Important Lessons

I set out to do my 100 yesterday morning at 8. I rode the W&OD and Custis to Arlington to meet Lesly in Rosslyn at 9:30. The ride was uneventful and I felt great.

We headed down to Mt. Vernon where we tried to go past Mt. Vernon on what looks like a trail on Google Maps bike trail feature. Only someone extremely generous could call this a trail. We would have enjoyed it if we had mountain bikes though. We decided it was best not explored further and turned around.

We headed back towards Alexandria and cut over to Potomac Yards. I was starting to flag a bit so we stopped for coffee in Shirlington. At that point, I had 55 miles on the odometer and Lesley had 35 so we decided to part ways – her back to DC and me out west to get home.

However, after about 4 miles more I was really hurting. I stopped at Phoenix Bikes and chatted a bit, trying to convince myself I was fine, but even Meg could see I wasn’t myself. The best way to get to/from Phoenix is by car or bike, so I decided I could tough it out until I got to East Falls Church station and then get on the Metro.

That was wise. I was nearly crying by the time I got to the Metro. Fortunately (or unfortunately if you use Metro), I had a 17 minute wait for my train so I was able to sit down under shade and drink my remaining water. I also had some pickles with me (for cramps) and ate those. Within minutes I was feeling better and had a nice chat with a young woman who was also waiting for the train. (Bike curious, of course)

I realize now that I should have had some type of sports drink with me and alternated that with my water intake. I would have automatically done that last year (even though I hate sports drinks) but it had not even occurred to me this year because it hasn’t been very hot. Last week I rode the 70 without sports drinks – but it was cool/cold/wet. Yesterday ended up to be 60 total.

So, lesson learned. Another item to put on my checklist for long miles and for this summer.

Another lesson learned yesterday – I needed to pick my car up from the Toyota place in Tysons Corner. My daughter met me at the Metro station and we drove straight there. Because she doesn’t live here, we use non-toll road streets to get there. Coming back, rush hour had hit in force, and it took us an hour to go less than 10 miles. I now know that all the people who come to the Reston area meetings and complain about the traffic are spot on. I am almost never in my car at rush hour and had no idea.

What’s really disappointing is that most traffic is cutting through – avoiding the toll road. And, most cars have one person driving in them.

This new SafeTrack project is going to force some difficult decisions for people. When I was on the Metro yesterday two young women were talking about “I guess we’ll just drive”. I spoke up and said, “consider carpooling – you’re more likely to move forward quickly.” (This was after we’d already discussed bike commuting). By the time we got to Reston they were talking about who would drive which day and where they’d park, etc. They hadn’t really even thought about it before then. Multi-modal good deed for the day #1.

When we drove up to MA recently our drive took us on the periphery of New York City. Even there, almost every car we saw had only one person in it. We have GOT to change that dynamic. Washington DC region and NYC have incredible traffic problems – but most people are in their single occupancy vehicles. The law has to get more strict about the privilege of driving alone and make it reflect the true cost to all of us.

So, I’m going to try to do the 100 again next week, but with better preparation and supplies on board.

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Lesly and Kelley at Mt. Vernon

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