Thursday, February 23, 2006

And Then There Were Three...

The ranks of the Tuesday Night Swill (TNS) ride have begun to swell lately.

Last Tuesday's ride started out with four of us heading from Falls Church into Shirlington via the W&OD, Custis, and Mount Vernon trails. We started out with me, DT, Jason, and a new TNSer, Jonny B. Jon recently threw together on old 70s Raleigh he picked up off craigslist a little while back, after rattle-canning it a dark emerald and painting the lugs black. Turned out pretty sweet; sporting the original Weinneman brakes in pristine shape, an old skool set of dropbars that were waaay too narrow for my tastes (his too), and chromed drops front and rear. Single for now, but I'm trying to convince him to fix it.

DT was again running the old Fuji with the bad chainline, untouched since the last ride, which we all understood from past experience to mean that any long, rough downhills this time out would mean a dropped chain for him. Add into the mix the fact that his voice sounded like he'd gargled with crushed glass—he was coming off a nasty cold—and we had the makings of an interesting evening before us.

We headed off into the darkening streets with the idea of taking the long way into Shirlington to hit Cap City for food and the mandatory swill. ("Swill" is a bit of a misnomer here. When the beers typically run anywhere from $5 to $8 a pop, it's misleading to classify them with Bud—anyone remember A-B's "It's the Hops" ad...WTF?—and its mass-produced ilk. Still, the name endures, owing more to the character of the drinkers than the drink.)

I think we made it into Arlington before DT threw his chain the first time. We stopped and he caught up. Happened again a few miles later in Rosslyn, just before we hit the Mount Vernon trail at Key Bridge. While waiting at the bridge, we ran into Gwadzilla, who was either heading home from work or out on a ride. Not sure which; I didn't know it was him until later, sinced I've never met him, and I was too busy trying to find a tear that was developing in the sidewall of my front tire to pay attention (Panaracer Paselas suck and blow!).

Gwadz decided to hang with us for a while, and kept the ailing DT company at the back of the pack while we three cretins hammered on ahead, stopping periodically to let them catch up.

At the spot where the Mount Vernon and Four Mile Run trails meet, we got a call from DT saying his chain had exploded. Apparently, he needed more links than he had with him, and decided to bag the ride there and call his wife to pick him up. Probably a good idea since, like I said, he sounded pretty ill. Gwadz must have split about this time as well.

We continued on into Shirlington, Jonny B right on Jason's ass right on my ass all the way in. Locked up the bikes, headed into Cap City, grabbed a bar table, and Jason and I ordered the Belgian Trippel they had on tap, since the Double IPA was long gone. Pretty good stuff. Jon opted for a Hefeweizen.

Ate and drank another beer, then left it up to Jon to decide on the route back. We ended up taking the short way back along the meandering Four Mile Run trail. At an underpass in Arlington, I decided to throw in a little sweet suffering, and headed off the trail and up the long hill on Wilson Boulevard. From there, we took a right and screamed down Larrimore, crossed Patrick Henry, and hopped back on the Four Mile Run Trail. In a few turns of the cranks, we made our way over to the W&OD and stayed on it to the cars.

A good night of riding, just under 25 miles in all, I believe. Started out with four riders, went up to five, and ended with three, the usual number of TNSers. Guess the recent spate of unusually mild weather is bringing everyone out on the road, since the dirt trails are sloppy with no protracted freeze. Man, I'm jonesin' for some dirt!

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