Weighty Things

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.

The Chamber of Pain

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.

Swift Progress on the Soccer Pitch

Then I made my way to The Wharf where I rested in a swing and took in the sights on a perfect fall day.

Swings on a Pier

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).


Need Me Some Elbow Room

It has been a busy couple of days. Sunday brought lovely weather. So I went for a 45-mile bike ride. That was followed up by a one-hour mow the lawn festival. Then Mrs. Rootchopper, our daughter, and I drove into DC to see Elbow play at the 9:30 club. Just as they did a couple of years ago they put on a fantastic show. And just as two years ago, Ed (@dailyrandonneur) and Mary (@coffeeneur) were there, except this time they were not standing next to me. They were on the opposite side of the stage. It was fun trying to spot them in the crowd. I figured I’d just look for Ed’s (um, how do I put this kindly) dome. Apparently the Domehead society was in attendacne because there must have been 20 men with shaved or bald heads. I stuck to my strategy and, using Twitter for communication, managed to exchanged some waves.

Speaking of waves, the Elbow lead singer got the crowd to wave their hands rhythmically over their heads during several songs. It turns out this was excellent therapy for my back problems. Considering the fact that I was on my feet on concrete from 7 to 11:30 this revelation came as welcome relief.

I hit the hay after midnight. My left knee and hip woke me at 5 a.m. This is going to be a long, painful day.

After another hour or so of trying to sleep, I got up and found that I was in not-half-bad shape. I did my back exercises, a few yoga poses, and some waving of my hands over my head. When I was done, my back, hip and knee felt fine.

I rode Big Nellie to work and felt no ill effects of Sunday’s exercions. On the way I saw Nancy “Two Sheds” Duley and Tony from Alexandria along the way. Waves.

The ride home featured 80+ degree temperatures. What the heck is that all about? Wait’ll I tell my wovel.

The ride home also featured a calvalcade of annoying and dangerous cyclists and drivers. The fun began went a  car blogged the curb cut at the Lynn Street connection to the Mount Vernon Trail. This is the very Intersection of Doom that poses so much danger to cyclists and pedestrians. I yelled at the driver to move back as I passed him.

The fun continued on the trail. Every mile or so somebody decided to pass me as bike and pedestrian traffic approached from the opposite direction. Doesn’t it occur to these idiots that the reason I am waiting behind the bikes and walkers is so that I could pass them safely. On multiple occassions the bike passing me ended up swerving back to the right to avoid on-coming bikes. Kevin the @byclclebug on Twitter suggested that these aggressive riders were trying to set some sort of record on Strava.  They are going to get someone hurt. I won’t lose a lot of sleep if they hurt themselves.

As the MVT goes around the power plant it crosses a cantilevered bridge that is enclosed in a wire mesh fence. There are two bling turns to negotiate. As I approached the first turn, I rang my bell and hit my brakes. An on-coming bike tried to cut the blind corner and had to swerve to avoid hitting me. Set your Strava record somewhere else, a-hole. He very nearly crashed into the fence after his swerve. Too bad he missed.

In Old Town Alexandria I spotted a rarity: an Alexandria cop had pulled a car over. Finally!

Near Belle Haven Park, a motorcycle was lying on its side between the MVT and the George Washington Memorial Highway. It had a small trunk on the back. The lid of the trunk was in the grass a few feet beyond the bike. I hope the bike wasn’t involved in a crash.

Further south on the MVT, a boy of about sixth grade age served toward me as he approached. His mother called at him to pull over. Two near misses in one day. 

South of Old Town a mother and child were riding bikes in my direction, 

It’s BIke to Work Week. I can’t wait until some of these people get back in their cars. I need the elbow room.


No Mother. Yes Bike Ride, Elbow Later

My mother is in a better place. My wife is in upstate New York with our son. My daughter slept until noon. What should I do?

Big Nellie and I headed out for a flat ride. Yesterday was a bad day for my back so I planned on taking it easy. Within 2 miles my back loosened up and I was good to go. A bunch of #bikedc folk were headed out to a barbeque place on the W&OD bike trail. Most people around her go nuts over barbeque. I think it’s way overrated. (I have eaten at the barbeque place they were headed for. I’m sure it’s great barbeque. For somebody who likes barbeque.)

I rode through Old Town Alexandria and out King Street. Part of King Street is about to get bike lanes after a months long kerfuffle that even involved op ed pieces in the Wall Street Journal. (Pity the Journal’s readers. They can’t get it’s editorial head around the concept of public infrastructure. They probably oppose increases to the gas tax. May they drive over a bridge as it collaspses due to floods caused by man-made climate change.)

King Street, even on Sunday morning, is not a whole lot of fun to ride on. Once I crossed I-395, I jogged north a half mile to the W&OD trail. (Please note: it’s the Washington and Old Dominion Trail. Many people call it the WO and D. Dyslexia lives.)

Out the W&OD I rode against a gradual up grade. I didn’t see anyone I knew and figured the DC biking crowd was behind me. Some 10 miles later I pulled into Cafe Amouri in Vienna and there they were. A group of eight or so cyclists with the buzz of caffeine on their faces. 

I grabbed a Guatamalan coffee (this place makes excellent coffee, by the way) and chatted with the assembled wheelpersons. Most of them took off for barbeque, but Ed and Mary rode up the street a couple of blocks to Bikes at Vienna, the shop where I bought Big Nellie. The shop was closed until noon and this being just after 11 we decided it wasn’t worth waiting around for an hour when the roads were calling our names.

Ed and Mary headed back to DC on their Co-motion Tandem. The thing is huge. It looks like something the Defense Department would design. It’s got racks and bags and bike computers and couplers (so it can be broken down for shipping) and a new generator light and mounts for all sorts of other goodies. It probably cost more than my car. It probably rides better too.

I headed back on the trail, enjoying the 70 degree weather and the slight downhill. I avoided the Mount Vernon Trail on the way home. On days like this it is so congested as to be nearly useless. About four miles from home, I decided to tackle Beacon Hill. It is one of the nastiest climbs around these parts, which explains why I avoid it like the plague. 

After 45 miles I arrived home. Time to mow the lawn and get ready for Elbow at the 9:30 Club in DC. They gave an excellent show the last time they were in DC. Ed and Mary will be there too. Mary is an Elbowhead. (Don’t tell any body.)