It's still not quite warm enough yet for morning rides (or perhaps I've become a wuss, after this cold winter). But it's now light enough in the evening - and warm enough - to do evening rides after work. Yippee!!
Monday evenings, Jeff plays bridge in NoVA. I usually go to do a spin class and then wait for him . . . but why go spin when I can bike outdoors, for real?
So, this morning, I packed my bike in the car, along with 50-temps weather gear. Jeff picked me up after work, and I made the trek to the W&OD in Falls Church, without incident (which for me means not getting lost or making a wrong turn) . . . but not without some trepidation. Jeff's the human GPS; I'm not. We live in Maryland, and while I can drive OK in VA with some preparation, I tend to misplace roads -- as in major highways -- from time to time. I simply cannot, for the life of me, remember driving routes I've not driven for a while; it's not a talent of mine.
So, late this afternoon, I began obsessing: will I remember how to get to the Knights of Columbus (bridge game) at 10 pm? Can I find my way to Falls Church? What about Clarendon??? I pulled up Google Maps, as well as a map of the W&OD. Argh. Where's Route 29? How do I get from Route 7 to Wilson Blvd? As time ran down and I had to change clothes and leave, I printed out a couple of maps, and continued to wrack my brain.
Once in the car, I said to Jeff, "I'm not sure how to get to the KofC. It's been a while. I turn at Glebe Road, right? Then I get to 29 . . . and I turn where?"
Jeff: "Harrison Street. Where the Harris Teeter is."
Me: "Oh, yeah. I can never remember the name of that street. Harrison . . . Harris Teeter. Why can't I remember that? 29 goes to Falls Church, right?"
Jeff: "It goes right to Route 7 -- in the middle of Falls Church."
Me: "Oh, yeah. I remember now. And do I turn left, or right, to get to the trail?"
Jeff: "Right. Outbound. Look, all you have to know is two roads: 29 and 7. It's not hard."
Me: "For you it's not, but I'm incapable of remembering a route after several months have passed. It gets all fuzzy in my brain, I get confused, and misremember."
Jeff: "You'll remember when you see it."
Me: "OK, I guess. Now, I have to make sure I can get back to Clarendon to wait for you at the usual Starbucks. I go back on 7 and turn at Seven Corners, and I have to watch that I don't end up on 50."
Jeff: "Why don't you go to the Starbucks in Falls Church . . . you know, the one where the Original Pancake House is. You'll waste a lot of time driving back to Clarendon."
Me: "OK, good idea. Now, is that before or after where the trail is?"
At this point, Jeff stifles a sigh. "It's before. You'll see it. There's a Panera nearby, remember?"
Me: "Oh, yeah." (I say this a lot, apparently.)
And, I did indeed find everything OK -- I did not, as I said, get lost or make a wrong turn. I actually parked right next to the trail in Falls Church, on a sidestreet. I unpacked my bike and set off around 6 pm.
. . . and then promptly turned around. I'd forgotten to switch to my Oakleys, and my pitiful little street glasses were doing nothing to protect my dry eyes. After switching eyewear, I set off again.
We've biked the W&OD several times of late, but always farther out -- Reston or Vienna, and beyond. I hadn't been on the stretch of trail from Falls Church to Vienna for a while . . . and there are some improvements. Better signage, for one -- cross streets are now not only labeled with street names, but also city: Dunn Loring, Falls Church, Vienna. Also, there appear to be more benches and rest areas, and a new (to me, anyway) bright blue parcourse.
The trail was not too crowded; a few walkers, a few cyclists. No one passed me, though I passed a few other cyclists. I felt good, despite the fact that I did 40 miles this past weekend with little preparation. I saw a deer near the trail; he (or she) bounded off into the woods. I smelled a couple of lit barbecues -- mmm, I love the smell of a fire, whether it be wood, or charcoal.
I only had daylight enough for about an hour's ride. I did an hour and 15, a little over 17 miles' worth. I didn't quite break a 14 pace, but that I attribute to the multiple stop signs along that section of the trail. On the way back, I turned my headlight on, for greater cross-street visibility. I finished at 7:15, about at sunset (though it was a little cloudy at that point).
After packing up the bike, I drove to the Falls Church Starbucks, and spent nearly a couple of hours reading my new weight training book, and planning a new lifting routine. Unfortunately, that Starbucks closes at 9:30 -- I explored a bit after I got kicked out, and found another one that stays open until 10. Also, the Panera appears to stay open late, so maybe next week I'll have dinner after my ride, rather than before.
I think this will be my new Monday routine for a while -- sure beats spinning class on F Street.