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Well, we don’t have to bike anymore this summer!

Posted by barb on Jul 9, 2006 in Biking, Pictures

Why? Because we made our summer’s goal! Today’s ride? 32.6 miles. Yay us!

We decided to take the Mount Vernon Trail to…well, Mount Vernon, of course. We metroed to Rossyln, and hopped the trial from there, went through Alexandria, down to Mount Vernon, and back to Alexandria. We’ve done the trail from Rossyln to Alexandria several times before this, but it was the first time we ventured further south.

Getting out of Alexandria and under the Wilson Bridge (read: construction), was a bit nerve-wracking, but the rest of the trail was beautiful. I worried on the trail south about the return trip – we seemed to be going down several small hills, but it seemed that there weren’t so many uphills, which, of course, would translate to downhills on the return trip. The last hill up to Mount Vernon did defeat me, and we walked the last 0.2 miles to the top (it was a long hill!).

Fortunately, the ride back to Alexandria was hardly as bad as it seemed it might be. In fact, except for one bad, long, hill, it turned out toe be reasonably easy. And, 30 miles, to boot! Yay us, again!

Potomac Sailboat harbor Whoot!  Mt. Vernon! Bee on the sunflower


Trip miles: 32.6
Weekend miles: 32.6
Season miles: 219.1 (yikes, over 200!!)

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Cool Shirt!

Posted by barb on Jun 18, 2006 in Biking

I’ve mentioned here previosly that sometimes I have trouble looking at myself as a *real* cyclist and my insecurities as a “fat” cyclist. I hate to admit it, but I also sometimes have trouble seeing myself as a worthwhile person in general, just because I’m larger than I should be (actually, more likely because I can’t seem to change that fact). On one level I know that’s stupid, but our culture has been set up to make fat people feel like lesser human beings. Never mind that I’m an astrophysicist contracting at NASA – I’m fat, so I can’t be as much of a person as the thin supermodels on the cover of Cosmo.

I don’t usually dwell on this much, or, rather, I try to bury it as soon as the thoughts pop into my head. Today, while biking, a group of cyclists passed me and Andrew, and one of the women said, “Cool shirt” as she passed me. I was wearing the cute “lava green” shirt I had bought for myself last summer the first time I made a 20-mile ride. I’m certain that this woman didn’t know the impact of her words.

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Friday ride

Posted by barb on Jun 16, 2006 in Biking, Pictures

Bunny!

Since we won’t be able to take a ride tomorrow, Andrew and I decided to take a short ride after work today. We forgot to take the bike rack out of Andrew’s trunk, so doing a ride from his work was out, so we decided to do an old favorite ride along the W&OD from the Vienna Community Center toward Falls Church. Along the way Andrew spied a bunny (see picture).

Total miles: 11.3
Season miles: 159.7


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Weekend Bikin’

Posted by barb on Jun 11, 2006 in Biking, Pictures

Saturday – C&O Canal

I’ve been itching to try new trails, since I’ve been getting a bit annoyed at the a$$hole cyclists on the W&OD, so I suggested that we try a piece of the C&O Canal. We drove up to Great Falls, just across the Potomac, where there’s an access to the trail in the National Park there. The trail was really quite nice. It was packed gravel, instead of pavement, which meant that biking was a bit harder. I snapped a bunch of pictures along the way.

Pennyfield house  Bee on a pink wildflower  Turtles on a log

Trip miles: 21.2

Sunday – W&OD

White flowers among the purple
Another goal for the summer, besides a 30-35 mile ride, is to start doing two longer rides in a weekend. We don’t want to do this every weekend, but it would be nice to do it every once in a while (with an eventual goal of biking to the end of the W&OD one day, staying overnight at a B&B, then biking back the next day). With that in mind, we set out this morning on the W&OD from Herndon.

Immediately, my butt hurt from Saturday’s ride. Plus the wind was blowing directly at us. So, we didn’t make a 20 mile ride today, but made a valiant effort. We went to Asburn, as we’ve done several times now, then turned around.

Trip miles: 17.2

Weekend miles: 38.4
Season miles: 148.4

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Biking to Alexandria

Posted by barb on Jun 4, 2006 in Biking, Pictures

Flowers on the trail

Sure, we’ve biked to Alexandria before, but never like this! Previously we had Metroed to Rossyln, and biked from there – about a 12 mile ride. This time we left from our house on the bikes, found our way to the W&OD trail in Vienna, followed it to Four Mile Run Trail, to Mount Vernon Trail, and into Alexandria. The good news is that most of the trip was on a slight down-grade, so even though it was over 20 miles without much of a break, we managed just fine. Though, I must admit that by the time we reached the streets of Alexandria, I was exhausted, and had a bit of a…um…inner leg pain. Yup, that’s fun on a bike.

Total miles: 23.2
Weekend miles: 23.2
Season miles: 110.0 (w00t! yay us — over 100 miles this season already!)

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To the end of the trail

Posted by barb on May 29, 2006 in Biking, Pictures

Our weekend was so busy that we weren’t able to get out on the bikes Saturday or Sunday, so we thought we’d make up for it today. We got going around 9:30AM – a bit later than intended, but dammit, I had to finish Jimmy Neutron.

Painter along the trail
We decided to ride along the W&OD from Vienna to the end/beginning of the trail in Arlington and back, a ride we’d done once last year.

Just after getting up the “big hill” we spied a painter across the road. I snapped a quick picture, but didn’t want to disturb her. She was gone by the time we returned a couple hours later – perhaps the light had changed too much, or it may have been getting too hot.

One of the main reasons I wanted to do this ride again, besides pushing us back up to our longest ride, was to see the little swamp area we stopped at last year. This wetlands has frogs and turtles living among the many, many lilipads, and it’s a lot of fun to take a short break and try to see them despite their great camoflage. I snapped a few pictures – click on them to get to a larger version where you might actually pick out the frogs or turtles.

Frogs on lilipads  Swamp with frog and turtle

The end of the trail had been spiffied-up since we were there last year. Last year there was a pathetic little rusted sign and a bunch of chain-link fencing. Now, there is a little garden and water fountain.

Bright pink wild flowers with a bee

As usual, I stopped along the way to snap pictures of the wildflowers that populate the trail. I even caught a couple of bumble bees in action.

It got fairly hot on our way back. The last few weeks have been unseasonably cool in the area, so we were spoiled on our last few rides. We’re going to have to start getting out of the house earlier if the warmer weather holds up.

Total miles: 23.0
Weekend miles: 23.0
Season miles: 86.8


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Biking to Reston – no gas!

Posted by barb on May 20, 2006 in Biking, Pictures

Reston armillary sphere
We’ve actually biked to Reston Town Center a couple of times, but those times we’ve carted the bikes up to the W&OD trail on the car. Today? We didn’t load the bikes on the car. Instead, we biked the 3 miles to the W&OD trail, and then up to Reston. No gas. Yay us.

Our destination was the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival in Reston Town Center. We stumbled upon this art show last year, when we rode to Reston for a movie, but we enjoyed it so much that we kept this year’s on our calendar. We didn’t actually buy anything this year (beyond the cinnamon pecans and almonds). However, we hope “someday” to have buy some art for our house – likely when we move to a new place we’ll hire a decorator to help us with our eclectic tastes. We found some candidates, though I still need to go through the cards we picked up to remember everything.

Today was a great day for biking. When we got up, the sky was gray, but that didn’t last long. The sun came out, but it wasn’t too hot. The W&OD trail was filled with wildflowers, and I took a few good pictures. Here are a couple of them:
Little purple wildflowers White wildflowers Small bloom

Total miles: 20.0
Season miles: 63.8

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Short Ride

Posted by barb on May 13, 2006 in Biking, Pictures

We took just a short ride this morning. The weather this weekend is a bit uncertain (high probability of rain), so we didn’t want to commit to a long ride. Instead, we took off from the house and rode the streets nearby looking for yard sales (always on the look-out for books to give out at Halloween).

This route didn’t have any wild flowers, but I did spy a bluebird perched on a sign. I’ve tried to get pictures of birds on other trips, but either I’ve passed the bird before I can stop to get out my camera, or I scare the bird away by my approach. Today I managed to snap a couple of the bluebird on the sign, but I didn’t get close enough that you can see the bird much. Oh well. I’ll keep trying.

Bluebird on a sign&npsp; Bluebird

Total miles: 8.05
Weekend miles: 8.05
Season miles: 43.8

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On our way!

Posted by barb on May 7, 2006 in Biking, Pictures

White wildflower

We picked up the bikes yesterday after their big tune-ups, so took them out for a “big ride” today. We returned to a favorite ride from last year – the one along the W&OD trail from Andrew’s work to Asburn. It was a bit chilly this morning – about 55° F when we left, but a nice change from our 90° rides last summer. (We’ll be back to those soon enough.)

My bike felt great! I should have had a tune-up last year, but kept putting it off because I didn’t want to leave my bike with them for a week. The more fool I. Next time, I’m going to get it to them as soon as I think it needs it. This ride was easier than I remembered it being last year. Now, I realize that I’ve done the ride before, so that could be part of it, but this was our first time on that part of the trail this year. In fact, it’s only our third time out on the bikes. I have not been keeping up with exercising over the winter as much as I should have, and certainly not enough to have made this ride *that* much easier. No, I think it’s because I was riding last year with my brake partially engaged part of the time – of course it’s going to be easier.

One other thing I noticed in the last two weekends is that when I’m biking I crave orange juice. Not juice in general, not sugar, but orange juice. I’m not sure why that would be. Usually if I’m craving sugar, it’s in the form of chocolate or something really bad for me. Sure, I’m thirsty on the trail, but why not water, then? Or full-test Coke? Nope. Orange juice. Not that I’m complaining. It just seems weird.

My goal for this year is 30 miles (though I really think we can make 35 if we tried). But I also want to work on a goal for doing longer rides two days in a row. Usually, if we do a long ride (i.e. about 20 or more), we’re fairly wiped out for the rest of the day of the ride, and a bit lazy the next (if we ride, it’s something shorter). I’d like for us to bike to the end of the W&OD trail, stay at Creek Crossing Farm, where we honeymooned, and then return the next day (or maybe two days later) – that will require two 25-mile rides in a row. I think by Fall we can do it.

Little Yellow flowers

Total miles: 17.2
Weekend miles: 17.2
Season miles: 35.8


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Bikin’ the Mt. Vernon Trail

Posted by barb on Apr 29, 2006 in Biking

View from the Mt. Vernon trail

For our second bike outing, we decided to do our Rossyln to Alexandria ride. This takes us on the Mount Vernon Trail, which takes us along the Potomac. We both quite like this ride (except for the high number asshole cyclists). My legs were burning by the time we got back home, since I haven’t been keeping up with the stationary bike at home, but it was a good ride.

In Alexandria we stopped at A Likely Story, which was our primary reason for choosing this ride today.

We took our bikes into Spokes for their annual tune-ups, so no biking for a week.

Total trip miles: 12.6
Weekend miles: 18.6


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