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What a day! Let me say that I probably should have looked at the route before I did the ride--it wasn't until I actually crossed the finish line that I realized that it wouldn't be ending in Crystal City (as it did in previous years). Whoops! Good thing I didn't have The Boy meet me there as I originally planned. He would have been a little mad.
Anyway, as I've mentioned before, Bike DC is a birthday gift for myself. And my birthday day started out really early....
First, I got up at 5am and headed toward work to meet with some coworkers/friends who work the midnight shift (and therefore were just getting off of work) for a mini birthday party. It was a chill early-morning breakfast/get together. I hung out with them until about 7:30 and then it was off to the registration area.
As soon as I arrived, I could tell this ride was going to be overwhelming. There were so many people! I managed to find my friends and get my bib within a reasonable amount of time. By this time, most of the riders had taken off. A friend that was riding with us was worried about being able to keep up. It was her first "big ride". I told her not to worry ;-)
One thing that struck me about the route this year was the amount of "out and backs". I'm not sure, but I'm guessing that the course had to be shortened somewhat. I know that NPS had threatened to withhold the permits for this event and it was almost canceled. Therefore they stretched out the 20 miles by including a lot of out and back loops. This would have been fine, except there were so many riders that people felt crowded. One of the aspects of Bike DC I love is being able to ride without worrying about cars, and being able to ride in areas where you normally can't--this usually leads to a feeling of openness. Not this year though, ha! We were packed in like sardines in some cases, and this led to a few short tempers. I always try to remind people that do this ride of certain things:
- It's a ride, not a race. If you really want to use this as a training ride (which I highly discourage), then please get to the start line EARLY and be in the first group to leave. That way you won't have to run over anyone.
- There are riders of different levels & abilities. Some are folks that haven't ridden a bike in years, or this their very first time. Give them a break. They might not be familiar with basic group riding rules. Teach by example. Do you want to be the person that discouraged them from riding by being an asshole?
- This is a family event. There are kids. Be careful around them. They are future cyclists too.
- Pass on the left. Signal your intentions. Move to the right if you notice that you are being passed.
- Be nice. Screaming at other cyclists isn't cool. If you wouldn't want a driver of a motor vehicle do it to you, don't do it to another cyclist.
If you can't tell, I encountered quite a few irate cyclists that seemed to suffer from a bit of road rage. There was really no need for it. At one point, a female cyclist literally screamed at my friend because she got pushed out into oncoming cycling traffic by the shear volume of cyclists on the road. It was unnecessary and simply made her look like a jerk. Whatev. We still had a great time.
I was a little apprehensive about riding Betty in this, but I needn't have been. It turned out just fine. I had absolutely no issues with riding any of the hills with her. I heard a lot of people complain about the hills, but honestly I didn't think they were that bad. There was one point near the Marine Corps Memorial (on the way back) that it really took it out of me, but I was able to recover quickly.
The finish line came quick! I was a little disappointed there wasn't more for us at the finish line. In previous years, there was a festival-a DJ, the traveling bicycle museum, booths....I didn't see much of that here. Oh well.
Still, it was the ride that was important. And this year didn't disappoint. The weather was perfect!
Overall, I had a really great time. I can't wait for next year, and I heard quite a few participants say they wish they could do Bike DC every weekend!
As usual, some photos:
|Look at everyone!|
|Rolling towards the Kennedy Center|
|Such a beautiful day|
|On the highway! You can see the Pentagon in the background|
|Betty with her bib|
I have a bunch of video too, but I haven't edited it yet.
Overall, this was a great ride, and a great start to my birthday weekend.