The Hills are Alive

With the sound of Lesly and Kelley huffing and puffing our way through Arlington this morning.

Stepping back to the beginning, yesterday afternoon I cleaned my bike really well for today’s adventure. I knew I wouldn’t be fast, but I hoped I’d at least be clean? This is what a clean bottom bracket looks like. Rarely do I see the bottom bracket, or clean it up! It was pretty yucky after riding through some puddled spots last week.

bracket

For today’s insanity, we met at the Rosslyn Metro and set out to ride one of the Babes on Bikes’ Arlington Hill Ride routes. I had to modify the cue sheet because we were starting their route about 3 miles into the ride, catching the route from the Custis Trail.

Can I just say there’s a reason Lincoln was very concerned about the Federal City during the Civil War?  The hills of Arlington gave it a strategic location above the city. And Arlington was Virginia – a secession state. In fact, Robert E. Lee’s army was called the Army of Northern Virginia.

I now feel sorry for any soldiers of that day from either side who were having to march or run up those hills. Whew!

I hadn’t ridden most of these hills, and didn’t bother looking at a topo map, so it was a surprise each time another hill popped up. About 10 miles into the ride I took a wrong turn onto Harrison instead of Yorktown. There was no sign and some people who pulled up in a truck next to us told us it was Yorktown. Sigh. The good news is that it led to Safeway and cold water.

The bad news is that my ‘course correction’ took us up 26th Street which was up, and up, and up. That hill is NOT on the Babes’ hill ride. I finally bailed out and walked a bit, but Lesly kept going. She’s stubborn. (That’s a good trait). From there we turned right on Glebe, which was also an error. We should have gone left. But taking the lane on Glebe heading into Clarendon was heart raising enough. When we crossed over I-66 we decided heading back on the Custis was the wisest course.  That part was fun!

Had we done the Arlington ride as planned, we would have done just short of 18 miles. We ended up doing 15.3 — but with 26th, I think we had the worse deal.

Still, it was good for us to do it and we’ll do more. Tomorrow we’re meeting for a long ride on the Capital Crescent Trail from the Arlington area up to Montgomery County.

I caught the Metro back to my area, and got off the train just in time to call in for a conference call I was supposed to attend. In between bites of chicken mozzarella panini, I helped make plans for our Bike Safety event on Saturday at Springfield Mall. When I finished the call, and the sandwich, I rode the 2.69 miles back home.

When I got up the last hill into my neighborhood, I saw this in my neighbor’s yard. A nice welcome home!

azalea

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