I did it. I came out of my shell of “I should do that” and actually did it.
I rode my first ever bicycling event, with a friend! And it was awesome.
I didn’t go all out on the 65-mile 50 States Ride, but instead, opted for the easier 13 Colonies Ride, which came out to about 14 miles. My friend, Sarah, and I were probably the youngest in the 13 Colonies group, but no matter. We both had a blast, and were most definitely entertained by the older members of the group, with their overly caring nature. (“Where’s so-and-so?” “What’s the next turn?!” “Left on New Jersey all! LEFT ON NEW JERSEY!”)
Also, Go Terps! There were a lot of Maryland alumni riding with us.
It was a cool day, but not too cold. The sky was overcast, which was probably a good thing. The last thing I’d want is the sun beating down on my face as I traverse in semi-circles around D.C., though in hindsight, I probably should’ve worn my gym shorts instead of my denim shorts. But it all worked out in the end. (And the Terps shut out West Virginia that afternoon, making the whole day that much more special.)
I don’t remember the exact route we took (I still have my cue sheet though!). The riding itself seemed like a blur, but not forgettable. It was the first time I biked in DC, and the first time riding in an event, with a group, so perhaps my focus was on just not getting run over or bumping into Sarah. We had a few close calls. (Sorry, Sarah!)
Though, I do distinctly remember riding down the Pennsylvania Ave cycle track for a few short blocks from the White House to 6th Street, where we made a right turn.
OH GLORIOUS MOMENTS.
That short journey on the cycletrack was heaven enough for me.
Then we biked down the 15th Street track.
That was a lot of fun.
The only routes I’ve taken until Saturday’s event was the Georgetown Branch Trail between Bethesda and Silver Spring, Md., where I work/live. That trail is pooh-pooh compared to cycle tracks so you’ll understand my bounding excitement from not only surviving DC streets but biking on those damn cycletracks too.
It was also the first time I biked on sharrows. Those were kind of confusing and didn’t offer the same mental “safety zone” feeling that the cycletracks offered. At one point, the sharrows were also just the entire car lane? That was confusing.
The lunch stop was at Eastern Market. I’ve never been there before and it was quite nice. Sarah and I walked through the market, and tried some white peaches.
Best peach slice ever, it melted in your mouth and it was full of flavor.
After the ride, WABA had their after party at a pizza bakery/pub joint called Mellow Mushroom. Their pizza is pretty delicious. It was a nice place to end the ride, that last-ditch effort to finish the hill for some cool beers and cheesy pies. mmmmmmm—
The ride itself didn’t take as long as I thought it would.
The 13 Colonies portion of the ride started around 10:30 a.m. Sarah and I got to Mellow Mushroom around 2 p.m. I thought were out for much longer, but I guess all those stoplights make your ride seem longer?
Around 2:30 p.m. is when the skies just opened up and it started to pour like crazy. People started coming in from their ride drenched… but not from their sweat.
Around 3:30, the Maryland-West Virginia game was on, but the Mushroom’s DISH satellite was not having it with the rain, and we lost the feed.
All in all, a great, great, GREAT day.
Saturday was a day of many firsts: Took my bike on the train, and got my bike stuck in the train door; rode through DC by bike; rode on a cycletrack(s); took my bike home by bus.
Looking forward to next year. (And other rides until then.)
WABA has a nice Flickr pool going on.