This past weekend was a difficult one for me. Without going into the filthy details, let's just say the Spinal Tap insight--you can't really dust for vomit--comes to mind.
My recovery plan involved taking a nap last night, but instead I decided to take a mosey ride, or a SAYG ride, as we term it.
Rock Creek Park offers some fine places to mosey, so I went there around 7:30. I was a little worried, since the sun was setting and I had forgotten to install my Hokey Spokes:
Still, I ventured out through the park, riding without my power meter and trying my hardest to ride lightly, trying to enjoy the fresh air and the last week before graduate school resumes. The problem is that it's the last week before graduate school, and there's only one race left for me this year. I won't be training seriously until May of next year.
Most of the roads in the park were still packed with cars. One car nearly brushed me. When I caught up to the driver, I saw that her window was open. "Could you give me three feet?" I asked. She looked at me with such blank eyes that I wondered if she perhaps only understood the metric system. I mimed with my hands. "This much." It didn't seem to register. I wished I'd packed a banana or Hoho or Twinkie; some people only respond to the offer of snackie snackies.
I suppose I should be grateful that I don't live in Seattle, where cyclists routinely receive 4" darts to the buttocks.
Photo provided by buttocks-stricken victim:
Or I could live in San Francisco, where cycling could be labelled an anti-environmental activity.
Or Waukesha, Wisconsin, where cycling is forbidden altogether.
Or LA, where doctors ram cyclists to "teach them a lesson."
Or Bristol, UK, where the ACL (Anti-Cycling League) sends old "nutters" into the path of cyclists and shout "Legs, Legs, teeth...and LEGS!" at them.
Or New Castle, Indiana, where drivers bite off cyclists' ears. This horrible incident could surely have been avoided if the Indiana cyclist had worn a helmet with earflaps. It is tragic, nonetheless.
Last night I eventually settled into a mellow pace through the park. Traffic thinned and I found a stretch of the park I'd never ridden. The road was smooth, it was downhill, and there were no cars on it.
A young boy pushing his BMX saw me and shouted, "Great job!"
No darts in my ass, no ears bitten off, no nutters. Rock Creek is great.
Or, as British ambassador Lord James Bryce (1913) once intoned:
To Rock Creek there is nothing comparable in any capital city in Europe. What city in the world is there where a man living in a house like that in whcih we are meeting, in 18th street, can within less than ten minutes by car and with a quarter of a an hour on his own feet get into a beautiful rocky glen, such as you would find in the woods of Maine or Scotlad--a winding, rocky glen, with a broad stream foaming over its stony bed and wild leafy woods looking down on each side, where you have a carriage road at the bottom, but an inexhaustible variety of foopaths, where you can force your way through thickets and test your physical ability in climbing up and down steep slopes, and in places scaling the faces of bold cliffs, all that you have in Rock Creek Park.