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Coffeeneuring #4

Today was a blustery day in the words of Winnie-the-Pooh! I was headed to Dunn Loring to meet my friend Debbie to return a DVD I borrowed. I looked up the forecast and saw that the wind was supposed to be out of the west. Great, I was riding towards the east so at least one leg would be boosted, right?

Not exactly. I was using the W&OD and I think one of the cosmic rules of the trail is that one is NEVER allowed a tailwind. Sidewinds and headwinds yes, but no tailwind.

No worries, it was a beautiful day and the wind had kept the numbers low on the trail. I got in a trail patrol mission while I was at it.

We met at District Taco in Dunn Loring next to the station. Bike parking leaves something to be desired, but to be fair, they’re right next to the Metro station where there is a lot of bike parking. I used the porch because I didn’t think with the wind and cold too many people would sit outside.

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I was impressed that they had power outlets with USB receptacles at every table! If one wanted to write the great American novel, this might be a good place to work on it in between crowds.

And, they had coffee! I had a cup of their seasonal blend with my customary 1 Splenda and splash of skim milk. It was delicious along with their tacos al pastor (with pineapple, of course). Yum.

We kept an eye on my bike while we dined. I’ll ride in the cold but I’m not stupid — sitting inside was preferable!

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It was a nice ride home, even with a headwind. Total mileage just over 21. Total speed – laughable.

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Coffeeneur #3

Boy, these days in Northern Virginia are hard to dress to bike for! Today was chilly and then sunny.

I went out about 1:30. I was going to meet a friend at 3 but needed to go by the post office to mail my son’s birthday package.

Not ONE pen in the post office would work on their printed label. I borrowed one from a nice woman next to me. Since he has 3 roommates and there were home baked cookies in there, I thought it was important to put his name on the package!

Our post office has a lovely new sidewalk/path in front of it, but of course, no bike parking. I had to break the law to lock up.

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From the post office I headed to Lake Anne. There’s a nice coffee shop/wine bar there. Lake Anne is coming back, largely due to the Lake Anne Brew House as well as this place. These are owned by locals who have committed to the neighborhood. Hope they survive!

When I got there the sun was shining and I was down to my base layer. As I sat I got chilled so put on my jacket. Then my friend got there Rick and we moved inside because it was chilly after the shadows lengthened.

This broke my theme a little since I have been to the Lake Anne Coffee House before. But it’s been a while since I’ve been there by bike, and it is one of the few home grown ones in Reston (maybe the only one?), so I’m counting it at #3. Bike parking — well, see for yourself. I had a late afternoon cup of regular coffee to which I added a splash of skim milk and splenda. When we were about to leave we gave our seats to new arrivals — my friend Sue who was with Supervisor Hudgins.

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By the time I got back home it was 12.8 miles and I was happy to have my jacket back on. Wasn’t quite ready to layer yet. Bummer.

 

Coffeeneuring #2 – For real this time

In case you missed it, I rode 25 miles yesterday to put a notch in my coffeneuring belt and … forgot to get coffee. The donuts were so good and I spent all my money on them. Oops.

So today I rode 22 miles to Potomac Yards to meet Ilga for coffee. My theme is places I’ve never had coffee before, so we met at M.E. Swings, a coffee roaster on Monroe. I got my standard skim latte and had a wonderful time talking with Ilga!

On the way there I rode the 4 Mile Run trail. They continue to do work by the water treatment plant along the creek. Now they’ve put these panels in along the trail as part of the pavement. Each one shows two different fish species that might be found in 4 Mile Run if it stays healthy. They also added an interesting … um … piece of artwork. You tell me what you think it is!

 

I’m a little concerned these panels will be slippery when the weather’s wet, but I’m hoping they planned for that. There are about 8 of them along the way, spaced out along the trail.

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Here’s the artwork. You tell me?

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Proof my Surly made it there!

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Adequate bike parking but when I pulled up there was a dog tied to it so I took the high ground.

 

 

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Proof that Ilga and I were there!

It was a beautiful day and I think we could have sat there for hours more, but it was time to get moving. I rode back as far as E. Falls Church and then jumped on the Metro. I had to get home to prep for tomorrow’s Youth learn to ride class since I was going out tonight. I think we’re ready! By the time I got home my total was 33 miles biked.

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That’s 10 youth bikes and helmets, seats down and pedals off.

Coffeeneuring Adventure #1

I’m starting late this year as I was in Utah until last night – in a car and no bike in sight. So…making up for lost time, I went for a short ride this morning – only 7 miles round trip.

I started at my home bike shop and normally my home coffee shop, Green Lizard Cycling, Coffee & Beer in Herndon and headed west. I would say the ride was uneventful except that the squirrels are at that stage of autumn where they’re trying to kill themselves and cyclists who are traversing their ‘whacko’ trails!

My theme this year is “new to me” coffee shops. I’m going to try to go to shops that I’ve never visited. They don’t have to be just coffee shops – any place that serves coffee will do.

So today I exited the W&OD to visit a place I’ve often wondered about, Mona’s Lebanese Cafe at 1006 Ruritan Circle in Sterling. They get points off for lack of bike parking, but if enough of us start visiting, perhaps they’ll change that. The coffee was good, the baklava was great, and the weather today was perfect!

By the way, I was wearing my new Coffeeneuring Socks, thanks to Debra Banks! Thanks Debra! I LOVE them!

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“Bush” parking. 

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Lovely tea room

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The Baklava was SO delicious!

As I left, they were starting to serve up some lunches people had ordered. It smelled divine and I plan to go back for a lunch-enuring date some day!

1 down, 6 to go!

Soggy Sunday

My friend April and I rode the Montgomery County Ride for the Reserve yesterday. The weather forecast was foreboding, but the organizers had said they would at least have the picnic and party, so we prepared to go regardless.

We woke to the news that the ride was ON so April came over to my house and I drove up there.

I had all my wet weather gear and took the Surly so I’d have more road surface on the tires and weight to hold it down. As it turned out, it was really warm. My rain jacket doesn’t breathe well (do any of them really?) so I left it in the car and we headed out. This is our starting photo.

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April is pretty new to riding, so I did a bit of coaching as we went along the first several miles. The ride was hilly, and she kept having trouble with her gears but I figured over the course of the ride she’d get more and more comfortable. She was also riding with clips for the first time, so again, I thought she just needed time and miles. Just short of 10 miles though it was clear that it wasn’t technique or experience, there was something REALLY wrong with the gears!

We turned right on a quiet (thank goodness) road after going under a railroad bridge. There was a slight hill, and she was in front of me and all of a sudden there was that horrible grinding clunking noise and I watched as she slowly tipped over to the left and was down. Fortunately she wasn’t hurt past a scrape or two so we pulled off, flipped the bike and … oh my. Not a simple dropped chain.

The SAG driver came to get her and the bike and she told me to go ahead and finish. I gave her the key to the car so she could get warm and dry and headed off.

The rest of the ride was uneventful and beautiful. Even with the overcast and intermittent rain, the area was peaceful. My guess is that the weather deterred many of the participants so there weren’t a lot of cyclists out. There were a number of different distances and the routes for each were slightly different. Even if everyone had shown up, I don’t think the area would have felt saturated. The routes went around Sugarloaf Mountain in various ways.

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I love running across these old log cabins. I hope this one is on its way to restoration or better use.

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I finished pretty quickly and joined April for the lunch. It was catered by a place called Gepettos and let me tell you — this was the best, most flavorful, after-event lunch food I’ve ever had — and I’ve done a lot of events. Wow. Delicious wrap, and excellent sides! I would have liked to see more recovery drinks (choc milk, dr. pepper), but other than that it was excellent.

The sun came out and we headed back to VA by way of the ferry which was fun. We went straight to Green Lizard to drop her bike off for maintenance.

Despite the mechanicals and weather, for me it was a really good day.

How bad can it be?

I’m not a big fan of riding on the C&O Canal trail. For those not familiar with this area, that’s the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. It’s a crushed stone path that runs along the Maryland side bank of the Potomac. It is rocky, and rutted, and if there has been any rain can be a real mess. I just don’t like riding it.

But I thought I might need to revisit as so many of my friends have been enjoying it this year. So I created a ride and coerced my friend Laura to ride it with me. The coercion? I dangled, “We get to ride the FERRY” in front of her and she bit.

We left Reston early and got on the W&OD out to Battlefield Parkway. We rode it up to Rt. 15 and fortunately were only on Rt 15 for a short bit before we turned on White’s Ferry Road. The ferry was $2 per bike. These are photos from when we were waiting in line.

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There was a daughter taking her mom on a ‘mystery day’ on board. It made me think of Lindy. They were kind enough to take a photo of us.

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I think I had every color possible on today! And, as you can see, I was on my Cannondale. My Surly is at Green Lizard getting new tires and having the front wheel trued. I would have been MUCH better off with the Surly, but that’s another story.

You can see the day was gorgeous. This is the river while we were on the ferry.

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Looking downstream

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Looking upstream

White’s Ferry historic district is quaint but a pretty quick stop. Here’s the statue of the Confederate General the ferry is named for.

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Jubal Early

And check out the flood marks!

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We rode up to Poolesville and had lunch there at a new cafe. It was okay but nothing to write home (or you) about.

This is a cool former bank building that has served as a town hall and is now the historical society headquarters.

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After lunch we headed down to the C&O and stayed on it for … way too long. This is the surface. Beautiful but really tiring to ride on a road bike.

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We finally bailed out to River Road, then MacArthur and on into Georgetown where we crossed into Rosslyn and hopped the Metro.

These are photos of the river as we rode along.

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Half mast for Las Vegas

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The old acqueduct

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We biked home from Wiehle Station, and ended up a wee bit short of 70 miles — something like 69.6 but I wasn’t going to go in circles to finish it off! I’d been having cleat problems all day and I was D.O.N.E.

Beautiful day, excellent company (Laura is so intrepid!). Now I’ll have to find a different prize to wave in front of her for the next long ride. I think I might be out of credibility for a while.

29, 39, 49 and holding

Some women freak out about aging. I figure it’s a natural process and it beats the alternative. So, yes — I am now 56! But most days (except for my left knee) I feel like I’m in my 30’s but more knowledgeable and aware.

I have an amazing family who celebrated my birthday in ways that made me feel loved and cherished. My husband gave me KT tape and other bike-related things. Part of the gift from him is that I know I can drop my bike off at Green Lizard and have whatever I need done to it — without question. 🙂  My kids called home and promised mysterious packages inbound. Whether or not they arrive doesn’t matter because my kids called home.

My sister sent a silly hat covered with flowers. Maybe I’ll use it for the Great Pumpkin Ride so I can appear to be … oops, almost revealed my costume! She also sent a cool wall hanging item. I need to find some fake plants that look real because the real plants I have in the house are dying because I’m always away biking.

My sister in law Courtney sent a fantastic bag, some bike shaped pasta, and bike poetry magnets, of course. It made me laugh out loud. And laughing, loving, joy — those are the best birthday gifts.

Ah, but wait. My Mom sent a lovely blouse with a bike on it, and bike socks. Now that I think about it, my biking buddy Mike gave me bike socks too.

I’m beginning to see a theme. Slow, but accelerating. Maybe I need to develop some other interests?