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25 Miles. Wow!

Posted by barb on Oct 2, 2005 in Biking, Pictures

Quarry along the W&OD

We finally got back out on the bikes this weekend after being away for three weeks (travel and Ren Fest got in the way). We tried to get out on the W & OD Trail yesterday, but were hampered by the fact that everyone else in the Universe thought it was the perfect day to get out on the trail, too. We ended up biking close to home, and only did about 5.5 miles.


Rusty Silo along the W&OD

Today, however, we loaded the bikes on the car and drove up to Andrew’s work in Herndon (this is fast becoming my favorite place to bike from, since there are usually relatively few people on the trail up there). I tried to push myself on our way out, pedalling hard on the down-slopes when we could have just coasted, and trying not to slow down as much on the up-slopes. I was actually tired when we reached the little country shop in Ashburn (8.75 miles from our start point), but wanted to try for our 25-mile goal. After some orange juice and half a candy bar, we decided to push on. We turned around and 12.5 miles almost exactly (though it was hard to tell, because my wheel had been spinning when we drove up to our start point, so there was already ~1.25 miles on my computer when we started the ride).

The quarry pictured on the right was past our furthest one-way trek of 10 miles, so we stopped at the overlook. The silo is actually something we’ve seen on our other trips out of Herndon, and I’d meant to stop for a picture several times, but only managed it this time.

25 miles is really pushing my abilities at this point. I trust that next year it will become routine, but as for today, there were times I wasn’t sure we were going to make it. My thoughts roller-coastered along with the terrain: when we were on an up-slope I was sure we weren’t going to make it, on a down-slope I wondered why I thought 25 miles was so hard. Anyway, my goal has been made. Yay me!

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Creeping up to our goal

Posted by barb on Sep 5, 2005 in Biking

A few weeks ago we biked into Ballston along the W&OD trail most of the way from Vienna. When we looked at our bike maps later, we discovered that the W&OD trail ended about 5 miles from where we peeled off the trail. So, today we decided to go to the end of the trail. It was 11.5 miles from Vienna — 23 miles round-trip. So close to our 25-mile trip goal!!

Along the way, there is a swampy area with lily pads, oodles of turtles, and even a frog. We stopped to snap a few pictures — there’s a frog in one of them, though it’s a little hard to make out. If you click through to the Flickr picture, I have a “note” on the picture, showing where the frog is. The other picture has a turtle sunning itself on a small branch. Before we left, the turtle had slid off the branch and disappeared under the lily pads.

We stopped at a Shell station near the end of the trail on our way back for some juice, and Andrew wondered why the station seemed so dead. They were out of gas. I hadn’t seen that yet in our area, but both the Shell and the BP across the street seemed to be out. After we got back on the bikes, we saw another station (Amoco) about half a mile down the trail that did still have gas, and they were selling it at $3.59 per gallon (for regular). And we thought $3.29 was bad a couple days ago.

Total miles on the bike: 23.2 miles


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Ho-Hum, Another 20 Miles

Posted by barb on Aug 28, 2005 in Biking

We weren’t able to go out biking yesterday, due to the rain. For a while this morning, it looked like we might not get out today, either. But, at about 10 AM, it started looking better outside, and the sun peeked out for a little while. In the end, we decided to head out and the rain stayed away just for us.

Me in my new biking outfit

After making our 20-mile goal last week, I decided that I deserved some real biking clothes. I’ve hesitated buying them because I have a hard time thinking of myself as a “real” cyclist. I finally decided that that was silly – Andrew and I have been out on the bikes nearly every weekend this summer, often both on Saturday and Sunday, and we have powered through some of the hottest weather out there. We’re real cyclists. I may not go as fast as a lot of the cyclists out there, but who cares? That shouldn’t mean that I have to forego the benefits of cycling clothes.


Bright pink wildflower on the W&OD

So, here I am with my cute new cycling outfit. I rather enjoyed it, too. The shirt and under-shorts (I bought the “baggy” shorts that have an under-layer of typical cycling material and an over-layer so I’m not out there with way-too-tight shorts) are made of a material that’s supposed to wick away moisture, and I think it really worked – it almost felt like I was’t wearing anything at all, which is probably the point of the cycling-clothing material.

We made 20 miles again, taking the same route as last week. I think we did it a bit faster, too, though I don’t have confirmation of that. (Though, Andrew felt the same way.) I think next weekend we’ll try to up the milage a little, maybe with a bit longer break in the middle.

Total miles: 20.0 miles

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Twenty Miles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by barb on Aug 22, 2005 in Biking
Little Orange Wildflowers on the W&OD trail

I’ve already made my goal for this biking season! I wanted to make 20 miles before we put the bikes away, and here we are in August, with two good biking months left, and I’ve already made that goal. Yay me!

Andrew and I both agreed that we felt that we could have kept biking a bit more, so I think we’re going to make a new goal for the end of the season: 25 miles. Go us!

We biked the same route we did last weekend &#150 started at Andrew’s work in Herndon and biked the W&OD trail toward Ashburn. We went an extra mile and a half past where we stopped last week.

Most exciting thing to happen biking so far (yup, even more exciting than the bee in my ear): Just after we turned around, a deer, who had presumably been sleeping in the brush near the trail, got up right next to me, ran in front of my bike and across the trail. I was quite startled, and screamed, because I thought I was going to run into the little guy &#150 he was a little guy, too, as he still had spots.

Total miles: 20.1 miles (!!)

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Big Fat Biker

Posted by barb on Aug 18, 2005 in Biking

Kameron at Brutal Women had a post yesterday about a fat guy at the gym. This reminded me of my many insecurities about being a fat woman (sorry, Andrew, you can argue all you want, but I am fat). I won’t join a gym. While there are several reasons that I won’t join (easier to exercise in the basement, cost, dealing with twiggy women), the main reason is that I’m too self-conscious to exercise in front of other people. I don’t even let Andrew stay in the basement when I’m doing my weights, unless he’s on the exercise bike. Of course some of this self-consciousness is from the years of being “the fat girl” in elementary, junior high and high school. However, my aversion to others watching me exercise comes primarily from my brother and father. Years ago, when I still lived at home, and my mother and I were trying Weight Watchers yet again, we decided to try an exercise video to get ourselves moving. We would wait until Dave and Dad were supposed to be out of the house for a while (either working or at bowling or some such thing), and then we’d pop the tape in. No sooner had we started, but Dave or Dad would show up at the top of the stairs and laugh at us. That’s right. They weren’t encouraging us in our efforts to become more healthy; they were mocking us. Nice, huh?

When I first started biking a couple years ago, I was still self conscious, but decided to ignore that in favor of doing something that I really enjoyed. Occasionally, I would go out alone on the streets near our house, and I would get “whoop”ed at by passing cars. This only happened when I was alone, or so far ahead or behind Andrew that it was not clear that we were together. Do you think those drivers were telling me “way to go”? No. Of course not. They were saying “look at the fat girl on the bike” with their “whoop”s. After that, I stuck to biking on bike trails. While other cyclists pass me, at least no one was making fun. I have not ridden on the streets this summer at all, even with Andrew. I’m so proud of the progress I’ve made over the last couple years (from barely able to do 5 miles at the end of 2003 to doing 17 miles last weekend – yay me!), that I just don’t know that I can bear another “whoop”.

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Biking to Ashburn

Posted by barb on Aug 13, 2005 in Biking, Pictures

Andrew and I took the bikes out this morning, despite the heat and humidity. I wanted to see more of the W & OD trail, so we packed up the bikes and drove out to Andrew’s office in Herndon. The trail passes really close to his office, and we’d biked past it once before this summer, but that was near the end of our trip. I quite like taking the trail from Herdon because there are fewer road crossings to contend with. The area, while not completely rural, is at least not completely built up yet. There were also a lot of flowers out this morning — way more than I’d seen on my last trek on my bike.

White Wild Flowers  &nbsp Lavender Wild Flowers

Total miles: 17.2 miles (my longest so far…we might just make my goal of 20 miles by the end of the season!)

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After work biking

Posted by barb on Aug 3, 2005 in Biking

Yesterday Andrew and I tried to go for a ride after work. We loaded the bikes onto the car rack, drove up to the Vienna Community Center (the W&OD trail goes right by there), and started on our way. After about a mile and a half, Andrew’s gear thingy broke (the control on the handle-bars). His bike was stuck in gear, though he was able to bike back to the car. So we went a total of 3 miles, round trip, and then brought his bike to the bike shop. It will be there for about a week. Sigh.

So, today I decided to go on a ride by myself. This is usually Andrew’s cello lesson night, so I would have been alone in the house anyway, so it seemed like a good night. Unfortunately, his lesson was cancelled, but I decided to go anyway. Maybe I’m crazy. It was 92° with a heat index of 100°. No matter.

Benefits of going out at 5:30 PM when its 92° with a 100° heat index:

  • Few other crazy people on the trail
  • Maybe it was my imagination, but cars actually stopped more often at crossings than usual

The down-side of going out at 5:30 PM when its 92 ° with a 100° heat index:

  • A high proportion of the other crazy people on the trail seem to be brainless cyclists of the not-warning-when-passing sort
  • Children. When we go out on weekends, there are generally few children, and those that are on the trail are supervised. Tonight there was a group of 10-year-old (or so) boys. They started by zooming past me (to their credit, they gave me a warning), but then stayed at about 30-50 feet in front of me putzing about. I finally got tired of them, and pedalled for all I was worth to get ahead of them…of course, even though I had signalled with my bell, one of the kids decided to start hot-dogging it at that point. ARGH!
  • 100° heat index, of course

Total miles: 3 miles Tuesday, 9 miles Wednesday

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Brainless Cyclists

Posted by barb on Jul 30, 2005 in Biking, Random Thoughts

Every public trail has them. They try to look like professional cyclists. They wear brightly colored jerseys and black cycling shorts, just like the professional and hard-core cyclists. They train hard like professionals. They bike fast, even on the steep grades, like professionals. But they are not professionals. In fact, professionals probably dislike these imposters as much as the non-professionals. Let’s call them brainless cyclists, or bcs for short.

What exactly makes them brainless? There are a couple things.

BCs are the cyclists who feel entitled to go 20 mph (or their normal riding speed) no matter the conditions on the trail. There are a hundred pedestrians on the trail? No matter, I’ll just weave between them like an idiot. The cyclist ahead of me is passing a pedestrian? No matter, I’ll just brush past them within an inch…maybe two. There’s a sign ahead saying that the trail narrows, so cyclists please dismount before crossing? Screw that, it doesn’t apply to me. Never mind that there is barely room for a single pedestrian; I’ll just be there for a moment, so they’ll hardly notice me.

Perhaps worse, BCs are also the cyclists who don’t feel like the rules of courtesy on trails apply to them. The foremost courtesy on the trail is to give a audible warning when you are about to pass someone. Andrew and I have bells on our bikes that we ring. Many other cyclists just say, “On your left”, or simply “left” or “passing”. The reason for this should be clear — if you’re passing someone, you don’t want to startle them, causing them to veer one way or the other. It is equally important to warn other cyclists as it is to warn pedestrians. The BCs, however, don’t see it that way. It’s too much effort for them to say “left” when they are passing, or perhaps it’s beneath them. I’m not sure which.

To these assholes on the trail I say, find another damn place to ride your bike. Find a nice quiet country road where you can be alone. As for those of us on the public trails, we don’t want you here.

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Biking to Alexandria

Posted by barb on Jul 24, 2005 in Biking, Pictures

Andrew and I decided to take the bikes out to Alexandria today. This has typically been one of our favorite rides, since it takes us along the Potomac and then down into Alexandria for a yummy lunch and fun shops. And, we did enjoy the scenery, mostly enjoyed lunch (though our waiter at Bertucci’s did not bring us rolls, even after Andrew asked), and went a little nuts at A Likely Story because they were having a “Christmas in July” sale with 20% off all books and 30% off non-books. However, there were a lot of @sshole cyclists on the trail today, for some reason, and the bike trip make me pretty cranky. (Hoping to post a rant soon.)

Just as we got to the river, we saw this kayak with a very happy puppy:
There's a puppy in that kayak

We stopped at the Navy and Marine Memorial along the trail, and I took these two pictures:
View across the Potomac of the Washington Monument   Navy Memorial

Total miles: 11.3 miles

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Movies in the Morning/12 Angry Men

Posted by barb on Jul 23, 2005 in Biking, Movies

The Cinema Arts Theatre, up the road from our house, is doing a special series of films over the next several weeks — Movies in the Morning. They are playing classic movies following four themes (I can only remember Hepburn/Grant and courtroom off the top of my head). The movies all start between 10 and 10:30 AM, cost only $5, and there are $1 snacks available at the concession stand.

Andrew and I biked up this morning to catch 12 Angry Men. I had seen at least part of it a few years ago when it played on AMC or TMC, but it was a lot of fun to see it in the theater. There were a few technical problems with the film, and it shut down a couple times, but I wonder how many good copies are left in circulation.

We’ll certainly be back next weekend, though I’m not sure which movie we’ll see — there are a couple that look good to me.

Total biking miles: 6 miles

[ IMDB link to 12 Angry Men]

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