Just a Fun, Easy Ride in the Capital City Wasteland
Man, that was just what I needed! Bob texted me on Monday afternoon asking if I wanted to do a “leisurely” ride. I responded with, “When and Where?” So Bob showed up at my place with his brand new Specialized Epic 29er Comp, and I of course mounted my new steed, Betty.
The original plan was to head out on the roads and then pick up the Greenway, ending up at the capitol building before returning to my house. The weather was beautiful, and we headed out with no intentions of pushing the pace. We just wanted to get out on our new bikes in the warm, fading sun.
After riding the Greenway for awhile, we came to a construction zone with the road closed to traffic, and our plans of riding to the capitol immediately disappeared. It’s not very often that you get to ride on a deserted street in Jefferson City, so we took advantage of it. We rode on the wrong side of the street, zigzagging back and forth. We screamed at the top of our lungs, fist pumping as if we were on Jersey Shore. Bob even took a leak right there in the road. We were untouchable. We were invincible. And for a brief moment, we were the kings of the world.
At the end of this closed road, we discovered a vast wasteland of a rock quarry/construction zone where the new Menards store is going in. We wandered all over the place with absolutely no one around. It felt like we had wandered into a ghost town.
At one end of the quarry, there was a huge hill that had been blasted to release the rock held within its belly. And of course Bob wanted to ride down it. Now, remember that we are leaving for the High Profile Adventure Camp and The Lightning Strikes Adventure Race on Friday. You would think it would’ve been prudent to use a little common sense and caution so nobody gets hurt right before our big weekend, right?
Well, if you think Bob wasn’t going to ride down this thing, then you don’t know Bob Jenkins very well. Why would Bob want to do this? In the words of George Mallory when asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, “Because it’s there.”
Fortunately, Bob made it down unscathed even though he crashed once. His new bike was douched with mud and had a couple of small scratches, but hey, you gotta break it in sometime, right?
From here we headed back towards the closed road, but we weren’t done having fun. I saw Bob effortlessly go up and over an 8 to 10 inch curb. When I said that I sucked at doing that, Bob informed me that we weren’t leaving until I cleared the curb properly.
He showed me the power stroke wheelie, and I just couldn’t get the hang of it at first (I know that most of you probably think I should already know how to do this, but I say it’s never too late to learn something new). I soon learned (thanks to Bob) that I was pulling too hard with my arms and not using the power stroke and backward lean enough.
After a few more tries, I got the hang of it. I’m not sure if it looked good, but it felt really good. It felt almost effortless when I got it right. This should come in handy the next time I need to clear a log on the trail. Normally, I’d just try to muscle my way over an obstacle, but now I might be able to finesse it a little more.
From here we hopped back onto the road since it was beginning to get dark, and then we headed back down the Greenway. We decided to stay on the road since the Greenway was so crowded with walkers and runners and… Wait… What was that flash we saw speeding down the Greenway? It was our friend, Stoney Cranmer heading the other way on the Greenway.
He soon caught up to us, and we found out that he had been doing something called “hill repeats.” I’m not sure what that even means. So the three of us rode together for awhile, and we followed Stoney back to his house. The sun had now set, and it was dark. I pulled out my e+Lite headlamp (perfect for this kind of thing) so that we would be seen by oncoming traffic. Bob, of course, decided not to bring a light because that’s just what Bob does.
As we were saying our goodbyes to Stoney, I somehow went from sitting on my bike with one foot still clipped into the pedal to hopping around on one foot while trying to keep my balance. I almost went down on my face, but I managed to hop off the bike and stay on my feet while keeping the bike upright. It must have looked really, really graceful. It was only when I got home that I noticed I scraped my leg against the front chain ring.
So we bid adieu to Stoney, and we headed back to my house shortly thereafter with no problems. We had only gone about 14 miles, but we had a lot of fun on a beautiful evening. It was exactly the kind of ride I needed – nothing too strenuous but a lot of fun. And hey, I learned a new skill, and that is always a good thing.