Before I begin today, I think I need to promise you something: eventually, this post will be about bikes. And not just tangentially. But I am taking the long way around.
So you may want to go get yourself a snack.
I’ve been reading Little House on the Prairie to the twins. Specifically, I’ve been reading it to them for a few minutes right when they get up, reading it to them as they eat breakfast, reading it to them during their after-school storytime, and reading it to them during bedtime storytime. And whenever else we both have free time.
The girls are hooked, and the truth is, I am too. Little House on the Prairie (that’s right; I mistakenly skipped Big Woods — the girls understand that we’ll be taking an extended flashback once this book is done) is a compelling, well-written story, though I do a little real-time editing to remove some of the more embarrassing prejudice of the period.
This morning, I was reading the chapter where Laura and Mary are certain that Santa isn’t going to come because the river’s too high (“This was before Santa had reindeer,” I explained to the twins) for his pack mule to get across. Then, of course, Mr. Edwards shows up — having waded the river — and tells the girls that he met Santa in town and was instructed to bring each of these presents: their very own tin cup (they had to share before), a candy cane, a little cake, and a penny.
The girls, naturally, are overwhelmed with this wonderful array of gifts. And as I read this to my own girls, I got all sniffly, misty, and tight-throated myself. Luckily, I am so masculine that I have no problem admitting I cry when reading children’s literature.
Meanwhile, my twins are looking each other with their “What’s dad’s problem?” look. And yes, at age 7, they already have that look.
Susan’s been doing well lately. She’s not stronger, but she’s not weaker. She has more energy, and has in fact been getting a lot done — she’s down to the last 20 or so of the 80+ bracelets she’s committed to make, and has been spending a lot of time working on finishing her novel (I bought a Dell Mini 9 netbook for her to write with — much lighter and more comfortable for her to rest on her lap).
Then, over the weekend, I talked with my sister Kellene. She volunteered to come over and take care of Susan and the kids toward the end of this month so I can go ride Kenny’s annual Ride Around White Rim in One Day (RAWROD) event. And Susan’s feeling good enough that I feel like it really is OK for me to go.
And suddenly, I am totally giddy. Goofy. More than usual, even. By a lot.
I get to go on an all-day ride. And camp with friends. In Moab.
Of course, I have been on dozens and dozens of overnight mountain bike trips. At one point, they even seemed a little mundane.
Not now, though.
This trip’s my very own tin cup.
As if that weren’t good enough news, yesterday Spring arrived. And not just in a minor way, either: blue sky, mild breeze, and warm enough to ride in shorts and short sleeves.
My first thought was to get on my road bike and get out on the road for a couple hours. After all, it’s been snowing and blowing so much I just couldn’t imagine trails being any good.
But I so wanted to take the Singlefly out.
So I made a plan: “I’ll ride the Singlefly out to Lambert Park,” I thought, “just to see how muddy the trails are. Then”
I got to Lambert Park and…the trails — at least at the trailhead — were not muddy.
But how could that be? It has been snowing daily for more than a week.
“OK, I’ll just ride up the trail until things get messy, then turn around,” I thought.
But the trails didn’t get messy. They stayed perfect — tacky and clean — for the entirety of a two-hour ride.
During this ride, I discovered something a little bit embarrassing, but also very wonderful. You see, I have always thought of Lambert Park as a ride of last resort. It’s only a half mile from my house, but I haven’t spent much time there because I’ve been concentrating on the evolving wonder that is Corner Canyon. Or during the Summer, I take every opportunity to ride the Ridge Trail network.
So, regarding Lambert Park as a second-class trail system, I often forgot it even existed.
What a fool I have been!
Here’s the Lambert Park trail network:
That’s almost all singletrack. Miles and miles and miles of excellent, highly-varied singletrack. Half a mile from my house.
And I’ve just been ignoring it. Excuse me for a moment while I pound my head against my desk.
Yesterday, excited about being (finally!) outside on a new bike, I just explored. And I found Wildcat — a fast, open singletrack descent through scrub oak, with several jumps. I found Spring, a twisty climb that tops out and sends you on a forested descent, dodging trees along the way.
And I got reacquainted with Lambert Park’s main claim to fame: Rodeo. Rodeo is a downhill-specific rocketsled ride down a ravine, banking high and dropping fast.
Every time I have ever ridden Rodeo, I’ve immediately climbed back up for another run. Everyone does. It’s that fun.
Lambert Park is a nice piece of frosted cake when you haven’t had cake in months.
After work today, I am heading right back over. And this time I’m bringing the helmetcam.
(If you’re local, email me and join me for a ride this afternoon. This trail is too perfect to not ride today. And besides, helmetcam videos are always a lot more fun when there’s someone in the picture.)
I want to be cautious about this, because my joy at just being out on my bike yesterday might possibly have made any bike in the world seem wonderful.
But you know what? That Singlefly feels pretty darned fantastic. It is so light it makes up for the fact that I am fat and slow. It feels nimble and stable. And like all singlespeeds, it feels direct. Unfiltered.
So anyway, the thing I want to be cautious about is saying that this is my favorite bike, ever. Because that’s a bold thing to say after just three short rides.
But it is how I feel at this moment.
I am so glad Spring is here.