"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


What takes me back to the District

What could possibly top a scene like the one I took in towards the end of my post-Asheville vacation to Washington, D.C. to see friends and family...

I was sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, wishing my dad a happy birthday while scattered storms meandered past The General's monolith, interspersed with golden rays of evening sun. The faint but powerful driving rhythm of bass and drums could be heard across the reflecting pool, its surface brushed in waves by unseen fingers of air, beneath the familiar melody of "Message in a Bottle."

I'd left Sting, my friends, and Earth Day to fulfill what must be done on a trip to DC: to read Jefferson's and Lincoln's timeless words, to see the 58,000 names, to think for myself. No matter how many times I come back...it must be done. I began walking after standing and sitting for hours on the grass between the museums, while all matter of legends spoke and sang to us, from Jesse Jackson to Booker T, but finally my stiff and injured back could take no more. While Sting brought his pomposity to the stage I could get my 90 minute pilgrimage accomplished, and then meet everyone again for dinner.

And there I was, on those steps, above that inspiring vista, when two Marine helicopters, one almost certainly carrying the President, approached from the north and banked east, just above me, towards the Mall and the crowd. And as it turned south again, a great roar rose up from the people, assembled on America's lawn, letting loose their approval at this salute to their Earth Day celebration.

What could top that, I ask you.

Perhaps a bike ride on a misty Saturday on a rented beach cruiser with a friend at my side. Down the lanes, both marked and unmarked, over the crushed gravel in Lafayette Park, and posing for a picture in front of the White House. Up Capitol Hill, past police and tourists and senate staffers. And down, down past colorful townhomes and walk ups, down past bodegas and bars. Down the hill toward the mouth of Anacostia to the Navy Yards, a neighborhood in flux, perhaps turmoil from economic uncertainty, but a destination the less. The new Nationals Park stands almost timeless amid it's surroundings, not trying to be anything its not, and in the process being much more. A familiar venue without any pretension beyond the $8 beer, its structure is a testament to understatement. That, and the idea racing Presidents is just as good as racing Sausages.

What could top that, I ask you.

Perhaps, topping all of that, is the first moments you see your friends and family, after many months...appearing in the gloam, looking up over a freshly lit cigarette, or popping through a doorway, with a smile for you and the promise of another year's memories.

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