Sucks. No, seriously. Really. Sucks.
This is the first day of August. July? Hottest July in the DC area on record. Actually, it was the hottest month on record, going back to 1871. Don't believe me? Just ask the Capital Weather Gang. We had several 100 or 100+ days (with heat index to 115). And it looks like we may have another 100 degree day this week.
So, what's a girl cyclist to do? Get up at 5 am, of course, and do predawn rides. I've been able to bike after 8 am or so 3, maybe 4 times this summer. Fortunately, though, this past weekend was (finally!) a genuine beaut. Talk about being let out of school! Jeff declared, "I want my summer back!" and we hied ourselves up to Lancaster County for a riding weekend.
Jeff's been coming along nicely since his injury in November 2008, but he still is not up to long, hilly distances. For that matter, neither am I, given that my rides of late have been confined to 50 minutes or so before work. Accordingly, we chose a "flat" (a relative term in Amish country) ride for our Saturday outing: one the LBC labeled "Intermediate Picnic Ride," probably because it starts from Pavilion #2 at Manheim Township Community Park. (I guess it was originally part of a club picnic.) We started off around 10:30 (having left home a little after 6 am). The weather was awesome. Slightly breezy, and coolish.
One of the reasons we chose the ride is that it took us on roads we don't always bike on. We are so familiar with Lancaster County, having biked there for 10+ years, including the Covered Bridges Metric.* This ride took us on some relatively unfamiliar roads and, yes, through one covered bridge. We finished up around 2 pm or so, and after a trek to find a T-Mobile store (our new smartphones were running down), we repaired to one of our favorite haunts, the Iron Hill Brewery. I was going to get a hamburger, but when I saw they had one of their infrequent salmon burgers on offer, I changed my mind. (It was a salmon burger BLT . . . aaaahhhh.)
We finished up the evening by first going to some of the Route 30 outlets, and then trying out the new Cork and Cap restaurant at the newly-opened Cork Factory Hotel, outside of downtown Lancaster (but still in the city limits). We didn't want much; I requested a Sidecar (my new favorite drink) and while the bartender didn't know it offhand, that's what smartphone apps are for, right? Jeff and I split a chartcuterie/cheese plate, and upon returning to the Lancaster Marriott (in the old Watt & Shand building), fell asleep at 9 pm. (It was a long week for both of us.)
Sunday dawned cloudy and a bit damp, and per prior agreement, we had breakfast at the Marriott and set off for Ardmore and our favorite Philadelphia Sports Club (part of the NYSC/BSC/WSC/PSC chain). We had briefly considered trying to bike on the Schuylkill River Bicycle Trail, despite the weather report, as the sun did come out, albeit briefly. Good choice: it thunderstormed while we were in the gym.
A visit to Brauhaus Schmitz rounded out our weekend . . . beer, wiener schnitzel, and spaetzle are definitely my idea of a great German repast. We're chilling out in Baltimore now (and, in fact, I'd better get to bed; it's getting late). It was a lovely weekend, and even though it's going to get fiendishly hot this week, the summer is nearly 2/3 over, and surely this fall will be cooler? Let's hope so.
*A ride I won't get to do this year . . . not because of weather, but because unbeknownst to me until Friday, they limited registration to 3,000. Registration is closed. Darn.