velodrome and paw paws

the best surefire way to get some good hits to this blog is to write about paw paws.  i’ve no idea of why, but there are always tons of searches for paw paws.  but the reason i write about them is because i love them and i’m obsessed with them, not cause i want lots of hits.

but before we get to the paw paws, the way we get to paw paw picking – a trip to the velodrome.  i remember watching as a child the olympics and folks competing in these crazy races on these steeply banked tracks and thinking that they must be nuts.  i’d pretty much forgotten about velodromes until someone mentioned that there was an old abandoned velodrome up on mound road.  this made the gears turn again, but since it was in poor shape and i had no track bike my hopes were dashed.

then someone mentioned that there was a velodrome in bloomer park about 20 miles north of detroit.  as it turns out having a velodrome that close is quite a rarity and so having the chance to ride one that is that close is pretty lucky.  with this knowledge and that on saturday mornings you can get free lessons, and equipment, i managed to convince my good friend bobby and ma into join me on a trip to the velodrome.  ma called out sick at my instance, cause her knees were bugging her and i wanted her to join me later in the weekend on a walk in the woods, but bobby and i carried on.

so on to the velodrome.  we got our bikes, got our helmets, and got our shoes.  we were explained the basics of track riding by some semi-jockish men.  the first challenge for me was just getting clipped into the pedals as i’ve never used them, and then i had to immediately deal with riding a track bike, which i’ve only ridden once or twice, and then you combine that with someone barking orders at me and you have a pretty nervous patrick.  just about the time i sort of had the pedals figured out and kind of felt comfortable on the bike, they insisted that i get up on the track.  i had few problems with the flat part at the very bottom of the track, but then after a lap or two the guy was barking at me to get up onto the 44 degree banked terrifying part of the track.   you start out in the straight away, banked only something like 14 degree, not to0 scary, but then you go right into the banked corners, which look even steeper than 44 degrees.  the instinct is to slow down and be more cautious over unknown terrain, but if you don’t go fast enough you could very well slip off and crash.  you have to go fast into the turns in order to survive.  over time it came to be slightly comfortable, but it never felt safe, and seeing as the waiver told of possibility of death and dismemberment i can only assume that it was not safe.

the velodrome

but i found myself enjoying it, finding a rhythm in the stroke, looking further ahead in the turns, not spazzing out.  but after a couple of hours of all of this i found myself physically and mentally spent.  bobby and i packed up and moved on to the next task; paw paw picking.

bobby on the velodrome

which was not planned, but since we were so close to one of my favorite paw paw picking spots and i know bobby to be a fan of fruit picking it only seemed natural that i bring him into the fold.  we found some serious beauties. including plenty that were ready to eat.

first paw paw of the season

one of the main problems with picking paw paws is that they tend to grow high up in the tree.  one of the nice things about paw paws is they tend to be pretty flexible trees.  i have no real problem bending twenty-foot tall trees down so they are low enough to pluck the fruit.  observe.

bending down and tree and picking the fruit

this is a very sizable tree, and yet it bends much more than you would imagine for a tree its size.  the other method is to shake the tree vigorously, and gather up the fruits that fall.  i use that method on trees that are too tall and to big to gather the fruits by bending.

with a pretty brief trip into the forest we came out with a backpack full of fruits which we split, this is a photo of only my half of the bounty.

paw paws

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3 responses to “velodrome and paw paws

  1. We got in from neigborhood peach picking and coffee shop going, opened your blog email, I told Clem you got paws, and he ran out of the house in seach of!!!!!
    By the way we are going to the Paw Paw festival in Athens, OH this year. Do you want us to pick up some paw paw trees for you? We are also stopping at Lehman’s on the way down (the hardware store in Ohio that caters to the Amish, urban homesteaders, survivalists, envirnomentalists, and the nostalgic) Do you guys want anything from there?

  2. yes yes! I think this could be a dream date of mine, I have yet to see a paw paw and I have yet to try out my racing skillzz on the track. sounds divine.

  3. Pingback: best of 2010 | little house on the urban prairie

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