Sunday, January 16, 2005

Feels like the first time...

I've been taking a group of newbies out every weekend for the past 3 weeks and, for me, it's been like rediscovering biking all over again. The level of riding within the group is pretty consistent; most of them are older than me and haven't been on a bike in years. All of them (I think) have never seen singletrack. So showing these guys the tricks of the trade takes me back to the days when I used to throw on my sweats, jump on my $250 aluminum hardtail, and pedal out to Accotink to try to clear the cinder trail climb by the dam. And believe me, there were days when I could not.

For our first ride we rode pavement from south of DC to Bethesda along the Capitol Crescent Trail. About a 20 mile round trip-- very respectable for a first ride. They were pretty tired at the end and I was afraid I'd scared them away from biking, but to my surprise, they showed up again next week for more punishment. For our second time out we headed to Lake Accotink with an even bigger group of brave souls including some young 'uns. We stuck mostly to the cinder trail, but I did manage to sneak in some of the sinlgetrack behind the carousel and the switchback by the dam. I showed them how to go over some log piles which the kids thought were "cool". The third time out was more of the same but this time with an epiphany. One of the newbies, Fr. Steve (yup a priest, hence epiphany) managed to clear both the road climb by the dam and the swtichback climb up the singletrack. He was wiped out but obviously enjoying it. I was taken back about 3 years ago when clearing this same series of climbs was one of my "season goals."

After that ride, we headed out to buy these blossoming hammerheads some of their own gear (helmets, shorts, gloves, etc). My old aluminum hardtail is now in the possession of Fr. Steve (that's why I can skip church this Sunday), and Gina's old bike has gone to one of the young 'uns. Next week we have plans to go to Schaeffer Farms and I know the cold won't scare them away. I usually don't try to kill my friends, so it will be a while before they're ready for Gambrill-- but we're working on it.


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