Still on the subject of biking...
This past Tuesday, I tagged along on the regular TNS ride run by the DT/Spearman/Stoner crew. This week promised a larger group, and a group of really strong riders. That should have been my first warning sign.
We met at the usual spot in Arlington, headed east to DC and (as far as I knew) a nice bar with heat and beer and pizza in Georgetown. To my dismay, we rode right past the bar, and then down to the K street underground. We met a couple of other guys there, then started peadling out on a path I'd never even seen before (evidently the "Capital Crescent Trail"). I asked one of the other riders what the plan was, since we were now pedaling away from the beery salvation of the bar. He said he thought the ride was going to head up to Bethesda, then over through Chevy Chase, pick up Rock Creek Parkway, and pedal back down into Georgetown, ending at the bar we'd first discussed. I gave him the ol' "hahaha that's a good one ohshityou'renotkiddingaboutridingallthef*waytobethesdaandbackareyou" look. Since it was dark, thankfully, he missed the horrified look on my face. I told him nothing personal, but if I all of a sudden wasn't around anymore, it simply meant that I turned my ass around and pedaled for home. I could manage the Arlington to Georgetown ride without too much trouble. An Arlington-to-Georgetown-to-Bethesda-to-Chevy Chase-to-Rock Creek Park-to-Georgetown-eventually-back-to-Arlington ride might be a bit beyond my endurance levels right now.
So the ride headed north. The stronger riders tearing-ass into the lead. DT being kind enough to hang back and keep me company. He and I pedaled steadliy onward, me never sure where I was gonna run outta gas and turn around.
Despite the trail feeling like a neverending mountain climb all the way out of DC (mainly due to the optical illusion created by me forgetting my perscription glasses, an ever so slightly uphill path, and a the circle-of-lighted-salvation-in-the-darkness provided by my helmet light, I felt surprisingly good with each passing pedal stroke. We managed (well...*I* "managed", there was little question DT would be able to pull off the whole ride) to make it all the way up into Bethesda and the halfway point, where the rest of the riders were waiting for us.
Once we regrouped, a few photos were snapped and we headed out on our return journey.
Thankfully, the road ride down Rock Creek Parkway is mostly downhill heading back to G'town. And not too heavy with traffic. We would have made great time, had there not been 3 flats in rapid succession, costing us over an hour of stand-around-in-the-cold -and-watch-other-guys-fix-flats time. Two flats were on "Spearman's Own Experimental Tire and Wheel Set", which proved a bitch to fix. After a fair amount of fighting with the hardware, he got rolling well enough to get us all on the road again. A few short miles later, we finally pull into the bar for well deserved beers and warmness and pizza.
Beers flowed. Pizzas arrived. Smack-talk ensued. After a couple of hours, the crowd begins to disperse as riders headed for home in waves. The last group to go was Spearman, DT and me. After all the pedaling done so far, we still have to ride back out to Arlington...5 or 6 miles distant. And by this point, my headlight is long dead.
The ride home is uneventful (thankfully). Rides home usually seem to pass pretty quickly for me. One of the benefits of a few beers at the midpoint, I guess. There's just a very fine line between "uneventful, quick ride home" and "shitfaced, powersliding into home plate on a bike". I'm still learning where that line is.
So, when all was said and done, we rode somewhere between 36 and 38.x miles. Probably my longest road ride since doing the 63 mile "Tour de Cure" a few years back. I was happy that my legs and lungs held up as well as they did. The next day, I felt pretty good, too. Guess there's hope for me and this "biking" thing yet.