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Monday, February 15

Unstuck from the Couch

With the forecast for temperatures hovering around freezing on Saturday, I was hunkered down on the couch the night before thinking I'd be just settling for some sad greenway crushing the next day...

Until I got a text from my neighbor, Adam.

He wanted to go for a real trail ride.  Hmmm.  Someone to share the sadness of cold fingers with.  Nice.  He's semi-new in town, and hasn't seen some of the lesser-visited trails locally.  We "settled" on Anne Springs Close Greenway, which is a trail, and not a greenway... but whatever.  I hadn't been there since probably the 2014 Tarheel Trailblazer End of Year Party.  I think.

A hectic morning of adulting and I cross the street to Adam's house with my bike at dead on noon.  His car is out front.  He's behind some bushes mumbling to his phone.  I go to inspect this situation.  His crank is removed, he's wearing one blue nitrile glove, and he's asking if the person on the other end of the conversation has a bottom bracket.

Maybe I won't have to ride after all.

He strikes out on the phone.  No luck.  I stick my finger in his bottom bracket and give it a twirl.  It's ugly, but it spins.  I tell him that if it got him through his last ride, it will get him through another.  He goes ahead and starts reassembling his bike while I head over to my next door neighbor's house.  He has a limb that's threatening the very existence of our cable line when the tree ices over (like might happen Monday), so I ask him if we can cut it down.  Back to Adam's to borrow his extendable limb saw, almost drop the largest portion on The Pie's car, almost take out the cable ourselves cutting off the second portion, and then finally remove the last hunk of unwanted tree.

Adam has his bike back together now, and my other neighbor and I did more good than damage in the same amount of time.

Oh, about the ride.  Two things.

This is more a testament to how quick Adam is on the shutter than it is my still struggling wheelie skills.

Anne Springs is in incredible shape.  Charlotte mountains bikers have had a lot to bitch about over the years down there (it's technically in SC).  Reduced trail mileage, higher fees, zero trail maintenance... the usual.  That's all kinda changed.  I'm now used to paying $3-5 dollars at a few other trails in and around Charlotte, so $5 just doesn't matter that much anymore.  There were more improvements to the trail than I could count.  The handlebar width suspension bridge was widened.  Wet spots had been re-routed much for the better.  Riding all the trails in a creative loop so as to cover all the ground in both directions netted us twenty miles.  It still remains one of the (dare I say this?) prettiest places to ride a bike in the area.  It took Adam "ooohing" and "ahhhing" to remind me to take a look around at my surroundings and stop being a jaded asshole.

This astounded me.  Who goes out for a long ride/run (one long enough to need to eat) but doesn't have enough room to carry their Nature Valley bar?  Or is this a "trail gift," and if so, who trusts (non-beer) trail gifts?

The other thing.

I need to get out on my mountain bike more often.  My bike handling is off just a bit.  Not that I'm the best bike handler in the world to begin with.  It's just that things felt goofy.  Poor judgment going through a rock pile early on in the ride sent me to the ground.  Later on, as I was internally dealing with my faded cornering skills, I clipped a pedal on a root trying to get on it out of a turn and went sailing.

That's the divot my knee made in the very forgiving earth.

Too many chut around town rides lately.  Not enough time on real trails.  I've lost some of the feel for the bike.  Meh.

That and something else.  Tomorrow.