mr. Nancy. It was before the rain started. They were wearing shorts. Climactic optimists. Nancy was wearing one of those knit skating caps with a ball on top. She’s ambiclimactic.
- I saw a family watching a tree being removed from their backyard. It was a majestic old tree. It must have been 100 years old. I’ll bet it was magnificent. When I rode by it was nothing more than a thick 30-foot wood pole. Maybe they needed space for a new addition to their house. I’ll bet the addition isn’t half as awesome as the tree was. These people are barbarians.
- Cold, wet weather is described as raw. Our brains can’t handle raw weather. We forget about it. Then it’s here and we are surprised. In the northeast, they don’t have autumn; they have raw. There are few things more miserable than watching a football game in the raw. Maybe that’s where the RAW RAW RAW cheer came from. (Sorry. Stole that from Firesign Theater.)
- How raw is it? It’s so raw that I didn’t go out to buy a box of toe warmers for the days ahead. Tomorrow will be rawer. Is rawer a word? Go outside and say rawer three times real fast. The folks in the white coats will come and get you soon. You should probably go inside now.
- The saddest part of raw is the leaves. They are all coming down. Our next door neighbors have a gigantic maple tree in their front yard. It always puts on a great show. Show’s over. Nothing to see here. Move along.
After an early morning recon ride in the car with Mrs. Rootchopper, I went back on my bike to take some pictures of the local fall foliage. Fort Hunt Park has several maples that put on a show for about a week every autumn.
And with the river, the foliage, and the angled sunlight, the Mount Vernon trail is simply beautiful.
There are a few more on Flickr.
My plan was to get up early to go to the gym and life weights. The Astros and the Dodgers had other things in mind. Game 5 of the World Series was supposed to be a tidy pitchers’ duel. Instead it was a slug fest. Houston won 13 – 12 in 10 long innings. I pretty sure there were at least four standing 8 counts. You could almost hear the players saying, “Yeah, Well…TAKE THAT!” as they exchanged home runs. Big fun.
Long story short, I woke up a tad later than planned. As it turned out, this was not entirely a bad thing because temperatures dropped about 20 degrees from yesterday. And it was windy. Fall has arrived and, boy, does it feel great.
I managed to make the four-mile ride to the gym into eight miles. I let the breeze push me down the Mount Vernon Trail before turning back. Then I had to face it. The dreaded weight room. I know, I know. Weight bearing exercise is good for you. It especially good for people like me who do little more than non-weight-bearing exercise and who have ripened a bit.
I did one circuit through the machines, mostly to figure out how to set them up. It was pretty funny that one some machines I wasn’t sure which way to face, toward or away from the machine. And there was one work station without any weights at all that had no instructions. I had no idea what the heck to do with that.
After my first go round, I did another circuit. I made sure to use less weight than I might normally and to move the weight very slowly. I hope I don’t ache tomorrow. Even with low weight, I had the same result I usually have from weight lifting: I felt like throwing up when I was done.
The good news is my ribs didn’t hurt. The bad news is my left tricep is messed up. It wasn’t the weights. My father had rotator cuff problems beginning at about my age. Thanks Dad.
After the weights, I went for what I planned to be a 22-mile ride. One thing led to another and I found myself riding The Mule all over the place: across the Potomac on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, up Oxon Hill past the casino, back down to the river at Oxon Hill Farm, back up the hill to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. I took MLK to Howard Road. Then I got on the Anacostia River Trail. I rode a few miles north then crossed the river and came south all the way to the soccer stadium being built at Buzzards Point.
Then I made my way to The Wharf where I rested in a swing and took in the sights on a perfect fall day.
The ride home on the Mount Vernon Trail was a breeze.
When I arrived a package greeted me.
The package also included a book (Britt Maire Was Here by Fredrik Backman) and another CD, Little Fictions by Elbow (I am going to their DC concert on Saturday).
Dang it was cold this morning. On with the tights. On with the long sleeve shirts. On with the wool socks. On with the vest. On with the lobster gloves.
I am such a weather wimp. It was in the high 40s but I was prepping for 40 below. And I was still cold for the first five miles.
Once I warmed up, I began to notice what an absolutely awesome fall day it was. The sun reflecting off the Potomac.A great blue heron perched on a log waiting to strike a fish amid the hydrilla. A passenger jet taking off over the Mount Vernon Trail at unusually low altitude. The Washington Monument. Not half bad.
My re-set odometer and over did it. It was a half mile farther to work. Oops.
The ride home was pretty sweet. 60s. Sunny skies. A puffy white cloud here and there. It still felt cold but I think it was all in my head.
South of the beltway I admired the beginning of fall colors. Then a deer darted in front of me. A young fawn. Just as I was about to pass behind her, a second deer bounded across my path. She wasn’t all that big either but it was a good thing I kept my head up otherwise I’d have been clobbered.
Emerging from the trail onto Northbound Road, I spotted a BMW making its way toward me with the intent of turning onto the George Washington Memorial Parkway to my right, the driver’s left. Instead of coming down the right lane, the driver took the left lane, my lane. Quelle le fuck?
I wagged my finger at the idjit behind the wheel.
For the last two miles nothing tried to run me over.
You have to be thankful for the little things.
- Tonight, if the Mets lose and the Nats win, the Nationals win their division and qualify for the playoffs. YAY! This has been a foregone conclusion for a couple of weeks but longtime Red Sox sufferers like me know that nothing in baseball is to be taken for granted. You could look it up. Of google “Bucky Fucking Dent” or “Bill Buckner and Mookie Wilson.”
- Baseball quiz: who scored the winning run on the Buckner/Wilson play? Answer: Ray Knight, the Nats announcer.
- Summer is officially over. In the last week, I’ve seen two bicyclists fall on the Mount Vernon Trail. That’s why I prefer the word “autumn” to “fall”
- Felkerino once told me it is bad luck to refer to terrain as “flat” during a bike ride. It’s a four-letter f-word. Use “level” instead.
- I am nearly recovered from riding the Backroads Century on Sunday. It had a lot of hills. My body was not happy this week. First, my back gave me a spasm on Tuesday morning. It lasted only a second and I managed to avoid turning into Quasimodo for a week. My legs have been dead for a few days. This morning they sprang to life. I hit 18 mph on the MVT. Must have been a tailwind.
- The last two days I woke up at 5 am. I waited for daybreak (around 7) yesterday before heading to work. Today I left in the dark, with lights on my helmet and wearing a reflective vest. I am experimenting with strapping my battery to my helmet. I wouldn’t want to do this for hours at a time but it seems to be better than having a battery shoved down the back of my shorts. Note to Light and Motion, make me a Stella lamp with a shorter cord please.
- It wasn’t until I was practically at work that I thought of going to Friday Coffee Club. I would have had to backtrack four miles. Not gonna happen.
- One thing that never ceases to amuse me is how I know dozens of bike commuters but rarely see anybody I know. The person I see the most often, Chris M., is somebody I seem pathologically unable to recognize. Weird. Every once in a while somebody says hello as they go by. I typically respond “Blerfg.” I’m either half asleep or in a trance.
- I signed up for another autumn ride: the Great Pumpkin Ride. I’ll probably be doing it with Ultrarunnergirl.
- A friend of a friend runs several web-enabled freelance businesses. I can’t quite sort them all out but she is obviously a fan of yoga/mindfulness. When she lapses into yoga lingo on her business videos she says, “Sorry, went a little ‘woo woo’ there.” I have been looking for a word to describe this jargon and now I have it. People who are into yoga and mindfulness will henceforth be the Woowoos on this blog.
- It’s suppposed to be a perfect weekend. All I want to do is let my body recover. So my plan is:
- Mow the lawn
- Swab the deck
- Do a very gentle and short bit of cycling
- Read my book about genetics. It is cleverly entitled The Gene.
- Watch the Nationals clinch on TV!
The tell tale sign of Christmas is the arrival of Christmas decorations. There’s a house down the street from me that lit up, albeit in purple, one of its trees in October. I’ve seen outdoor trees on display elsewhere. Then there was that Corona Beer Christmas ad on TV last night. Nothing says Christmas like beer that tastes like skunk pee.
The tell tale sign that the good weather days are behind us is a cold, rainy day. I grew up in upstate New York when cold rainy days were the norm in October and November. There’s no way to sugar coat it, cold rainy days suck. Unless you have the right clothing.
I have the right clothing. (You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?)
So out I went at 7:10 on Little Nellie. I was quite comfortable under my Marmot Precip rain gear. Over the weekend I bought some neoprene covers for the front of my shoes. Somewhat unexpectedly they kept my shoes dry. I dug out my old Novara (the REI house brand) rain gloves. These suckers are long, they go well up my forearm and have a cinching cord in the wrist. The rain was even kind enough not to turn into a deluge for the commute. My only problem was seeing. Water on my glasses made navigation a bit of an annoyance. Lucky for me, there was hardly anybody else on the Mount Vernon Trail.
Tonight I expected less of the same, the rain having supposedly moved through the area. A brisk tailwind made the ride a, forgive the expression, breeze. It wasn’t a breeze for a bike commuter on the boardwalk at the TR Bridge. He was coming down from the bridge when he hit his brakes to avoid a turning cyclist. Thud. He was down on his side in a split second. He popped up and started walking his bike. He said he was okay so I pedaled homeward. It was seriously dark the whole way. In Belle Haven Park I saw two lights in the leaves next to the trail. Next thing I knew a racoon was running across the trail in front of me. He bounded up onto a tree trunk and scurried up the tree. The rest of the ride home involved not falling on the wet leaves. I succeeded.
Tomorrow is a whole ‘nother story. The forecast is calling for temperatures in the low to mid 20s with strong headwinds. This is the kind of weather we get in late January. I am prepared to wear everything I’ve got for the ride. I’m going all Charlie Brown. If I fall off my bike, I’ll just lie there on the ground like a felled tree.
Or I’ll drive.