Saturday brought the last ride on Little Nellie for a while. I rode to my daughter’s last high school lacrosse game. She played goalie. As a parent I had mixed feelings. Most of the shots she would stop would hit flesh and turn into ugly bruises after the game. You want her to play well, but you hate to see the consequences. Ironically, this is the first season of high school sports that she played injury free, despite having to wear ice bags every night.
At one point on the ride to the game, I spent a half mile dodging several dozen runners who clogged the Rock Creek Trail. They were running side by side, hopping unpredictably to avoid puddles, refusing to move over to let me pass and generally being a pain in the ass. I was pretty impressed that I didn’t collide with any of them. This sort of thing is sadly not all that unusual in the summers around these parts. Soon it will be hot and muggy and these folks will be on treadmills until September.
The ride home was pleasant enough. The skies never carried out their threat to rain like a bitch.
Sunday was devoted to bike maintenance. Little Nellie barely made it up to Calvert Street from Rock Creek Trail. Her chain was skipping across the cogs at unpredictable intervals. I managed to maintain forward momentum all the way up the hill, and the subsequent ride up 29th Street. I installed a new Capreo cassette myself. Then took the bike to my local bike shop for a bunch of other repairs including a new chain, two new sprockets (front gears), three new cables and housings, a headset adjustment, re-lubing of the bottom bracket, and new front brake pads.
After the maintenance was taken care of, I sat down to watch sports on TV with my son. We watched a Nationals game and a Capitals game. This was hard work so we ate chips and queso dip to keep our strength up.
This morning I felt like a sumo wrestler. I wobbled out to the shed and mounted Big Nellie. I swear she groaned. I used to eat anything I wanted and lost weight. Of course, I was running 70 miles per week at the time. That’s the caloric equivalent of about 280 miles of riding. Ain’t gonna happen, folks. Gotta stop snacking with the homeboy.
The ride to work was less than vigorous. I saw two of my regulars, Hoppy Runner and Hardware Store Man, on the way to work. Some bike commuters had the audacity to pass Big Nellie near the south end of the airport. Big Nellie does not like such rudeness. Suffice it to say, that Big Nellie put the hammer down. Street luge in the cool of the morning will put hair on your fairing.
An amazing thing happened at the Rosslyn Circle of Death. I have to cross the I-66 off ramp where it intersects North Lynn Street at a traffic light. They never stop when the light turns red. Today, they did. I felt like getting off my bike and congratulating the drivers. Such is life in the zone of certain death.
After leaving the office, I stopped to chat with Bob (Don’t Call Me Rachel) Cannon of the FCC and the FCC. Over the last year a Hispanic man had set up home in the brush along the trail near the Rosslyn Circle of Death. He had meticulously built a home of sorts by lashing together a lattice work of sticks and other materials. It was pretty ingenious. He occasionally played a violin while sitting on a bench next to the trail. Somebody decided that his squatting was not to be and they bulldozed his home of sticks. I hope he finds someplace to live. He added character to the trail.
On the Mount Vernon Trail I was passed by Eric the Nine Hour Lawyer. Eric works at my former office and rides to work during the spring, summer and fall. I figure he works nine hours because I only see him riding home.
During both legs of my commute, I checked out the trunks of trees along the way. No cicadas yet. We are only days away from a spectacular invasion of a few bazillion creepy flying bugs.
Just as I passed the secondary runway at National Airport, a jet took off over the trail behind me. For a moment, I thought that the roar was chips and queso hitting the afterburners on Big Nellie’s engine.
South of Old Town, I spotted a massive motorcade of police vehicles. It was the escort of a pack of bicyclists riding the Police Unity Tour. Kate, a fellow #bikedc blogger, and DC police officer also rode in the event as she did last year. It raises awareness of police officers killed in the line of duty and for a memorial and museum in their honor.
A few miles later I pulled over to check out the Morningside bald eagle nest. It is almost completely obscured now by the leaves on the trees. I waited for a few minutes and then I saw the flapping of wings from a large bald eagle in the nest. It was probably feeding its eaglets.
I moved on and heard a strange sounding bird flying overhead. It was a large osprey, with a bright white underbelly, flying in swoops over the Parkway. It was putting on quite a show.
The ride home was effortless. Could it be that chips and queso are miracle bicycling food? That would be awesome. Sadly, ceteris was not paribus. My easy ride home was attributable to a strong tailwind, the kind that turns in Big Nellie’s fairing into a sail.
Latin spoils everything.