Gazpacho and a couple of BLT sandwich's came to mind. We'd been out riding in the hot summer weather a bit. Kelly, Lisa and I. It's been a while since we've trained together, vacations, and work have changed up our routine a bit.
The redness, that shows through, the tan. The sweat, that won't stop. Shady trails just up the bluff from the river's cooling.
Loose grip flying along the dirt path, a drifting, flying along.
We ride, training together often, with the same goals.
Today I got out early, by myself, coffee, a solid breakfast. On to my workout. I hear, and I have to answer, I need the structure, love it. I don't think I'm losing anything, by doing 3 x 15 min. sweet spot intervals early on a Sunday morning. I'd ride hard anyway. and I really don't think you'd find a rider, that more than me, takes in everything I pass, more than me.
I got home around 10am and started on lunch. Fake morning star bacon, vegan mayo, lettuce, tomato, jalapenos, toasted grain bread. A bowl of Gazpacho.
You ever get them thoughts, cravings, during a ride deep into it, a bit from it's end...
I need the structure of racing. Just a few rules. A whistle to start, and a line to cross to stop. That's what I need.
I think cross is like a Dagwood sandwich, Put what you want into it , that you have at hand, and that you crave. More than you need, a chore to devourer, totally wipes you out. Smile.
In july I've got tan lines, bikes that creak from miles of hard work. Dreams. a Calender to make. Weeks to count down. Going to Nationals?!
and I've got those uncontrollable urges, childish, that I'll probably never out grow, cravings maybe it's an IPA or water ice, or winning an uncontested town line sprint, or a long storied opinion that I'm going to tell you as we pedal along.
and by gosh, that makes me glow like riding on a hot, humid summer day, keeps me happy!
There is something about the room to be yourself. and to be able to enjoy it, even it's just a short bit of time. To see it's flash there, know that it's really with you, It's in you and everyone else here is in the same boat, looking for their sparks.
You could lay it out like the frames of a comic book. Graphic. a good story, battles of some sorts, challenges lost, tragic, or won, heroic.
Is there enough, to feel a trust? I know, I am in the most elite demographic there is: White, Bald, Old man, American. How can I know?
Humbly embarrassed I'm happy to say, there is a lot for me to find. 1000's of years of stories. As I rolled out from my porch, with Kelly, Erin, and George rolling down to a simple, closed water ice stand, along an old tow path canal, to a ride, I'll lead, without being at the front. I took a couple of deep breaths. "I'm prepared, rehearsed, confident" and off we go again, with a "come on Anne"
Thanks for being yourself, the best, for going, for making the ride. Cheers PHL-CX! dlowe
Centennial Grounds is used for parking at the Mann, picnics, hidden campsite homes, dog walkers, a football team practices over by the site of the sighting of the Madonna. The hand of the Statue of Liberty sat on the edge of Centennial Lake. And its a good place, though flat, to get some hot laps and cx work in.
Maybe its one of things I love about cross the most, these sorta forgotten places, that are green, beautiful personality of places. These green and brown spots that I ride, if there were rules, and overseen, regulated and nice, I'd guess most likely I'd be kicked out. and I like that. It was steaming, and hot, and I did cx work. and I liked it. Damn it! Love it, the people, courses, muck, heat, beer, cold, bitterness cold. and there are always those three pine steps to dream about standing on!
I am self-employed, as a freelancer, I drive a lot, all over the place, to work. I never remember those drives, other more than I went up 95, or out the turnpike, across the Walt Whitman. I'm sure that along the way, I felt emotions driving; about the ass tailgating, or a to slow in the left lane car, but all those occurrences disappear, there is no need for them taking up memory space in my head.
Saturday, I turned left onto Bryn Marw ave. and picked up speed, it is damp and still cold, and the wonderful dunking my head into a large pail of ice water hits me.
The frozen ground of Belmont's trails is already getting slimey, and as much as I enjoy the cx feeling, of drift, and float, sinking into the ground and leaving a deep tread hole is bad for us.
I stayed in a steady state work zone, on the mountain bike slogging along. 3hrs. I'm always amazed but never surprised by how I roll up to my home finishing a loop, I can come in at a target, 3hrs, or very close, a 10 seconds, or 3 minutes off, but pretty much right on time.
There is an self satisfying gratification of keeping it moving forward, towards a challenging end. and I train to be faster, for racing.
Parachute hill was empty, none of the malarkey drunk cheers from the CX single speed worlds crowded along it, in the way, celebrating, pushing, enjoying the unexpected heavy snow fall.
up Summit climb, not on my ss cx bike,as I rode on a water ice loop, just getting on top of the pedals, turning, up to speed, and smiling big a bit at the young Featherman, who's working on getting his pedals to turn, the suffering youngster.
I'll turn right, down the cobbles, up Barren Hill, past where Lafayette made a stand so Washington could get away, Past the abandoned property on Andorra road, where I'd build our house if we won the lottery.
Back onto the spraying mud of Forbidden drive,....onward I'm rolling my bike, every second an embedding memory. Bikes are grand! dlowe
I had a grand training ride today, fitting for cross, damp, chilled.
following strict coaching instructions, I stayed to the plan. I road from the door of my house, down the cynwyd trail across the old Manayunk bride. Up Krams Ave. to pass my favorite house in philly, the most grand and special place, Beautiful, the old William B. Stephens x-public library. Then up to also on Kram Ave, the original home of Yard's beer.
I hope the residents in these tiny places, smell the malt history.
I love the days of pedaling, misty cold magic days!
the 1.5hrs of Z2, nothing but a base building day, passing the regular places, the Boxers trail, Coltrane's, up the steep incline behind the Phila art museum, just a tad urban cutting from behind the zoo. I counted 3 hobo home's, I've got nothing but admoration for those who live off the grid, in the city.
I love the days, of riding, AROUND!
Cheers to good coaching, and Z2 riding, good training racers, take it easy, and be Swift! dlowe
I sat on the couch last night and thought about how much life is in a 45ish minutes of a cross race. Then, it's much More, from the minute my alarm goes off on race day, and I lift my head off my pillow, eating, poops, music for the ride. The course pre-ride and finding good lines, rocks, segments that I know I'll have to fight getting dropped on. Twisting the pedal up a hair, in the grid, and knowing that the offical starting ya has quick lips to the whistle so be ready. This mud, these last races, it lets you know, how you respond, and judge yourself, does'nt it? It does for me. One race weak, next race strong, and both I finish in 5th place. Of all the seasons of racing, loud mouths hecklers, weeded out, training mates, strong. Blogs dead. and what I feel out there, I work for it, earned, and it never seems easy, To you, a pat on the back, well done. It is a small boat, but we all seem to fit in. Cheers! dlowe
I know that on a Sunday a few weeks into September, I want nothing more, than have some good racing done. Some memories, maybe it'll be of sitting under the pop up tent on a little sandy ground, by Sunset Lake, that will last. That when you wheel me out drooling for a soft food dinner, that don't require much chewing, I'll smirk. and you'll think it's a burp. I'll roll my eyes up, and look at you from under my bushy brows.
Sunday, I got a good bruised knee, on an enjoyable, slippery, great course, with some great new bits, Euro-ish, for a rare battle for me, where I had 5th for a bit, but lost it, slid out just near the end of the finale lap, and rolled in for 7th. I wasn't even going to race, but knowing how much I like Bridgeton, I tought I'd just go, maybe a tad easier, and enjoy the Sunday. Got into it, went way harder, and got a great result. The mud, rain.
The day befor, a jam band of two, were playing track side, at a course by the Black River, I wiped out, snapped the hanger, just in front of the band, with a limp chain I ran for a long way to the pit, got on my bike. spit, cussed, sped, and caught the back of the suffering pack, for a 16th. Good old Townhall.
or will the memory just end up being, following Kelly back to our cars, in the spray, and Jersey trucks blowing, with the pit bikes, and a couple of pictures snapped at the steep run up, confused dreams, whatever the memories are, I'm sure they will be grand. dlowe
I'm five races into this season, I've already retired from cross twice, sat in the penalty box for a foul, stood on the podium, some mud, some beer, fog, cx practice, drama, and tooling like a warrior on the run, about the local parks around my house tonight.
I've got a plus ten number of 50+ riders in front of me to a win. a recycle bin of empties, a many of cx indoor trainer intervals done I'm not quite deep enough into the season to have any hugs but I am a work on my handshake grip, and silent nod listening, mind blown post race listening
I went out on my bike tonight, by myself, for a pick up game, Hop the curb, make the fence cut out, around the tree, sprint. a Behind the school, fish tail the playground mulch pit, zipity do dah, 500 yard full on dash. Muscled up a too steep of a climb and shot back down it in the drops, knees knocking, cause,that's what I need to get better at.
I'll be up early tomorrow to do some core, and off the bike work, an easy spin, a stretch out, even got some breathing/meditation in there. Friday, ...openers, Townhall, Beacon... maybe a new blog, sunday. dlowe
I love the long beautiful drive, into the land along the brandywine I love the feelings I feel driving up the road, the people I will see, Granogue was the first race for me, of this cyclocross season. the tower standing looking down on me from on the top of the hill races another out come is a privilege to me something to work for
After the race the other night which tonight now seems long ago I was in bed, thinking, about the biting flies of Granogue, and hoping I did not bring any of them irritating bastards home with me trapped in my van. Over the years, unpacking, I have noticed some crickets stowed away in my gear. and many of them are now living with us, some out in our shed. That night I noticed, in the other wise quiet, while not being able to sleep. The sound of those crickets, and I wondered how many of them are related to those from Granogue.
A lot of stories of the days started playing in my head. Thoughts, little snipettes scenes, from racing the Madison Saturday, to being in the grid Sunday, to post race sitting under the pop up tent chatting, and getting nipped by those Granogue biting flies. and they blended with the others from over the years, sitting under pop up tents, with others, getting dropped in a climb chasing and losing a spot to a attack this year, in the climb to gain a spot then losing it mindlessly at the line for 12th.
To tell you the truth, I've always had the hardest time writing, and having things fresh, new, it did help to invigorate the words but to write after many visits, to the same race it's harder
I could not fall asleep that night. Boxing those memories again.
and, If I came back in life as anything, I'd be a few stakes and tape to an off-camber line, tricky, deceit. no one thinks they'd make the pass the line takes you faster and I don't touch the brakes. the tops of the tire treads seam up against the post, I take hold, faster, onward I go.