I had a nice MTB ride saturday with most of the usual shop ride regulars. We hit Patapsco for about 2:15 of riding time. I think it was the longest MTB ride I've done this year - not that I've ridden the MTB much, what with the wet spring and the foot issues. I switched my Sunday workout over to Saturday - it entailed a bunch of 75 second efforts, at low cadence, pedaling up hills seated. What a coincidence! That's exactly how Patapsco rides! Well, except for the 7-10 minute climbs. I tried to ride them hard for 75, then easy, and so forth.
It worked nice except for the fact it was muggy and I haven't ridden MTB much so it was physically a lot harder on me than it usually is. Patapsco is definitely an intermediate level riding area. It's mostly pretty smooth single track, with challenging technical patches that can mess you up as you roll into them thinking it's all smooth and easy. Lotta rocks, that I'm only just learning to ride, lotta logs, and a lot of compound obstacles that are a little tough to clear - drop into water with rocks, a root & mud going out the other side, for example. My Expert friends forget this, but when you haven't ridden the MTB much lately, a 12" log looks more like 12'. Still, it was a total blast and refreshed my mind after a tough week of travel. The only true downer is that it physically wiped me out in a huge way. After the ride I looked in the hydration pack, mentioned that I'd drunk 55 ounces in a little over two hours - a lot, but not a huge amount. When I took the pack out when I got home, I noticed I'd been holding it funny earlier, and realized I'd drunk around 85 ounces of water. Yeah, you try doing that in two hours. I was so punked that I couldn't do my ride the next day, and stayed inside the house painting trim. Sounds like a euphemism for something fun, but it really isn't, I was painting various bits of molding.
The travel was interesting. I was in Phoenix doing some training for part of the week, via Minneapolis (don't ask). While in Phoenix I decided to rent a bike, and got a nice Trek 2.1 from BikeBarn, which a former Coppi recommended to me as a good shop. In addition to having nice bikes for rent at some of the better prices in town, they were really cool. How cool? Well, I was taking a nice relaxed ride on Monday in 107 degree heat when I hit some road debris - the shoulders are nasty down there. The rear tire explosively decompressed, and I had a speed wobble from hell, since I was doing around 30 MPH with traffic closing in at the time. I kept cool, slowed down, and got to the side. Lo and behold, there was a 3/4" slice in the sidewall of the tire, and the tube was shredded like Mu Shu Pork. Since I'm a good Boy Scout, despite never actually having been a Boy Scout, I was carrying my flat wallet and some Gu. I ate the Gu, mainly to feel better because superheated Gu is a real comfort food, and also to have something with which to boot the tire. I checked the tire for razor blades, chainsaw parts, or James Bond Villain Decapitation Saws - the only things that can cause a cut like that - and finding none, used the Gu wrapper to boot the tire. I wobbled back to the hotel. When I returned the bike I volunteered to pay for a new tire - this was a brand new Bontrager tire I had just torn up - but they told me not to sweat it. Very cool of them.
Seattle was nice too, but I was way too gassed from work and too jet lagged to ride. I'm kicking myself because I understand there's some great singletrack within 15 or 20 minutes of downtown. Oh well... next time.
People ask me if I'm on twitter. I'm not. If I wanted to read: "sitting on couch." "Hangin' out playin' Wi." "Not sure whether to shit or go blind," I'd write it myself and save the wear and tear on my eyes from having to read that sort of dreck. But there is one Twitterer that I check out regularly. This guy. Yep, the click is worth it.
My Jalapeno plant recently gave up its first dozen or so peppers, so I made jalapeno omelets on Sunday morning. Thinking they'd be about the intensity of storebought jalapenos, I slid a wedge into my mouth and chewed. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! @@@@@@@@@@@@@!!! Daaaaammmmnnn! It caused a minor emergency, which culminated in me rubbing cool, sweet ham on my lips, and alternating the ham chunks with sips of milk and bits of bread. Fair warning people: your own jalapenos may be an order of magnitude stronger than the storebought stuff. My guts are churning today as a result.
Okay, fine, maybe dinner last night didn't help. The excellent liquor store at Staples Corner in Crofton - a great shop that is passionate about quality beer - hosted a beer tasting with Rogue Brewery at Lemongrass last night. The food was wonderfully tasty Thai stuff, and the beer ranged from solid (Hazelnut Brown) to sublime (Chipotle Ale and Chocolate Stout). Oh, that stuff didn't hurt my stomach at all, but putting a bunch of beer and way too much Thai food on top of the whole jalapeno that had been in my omelet? If my guts had eyes, they'd be looking at me right now like a dog that had been kicked, repeatedly. For what it's worth, the Chipotle Ale seemed like it would be a good match for king or snow crab or maybe some grilled rockfish, something mild that a slightly smoky, spicy beer might set off well; and the Chocolate Stout was sublime with vanilla ice cream. They make it by adding Belgian dark chocolate to the wort. Yummy! I had previously thought of Rogue only as the company that made Dead Guy Ale, an okay beer that is well made but not my favorite. After trying their other stuff, I'll definitely be looking for Rogue brand beers in the store. As for Staples Corner Liquors? They may have the best selection of Belgian and craft brews in the D.C. area. They're nice folks, and knowledgeable. I try always to patronize them, even if I'm just getting a box of red table wine to keep in the fridge, just to encourage them and their eclectic tastes.