Monday, April 24, 2006


I decided not to go to the Poor Farm race last weekend. Now I'm kicking myself. We got about 3 inches of rain over Saturday and normally that's enough to turn our local trails to slop. Apparently, Poor Farm holds up much better and the slogfest that I pictured in my head never happened. Instead, a bunch of my teamies/friends went out and had a great time, apparently kicking some ass in the process. Congrats guyz and grrls. Great job.

Next up is Greenbrier, which in the last two years has had a huge (and quite fast) singlespeed class. The only time I did this race was two years ago. My pre-race jitters were so bad I spent the last 10 minutes before the race in my car getting sick. I took off fast at the start and was in 4th place entering the singletrack. Then I got seriously dropped on the first climb and went from 4th to the back of the pack in about 10 seconds. The rest of the race was an anaerobic blur. I think I stopped a few times to pick my stomach off the ground and cram it back down my throat. I think I can do better this year.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Faster than I can blog

Life is going by faster than I can type. So just a short recap of the stuff that's happened since the last post:

1) My first helmet casualty of the season. Smacked my head on the ground so hard that the straps broke loose. Two days afterward, my neck still felt like a 29er had ran over it. Read about it here.

2) Put together two *clean* laps at Fountainhead. Quixotically speaking, everyone has their windmills. Mine is "the hill" at Fountainhead. It's no more than 4 or 5 bike lengths long, but it's steep. It's right after the picnic tables on the way back to the cars, and it comes right after some rocks that take away all your momentum. I can clear it only about 30% of the time-- and that's with an audience watching to jack up the humiliation factor. For the first time I cleared it twice. Must be the new bike.

3) Agos is back at it. We played a couple of songs at the Smithsonian for a forum on the Filipino-American labor movement. Getting ready to play again tonight for a fund raiser for flood victims in the RP. This time with a five piece band. Geez, how long has it been since I played with a full on band...

4) Went out for a long ride last Sunday. 75 miles on the W&OD and C&O trails. Did the loop in just under 5.5 hours. Just me myself and aye-- cramming to build a base for this season with my first race coming up tomorrow, that is if the rain ever stops.

5) Still getting ready to move into the new house...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Tuesdays at Wakefield

Sagada at Wakefield
SagadaP at Wakefield
It was only last spring that I started taking Sagada to ride at Wakefield. She learned to ride in the softball field parking lot-- meandering along aimlessly trying to grasp the concept of steering and jumping off only when she lost control or when she ran out of asphalt. When she could control her turns I took her to the Creekside trail for her first taste of singletrack where she learned to ride over small roots and pick her way through the rocks. Although the trail was relatively flat, some of the small ups and downs didn't seem so small from the saddle of a four year old. "Follow my line" I'd call out when the trail got rocky, or "Hill coming up-- pedal harder little singlespeeder..." at every little change in grade. After a while it became second nature to her and she would take the lead. I'd ride behind, watching those little legs pick up the cadence as the hills came into view, or seeing a hint of body english in effect when trying to rail a turn. She surprised me a few times by getting over roots that I thought would surely send her off the trail.

And so it went almost every Tuesday through the summer and fall. While Gina rode with the MORE ride, Sagada and I would rip the Creek trail. We took a break in the Winter when it got too cold for her, but now that spring is here we've started up again. After a few warm up rides to get her biking legs back, we took it up a notch last Tuesday and headed for the race course, where we made short work of the "phase I" trails. She had to walk some of the climbs, but she got through all the dips, turns, and switchbacks beautifully. We paused at the top the hill (which she calls a "mountain") to admire the view. Below us, we could see the ribbons of singletrack that we had just ridden snaking through the trees. "Look Daddy, I climbed the mountain!" she says excitedly. My thoughts rush back to the time I first crested Signal Knob at Elizabeth Furnace. I know exactly how she feels. We finish off a Gatorade before pointing the bikes down the "mountain" and railing the switchbacks. On our way back to the cars we run into Rickyd leading a fast group of riders on the Creek trail. Normally I'd feel like I was missing out, but not this time. I'm exactly where I want to be.