Sunday, April 27, 2014

Stop and Smell the Roses


I saw a post on Saturday on my friend, Brad Hancock's, Ocean to Bay 100k ride which asked "what was your speed?" Too many times cyclists, especially road cyclists, measure rides in terms of speed.

Unfortunately, I read years ago on the then author stating that "no ride that doesn't average at least 15 mph is worth it." I haven't been able to shake that notion but on some of my favorite rides I have averaged under 15 mph. I have been with a slow group or by myself and just took the time to appreciate what was around. Today was one of those rides.

Barry and cousin, Christy Larson

I did a modified "Airport Loop." The full loop encompasses the Washington & Old Dominion (WOD), Custis, Mount Vernon, and Four Mile Run Trails. This one was a little different.

Barry and cousin, Christy Larson

When I reached Columbia Pike I turned onto the pike and rode to the Sheraton Pentagon City. Note to self: Columbia Pike is not a great bike route. There I met cousins Christy and Evan Larson. Although I have corresponded off and on for years with Christy, this was our first time meeting in person.

From the Sheraton I was a little unsure where I was going. Well, I knew where I could go but decided to try something a little different. I dipped into the Pentagon parking lot not knowing if there was a good way out to the north but knowing I could cut across to the Mount Vernon Trail.

In the parking lot I met two young people on City Bikes studying a map. I rode up to them and asked where they were looking to go. They said Arlington National Cemetery so I told them I would take them there.

Two Visitors from Zurich Switzerland

They were from Zurich, Switzerland. I told them I would be there in July. They told me to have fun and eat plenty of chocolate. Don't worry my friends, I will.

I dropped them at the cemetery main gate then followed a bike path to the Netherlands Carillon which is between Arlington Cemetery and the Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima). There were beautiful vistas here, overlooking the Potomac River and Washington, D.C. I stopped to "smell the roses." Actually I took a lot of pictures.

Rather than held over to the Custis Trail I decided to see where the bike lane in Rosslyn (or is it Ballston?) took me. Other than the 4-5 cars that were stopped (parked) in the bike lane, it was a pleasant trip through the city -- a little different than the trail that I am frequently on.

In Benjamin Banneker Park in Falls Church I stopped and watched a few minutes of U10B soccer. Well, mostly I watched the referee and was glad he wasn't one of mine.

Wear referee socks, dude

On the section of the W&OD that is parallel to Shreve Road, I was passed by two riders. Granted, one was when I came to a stop to cross the road and the first rider did a sling shot move around me. My thought was they were big riders, maybe at the start of their ride. I didn't try to stay with them. I was on a relaxing ride.

But in another half mile I saw them start the climb up to I-66. I knew with a 100 yard head start I wouldn't see them again but I jumped onto the road and and quickly overtook both. Now that felt good. And I never saw them again - I left them behind. On a day in which I rode slow, enjoyed the scenery, met cousins, I surprised myself by overtaking these two strong riders.

In the end, a great day. I didn't even average 15 mph. Not all rides are about speed. But this was a great ride.

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