Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Worst July 4th Skating Video You'll See All Week

July 4th, I met up with the Washington Area Roadskaters for their July 4th skate. As I twittered, we met up at the White House, moved through Georgetown, Dupont Circle, Union Station, and then to the Tidal Basin to watch the fireworks.

I also filmed the most boring skating video ever made as we made our way through the Georgetown Waterfront:

I didn't have any fancy stabilizing rigs, just held the camera at my sternum, pointed mostly straight ahead. Which is why you mostly see butts. (You know what they say: Unless you're the lead dog, the view never changes. Which is fine, if you happen to be an assman.)

Through the first part of the skate, I was sucking wind, mostly because I was feeling the aftereffects of a few of these Porch Day beverages:

This was the first time in a long time that I wore my helmet while skating. I had a headlamp strapped to it (a River Rock 6V LED, uses 2 CR123 batteries -- got it on sale at Target) -- it's pretty powerful, with good throw and spill. It was useful to highlight road hazards, and also to let people know that I was coming.

It might have been useful for the skater ahead of me who was involved in a collision with a bicyclist as we were making our way through the crowds near the Mall, on our way down to the Tidal Basin. I didn't see what happened, but I don't think anyone was hurt.

We had a good spot on the Tidal Basin. Here's a fireworks photo:


Afterwards, we headed past the Kennedy Center to Foggy Bottom. At one point, we were on one of the roads that leads onto the 66 on-ramp (I was just following the crowd) -- a cop stopped us (since they were starting to release traffic onto the road), but was nice enough to hold up traffic at one point so we could cross the median and get to the Kennedy Center. (He didn't actually do it, but I could hear the *facepalm* in his voice.)

We ended up hanging out at the outdoor patio of a TGIF for a while for food and drinks (sorely needed, as I'd been starting to cramp up).

That's about it.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Please Don't Shoot the W&OD Trail Signs

I guess I should give up all other pretense and just turn this into a skating blog.

I wasn't planning on going again so soon after my blister harvest, but I was in Sterling doing errands and it was such a nice day that I couldn't resist.

I started at the Route 28 overpass at about 5:45pm and headed west. There weren't too many people out that late in the day, so it was pretty uneventful. I stopped at my turnaround point, the Luck Stone Quarry Overlook, plopped down on a bench and watched the vultures gliding on the thermals for a few minutes.

There's a plaque on the bench:

"In memory of C. Wayne Tolbert (May 14, 1917 - May 3, 2000), an outstanding lawyer and avid cyclist who enjoyed many hours riding on the W&OD trail and particularly enjoyed this view."

On the way back, took a shot of traffic calming zigzag stripes painted on Belmont Ridge Road (they were mentioned on Fark last week):

And here we get to the title of the entry. I noticed something different about a "Warn Before Passing" sign just off of Smith's Switch Station -- a bullet hole:

There's also a dent in the "F" that looks to be a second bullet strike. From the back of the sign, it's pretty obvious. Nice sized, too:


Anyway, my plan for afterwards was to try Cheeburger Cheeburger (I haven't been yet) as something of a reward (or, maybe the skate was pre-emptive penance), but that went out the window and I met a few folks, sweaty and stinking (me, not them) at Jackson's to rehydrate.

The feet held up okay -- I'd duct taped over the pinch points and hotspots, and it worked okay. I guess I'm getting ready for next Saturday's Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race. Which means I'll need to get a new heel brake before then (it's worn to the nub). I'm also working on a PVC mini-Fig Rig, which I hope will be a bit more suitable for a full day on skates than the Poor Man's Steadycam (which I still haven't really used). So we'll see how that goes.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Bicycle Cleavage, Crack and Bonking: W&OD Trail Skate Report

Ever wonder why oncoming cyclists on the trail wear big, shit-eating grins as they whizz by? I think it's either:

* Desire to share the joy of being outside
* A kind of rictus of effort
* Overexposure to athletic girls hunched over their handlebars while wearing scoop-necked tops

Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of said bicycle cleavage (which should actually be "bicyclist cleavage," but the other way sounds more interesting and less creepy) when I went skating on Saturday afternoon.

It was the first really nice, over-70 degree Saturday of the spring, and I went to skate my usual Reston-to-Sterling trek on the W&OD Trail. (I note that my phone autocomplete thinks I mean "slaves" when I type "skates.")

As I Twittered, it was busy, but not crowded.

From Herndon through Sterling, there were a lot of cracks that spanned the roadway, in some places every 40-50 feet. Some were fairly wide (especially when compared to a 76mm wheel):


There's a new-ish golf course just west of the Route 28 overpass -- where the hell did it come from?

Some of the bridge interfaces had widening gaps, and there was some subsidence at the edges of the trail at mile 24.5:

Lower angle:

Given the current budget realities, I'm just hoping they can at least slap some vinyl patches over some of the wider cracks.

Here we see some topped trees along the power line right-of-way:

The Bonking

From Reston (the lot off Sunset Hills and Old Reston Avenue, at the 7-11) to my usual turnaround point at Ashburn Village Road is about 18 miles round trip (throwing in a few speed runs up and down the western side of the Route 28 overpass). In retrospect, doing the full mileage for the first skate of the season was probably not the wisest idea.

On the way back, I started having some problems. The hotspots, which had been developing at the usual spots on the inside edges of my feet, had turned into full-on blisters. Big ones, too, since my feet hadn't toughened up yet.

The blisters altered my stride, and between that and just flat out bonking and hitting the wall, my quads started to cramp up pretty bad. With 5 miles left to go, I ended up having to stop for a few minutes about every half mile.

I was officially no longer having fun.

I nearly broke down and called for a ride a few times, but I eventually made it back to my car. It took a while. And my feet look pretty nasty right now.

I was pretty thrashed and almost bagged on a birthday party down at the Georgetown waterfront. But NewMediaJim talked some sense into me. Who says Twitter is useless?

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

So, a Rabbit Walks Into a Bike (and other events)

It's been unseasonably warm for October, so I ventured this afternoon into the weekend sunlight to skate. I preceeded this with a trip to the gym for a bonus beach muscles workout, which is a necessity if I'm going to complete my Michael Phelps Halloween costume.

(I'm not actually going as Michael Phelps. It'd be a simple costume, but I don't want to shave my bikini line. Also, I get cold easily. And, while I do have pectorals again, it's a long way from here to there. I did, however, get a costume inspiration Saturday night, so I've been shopping around for materials. Though I haven't actually, you know, formulated a plan yet, which is always a winning strategy. But I do know I need to buy a heat gun.)

Anyway, conditions on the trail were good. I started on the W&OD trail in Reston and headed east, which of course meant hitting the annoying hill at Buckthorn Lane (which features my favorite sign):

Actually taken coming back (westbound)

Nothing too eventful on the way out, and I turned around at Vienna. On the way back, I saw a bunch of vultures perched on a power tower, though the most notable thing happened back in Reston. There was an oncoming biker about 50 feet ahead of me, when all of a sudden, a rabbit darted out from the side of the trail and ran smack into the guy's back wheel.

For a bad moment, I thought the critter was going to get caught up in the works, but it just bounced off and scampered back into the brush.

I made it back without further incident. Afterwards, I went to Home Depot for some materials (did you know a 10-foot length of PVC pipe will bend just enough so I can fit it completely inside my car?), then to Harris Teeter (always a good idea, food shopping when you're ravenously hungry).

Saturday, I went to Oktoberfest Reston in Ye Olde Reston Town Center -- as noted, I didn't quite get how Zydeco music fit into the whole "Oktoberfest" thing.

Afterwards, we went to Jackson's Mighty Fine Food, which I didn't even know was there -- it was a parking lot a few months ago. It's a Great American Restaurants joint, so it's done up by the same folks who do Sweetwater Tavern and such (and looks it).

It was muy crowded -- we were surrounded by Stiflers (and the cougars who hunt them) -- though don't wear a baseball cap, else you'll be told to remove it (I suggested using it as a strategem to get a drink order in faster).

I think I packed it in before midnight, so I missed the excitement just up the street -- according to the Post, just down Sunrise Valley from me, a driver went off the road, hit a tree and flipped, killing him. Owwie. I predict more speed enforcement, and maybe another DUI checkpoint, in the neighborhood in the near future.

As to the rest of it -- the costume will involve some crafting, some engineering, and some construction, so we'll see how that goes.

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