Sunday, September 25, 2011

No cyclist left behind

It's been nearly a year and a half since Ollie and I returned to our beloved District after riding over 7,800 miles through 29 states and working on farms. Admittedly, from time to time we do muse about tackling those other 21 that we missed during our round-the-country trip. (Okay, maybe Hawaii and Alaska weren't really ever part of the plan. Still....) Yesterday we had a chance to take another crack at a multi-state bike tour, courtesy of WABA's annual 50 States ride. Well, first we had a volunteer shift with these lovely ladies:

After nearly four hours of handing out burritos and wisecracks at the Eastern Market pit stop, I tagged along with the "sweepers" that brought up the rear ranks, keeping an eye out for lost riders or those in need of help changing a flat. You know, the NCLB team. (I do believe that our "No Cyclist Left Behind" policy was more effective than our nation's similarly abbreviated educational initiative, but I digress....) As we rode along, I marveled at our curiously perfect cycling weather -- in the 70s and slightly overcast -- and mentally checked off a few more states: Arkansas, Utah, North Dakota, Colorado....

It was just like being on a real cross-country bike tour: I got ridiculously hungry every 15 miles or so (luckily, Mike handed me emergency dried mangoes and granola bars); we got notably lost (Alan and I missed the turnoff onto West Virginia Avenue, realizing our error multiple miles later as we wandered the precarious trolley tracks along Benning Road in Northeast); I found myself swearing on my way up hills (I'm talking to you, Montana and Hawaii Avenues). Of note: South Dakota remains my least favorite street in the city, closely followed by New York, Michigan, and Florida Avenues. (Hopping onto the tour when I did, I was fortunate enough to have missed oft maligned and poorly signed Texas Avenue over in Southeast.) We made it to the end, though, covering the final 35 miles (which included, I believe, 26 states), huffing up California to collapse, sweaty and proud, into picnic chairs at the after-party in Adams Morgan. We arrived just in time to grab a couple of free pints of Fat Tire (the lovely west coast brew premiering here in DC on tap at last) and our commemorative t-shirts. Not bad, eh?

I am happy to report that I drank a full gallon of water and slept for a solid nine hours last night. I am, however, a little mortified to report how tired my legs were when I awoke. I totally took the metro the measly 5 (but ahem, mostly uphill) miles to the Takoma Park farmers' market this morning to meet up with my dear friend Susan. Me, who used to ride 60 miles a day without blinking! Who a year ago biked the 25 miles to Upper Marlboro and then worked for 6 hours at Clagett Farm! Gettin' old, I guess. I think I'll be doing a little training before next year's 50 States ride.... Maybe by then we will have a 51st state... Maybe? Ah, I probably have a better chance of getting another flat tire than a senator before then.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you! The 50 States ride is one of those that I look at an go, "This is so not for me." I've done 60 miles at a time (albeit not for months on end), but 60+ miles up and around busy DC streets just doesn't sound appealing. Also, I totally agree on Florida Ave - I rode once from U St to Capital Hill and was both baffled at how un-friendly that connection was and how icky Florida Ave. was in particular.


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