Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Bike DC

On our last day of vacation we hit the Metro early in the morning and headed back into Washington, D.C.  We rode a train while we passed a train.

Yo Lunchbox, I heard you like trains.

Our first stop was the National Geographic Museum, where they had a real archaeology exhibit that was intertwined with one of the greatest movies of all time (that’s not Star Wars.)

It was kinda neat. 

Right after that, we grabbed some bikes and hit the road again.

I love that the bike lanes are plentiful in the city, and that particular one goes right down the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue.  We rode by the White House again, but this time we stopped in front of the Old Executive Office Building to listen to some music.


We continued on, heading towards the Capitol Building where I stopped for a photo op to support Pedal Pushers Club.

And we spotted something much less scary than corrupt politicians.

Thanks to DeFeet, Bigfoot is alive and well in D.C.

As you can see, there is a lot of construction going on up there.  The secenery is still neat though.

After another museum stop (this time at the Smithsoanian Natural History Museum), we rolled back towards the other side of the National Mall.  We stopped at the World War II Memorial.

Then it was on to one of our favorites, the Lincoln Memorial.

And the view from there back across the National Mall is good too.

I say this every year, but D.C. is my favorite place to visit.  I’ve been going there as far back as I can remember, but as a history buff I will never get tired of it.  Now that they have an awesome bike share program now, getting around is much better.  Sure, you can walk around all day, but seeing that place by bike can’t be beat (plus you can cram in a lot more stuff.) 

It was a fun trip, but after a week away from home, we had to head back to the Metro station to get out of town.

We left right during rush hour but it wasn’t bad.  Once we got further south and back to my truck though, it was a different story.  The traffic was horrible on Interstate 95 and it took us forever to get out of NoVa. 

It’s a nice place to visit…

You know the rest.

Once again, another fun “man-cation” for me and my big kid.  I’m glad he still likes to get away with his old man.  Hopefully this won’t be the last trip we take up there together.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tourist Day

Our vacation was off to a good start.  After a few days of watching sportsball, eating great food, and spending time looking at aircraft with our cousin, we were le tired.  It mighta had something to do with the beer though.

Our hotel in NoVa (Northern Virginia for you laypeople) was selected due to its close proximity to the Metro, so all we had to do was hop on the train in the morning and head into D.C.  We got up early, had breakfast, and boarded right after the morning rush.

Our first stop was the National Zoo, since we like animals and all that.  They liked us too.

Sure, we saw the famous Pandas, but the most interesting sight of the day was the orangutan that used the catwalk high above the park to move from one area to another.

Actually, the highlight was when she stopped to take a piss on the people down below.

We laughed our asses off about that one for a good while.

We stayed at the zoo for a long time but we wanted to hit the other spots in town.  As with other trips we’ve taken to our Nation’s Capital in the past, we decided to use the Capital Bikeshare.

Just like last year, the plan was to ride back to the city on the Rock Creek Parkway.

Lunchbox is all, “Sun’s out, guns out.”  (Thanks to Eastwood for the commentary.)

The Rock Creek Parkway is a really nice place to ride.  Just outside the hustle and bustle of D.C. proper, it offers users a rare look at nature so close to the city and unimpeded riding (or walking/running.)  It’s quite beautiful.

And Lunchbox approves of this style of riding.

Once we got into the city, we had to use our superior bike handling skills to navigate around pedestrians and distracted government workers.  Our first historical stop was the White House, of course.



We rode around a little more until we found an empty dock to return our bikes for a while.  We had tickets to the Washington Monument and didn’t think it would be a good idea to take our bikes on the elevator to the top.

So, we walked.

I’ve been going up to the top of there since I was a youngin’, and I still get a kick out of it.  The views are nothing short of spectacular.

After that we had to get out of town for a while.  We met up with another cousin down in Alexandria for dinner (and more beer of course.)  It was a long day and another later night, and it was wearing on us.  We still had one more day to go back to the city though.

You have another day too…

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Return

Brace yourselves…

I’m gonna talk about my vacation.

It was nice to get away for a while.  Although I go away every year with Lunchbox, this was was special.  He’s getting older and doing adult stuff now, and to be honest, I really needed a vacation.  The new job wasn’t as advertised, and the stress of dealing with crap day in and day out made my time away very important. 

So yeah, after my race (the series finale of the Southern Classic), the boy and I headed north to Virginia.  Our first stop was Richmond to watch our favorite professional sportsball team, but if you didn’t know any better we went there just to eat.

We did bring bikes though.

Richmond has some awesome mountain bike riding, but unfortunately it rained right before our planned ride time and we didn’t get to go due to trail closures.  Instead, we did a little sightseeing (and more eating of course.)  One of the highlights was the historic Hollywood Cemetery, which has the remains of two U.S. Presidents as well as Jefferson Davis, the President of the C.S.A.

Don’t be offended by the flag.  It’s history, dumbass.

It was definitely a sight to see.

And the views were nice...

even if we didn't get to ride over there like we planned.

After a couple days in Virginia’s capital, we packed up and headed to Northern VA for the rest of the week.  Our first stop up there was at the National Air and Space Museum (Udvar-Hazy Center) where we met up with our cousin for a little sightseeing.

It was neat.

It was nice to spend time with our cousin, and pretty cool to visit a museum I’ve never been to before (despite many trips to the area.)  We went to visit a little more family after that, then it was off to our next hotel to get ready for a big day in my favorite city.

More tomorrow…

Monday, August 10, 2015

One For The Road

Lunchbox and I are currently on vacation.

That kid sure can eat.

Anyway, I figured since yesterday was race day that I should at least post one update. So here I am.  You know that.  But yesterday I was at The Sizzler in Greensboro, the last race in the 2015 Southern Classic Series.  The kid and I left the house early and headed north.  I figured that since I sorta had 1st place overall locked up that I didn't need to work that hard in the last race.  While we all gathered around waiting to start though, they started doing call ups.  That's something I've never expereienced so it made me have good feelz.  When they called me up as the leader of the series, I thought that maybe I should put in a little effort.  A few minutes later, we took off.

Photo credit: Lunchbox

I resisted the urge to take off fast at first.  The pace wasn't blistering, so I stayed up front and hit the trail in 2nd place.  Then, the climbing started.  Not being on my bike since my trip to Mulberry Gap last weekend really hurt my fitness and I immediately began to suffer.  I let one guy by and dug in, hoping that I had enough to finish the race.  I pushed as hard as my tired body would let me and kept 1st and 2nd place in sight.  We stayed together for a while but I just couldn't keep it up. I was hurting, and wondered how many more places I would lose before the day was over. Towards the end of the first lap I dropped one of my water bottles.  I was in trouble.  Eventually I came through the start/finish line and notified Lunchbox that I lost one of my bottles.  I passed through and headed back out for more.

Photo cred:  Mike Long

Lap two and I was feeling a little better.  I was attacking on the climbs, and giving it everything on the flat stuff.  I knew for sure that I would catch up to the leaders.  I was moving fast, but I didn't see anyone ahead of me.  I kept thinking about that damn water bottle (that I would no doubt need later) and it was screwing with my head.  Just then, one particular section seemed familiar to me so I started looking for it.  Magically, it was sitting upright on the side of the trail.  I stopped to pick it up, knowing that it would hurt my chances to catch anyone ahead of me.

Who gives a shit.

I passed through the start/finish line and tried to make up for lost time on the third and final lap. I was moving quickly, hanging on to the hope that the two guys up front were wearing down.  That lap went by much quicker, and when I hit the grassy field I gunned it towards the finish line.

I held on to third place.

I wore a kilt.  My shirt says, "Who gives a shit."  That means I don't care if you think it's a skirt.

That podium spot definitely secured my place in the series lead.  Right after that photo, I got called up again...

to stand on the top step.

Podium shots photo cred:  Lunchbox

It was a good day.  I had a blast racing the whole series, and actually I'm excited to do it again next year.  Srsly.  I worked hard and had fun, and with a little luck had some success this year.  I guess I should start looking at some other events to do before the year is over.

Now if you will excuse me, I'm off to my vacation.

See y'all next week sometime.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Fun Friday

Somehow I made it to Friday.  I am le tired.

This week’s been a pisser (as usual), but that’s probably because I had such a rad time last weekend.  Nothing like going from having an awesome time in the hills on bikes with friends to something that feels like this:

Well, I don’t have to worry about work for a while.  When today ends, vacation starts.  I sorta feel like the colonists when they were trying to get England off their backs. 


Even though it’s vacation time, Sunday is race day again.  This is the finale for the Southern Classic Series and I am excite.  One more hard effort on the bike, then hopefully I’ll finish out on the top step of the podium as the overall winner.  Or maybe I’ll just cruise around for three laps up in Greensboro and still somehow end up there.  Either way, I’m happy that it’s over, and I’ll miss it too.

There will be a race report on Monday.

Directly after the race, Lunchbox and I are heading up to Virginia for a week.  It’s our yearly “mancation” and we’re both looking forward to it.  So after a post on Monday, I’m gonna stay the hell away from this computer bloggy thingy for a while.

I know you’ll miss me.  Or maybe not.  

Who gives a shit.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Big Ol’ Fun

So, back to the Mulberry Gap weekend.  We took off in one big group, heading up the five mile climb to the top o’ the mountain.

Eastwood and I were chatting it up with Quadsworth on the way up…

After a little bit I mentioned to him that we probably shouldn’t be keeping that kind of pace on a climb and he agreed.  Just as the conversation starting getting into why there will be no Wilkes 100k this year, the climb got steeper…

And I dropped off.

A few of us did as a matter of fact.  After a week of muscle relaxers and relaxing my muscles (i.e. sitting on my ass not riding a bike), all that climbing caught up to me.  It didn’t matter though, since Niner Mike made sure that no one got left behind.  It was a fun group ride after all.

Eventually we made it up to the lookout.

That view was definitely worth it, and the best part was that we were gonna start going downhill.  My legs were unresponsive at that point, so going downhill was a much needed break.  The descents were so awesome that I didn’t stop to take photos (probably a first for me), but luckily someone did when we stopped at one point to regroup.

Photo credit:  Trey Commander

I flew through the descents like I was a pro or some shit like that.  In fact, I had no idea I could ride that stuff so well.  It was more about the bike I guess, with my Niner ROS9 with a drooper post doing most of the work.  There were a few climbs here and there but we rode mostly downhill back to the finish of our big loop. 

The trail was quite rad.  Not quite as technical as The Pisgah, but technical enough to make you feel like you were actually riding in the mountains instead of some cross country dirt roadie track.  There were rocks, roots, jumps, creek crossing, and a shitload of blind turns.  I was going so fast that I almost peed a little.  That kind of fear on a bike is fun.

After the ride we gathered up in the barn before dinner.  We were socializing, and I took the opportunity to present Niner Chris (not me, the man in charge) with a gift that was handmade by Little Miss Sunshine.  She put her artistic ability and welding talent to good use to make him a one of a kind gift.

He was excite.

Photo cred:  Trey Commander

We met him at Interbike two years ago, and he make such an impression on her that she felt like making a gift for him.  She makes all kinds of art projects out of recycled bike parts (you already know this), and this custom piece is a fine example.  And in case you can’t really read it, it says, “Pedal Damn It.” 


What an amazing weekend.  I had high hopes for Mulberry Gap and I was not disappointed.  Amazing riding, awesome people, and a nice getaway from reality.  Well, as one of my new friends put it over the weekend, “This is reality.  Not that other stuff.”

Well said.

So this bullshit I do every day from 8 to 5 isn’t reality.  It’s just a means to an end.  I just work so I can go outside and play with my toys when I have free time.

Really expensive but fun toys.