Thursday, March 18, 2010

Parade of Visitors

In addition to mountain biking, last weekend was filled with visitors:
1) Frosty was back in town, and we were able to catch up to him for a day and an evening up in SF, including a museum, dinner, and jazz club. Check off a good visit and cultural enrichment :)
2) Linda came down to see us and Frosty. Check off good company in the house and good Grandma fun for Nimue :)
3) It was our turn to take the 2nd grade class rats home for the weekend. Check off smelly vermin....they are actually pretty cute, and quite smart, though not very obedient :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Good thing the camera's shock- and waterproof

It's wildflower season at Henry Coe State Park, so we've headed over there to mountain bike for the last couple of weekends. It's pleasantly warm without being blisteringly hot like it can be in the summer. The hills are green, the flowers are out, and the creeks are full. There is also an abundance of mud, most of which is now plastered all over the bikes.

The first time we headed down, Chad rode with his buddy Randy and the guys, leaving Nimue and me to explore the mostly flat trail along Hunting Hollow. At first I felt a brief twinge of annoyance at being stuck with a low-key ride, but the trail Nimue and I were on soon proved to be a wet fun-filled adventure of creek crossings, which was quite a delight. I got a lot of creek riding practice myself, and it was particularly entertaining watching Nim, who is often pretty cautious, learn to bash through the water with great abandon.

Nimue's pretty good at cheerfully pushing her bike uphill when she needs to. Note the gorgeous setting with the violently green grass that pushes its way out of the ground this time of year.

The obligatory tongue-sticking-out shot. She's enjoying a peanut butter, nutella, and dried cherry sandwich on homemade sourdough.

I discovered the hard way that filming one's kid from behind with a handheld camera while riding through a even a minor creek is not always the best idea.

Watching me topple over into the creek and then burst out laughing seemed to let Nimue relax a bit more with her riding, as after I fell she began to wipe out in the mud too.

Many, many, many more crossings. Good thing it was warm-ish.

The extra dry clothes in the car that she had packed weren't enough; Nimue cracked open the bag of emergency clothes that haven't seen the light of day since the 1980's.

In the end, we decided that the guys all missed out on the real fun.

This last weekend, Linda was in town and willing to watch Nimue, so I got to do a "real" ride with Chad and the guys. A couple hours of riding, a few thousand feet of climbing, some bushwhacking through the tall grass. Yes, I'm slow going downhill (too much self-preservation instinct to ever be a really good mountain biker), but I did manage to hold my own for the most part going uphill. It's gorgeous -- and this time I didn't fall!

Is that my Mom or a middle-schooler?

This last week, Nimue acheived a new milestone: she got to leave school on her bike all by herself for the very first time. Having ridden literally thousands of miles with her over the last couple of years, I've known for a while that she now has the judgment and skill to ride that particular familiar route. She knows her way around, has good control of the bike, is polite to other sidewalk users, and appears to have the proper amount of paranoia about cars making mistakes at intersections. So, when it seemed that I would be stuck at home waiting for the person who was coming to diagnose our annoyingly slow DSL line right when school got out, we decided to let her ride home on her own.

Imagine big wide happy Nimue eyes: "You mean you are going to let me ride home ALL BY MYSELF?" Needless to say, she liked this idea. She was a little nervous that morning, but still thought she should do it (and of course got lots of encouragment from me, Chad, and Linda, who happened to be visiting).

It turned out that the DSL guy finished just about exactly when I would have left to pick Nimue up, but I wanted to let her have the satisfaction of the small step towards independence. Mom disease reared its ugly head though, leading me to think maybe I should check on her, so I rode toward the school to meet her halfway. After a couple of minutes, a very cheerful, fast Nim on a red bike came charging down the sidewalk, stopped at the light, gave the driver who was thinking about turning right across the crosswalk a look to see that she could go, and came toward me to chatter about how great it was. What a good kid! She greeted me saying something like: It was so fun, why are you here? I rode toward Mary and saw you and thought "Is that my Mom or a middle schooler?" Chatter chatter chatter all the way home. "No really, from a block away, you could be a middle-schooler!" I'll take that as a compliment, I guess :)