Friday, June 29, 2012

Maybe there will be a sudden cold front...

As I am writing this, DC is experiencing what is known as a "derecho" which is apparently Spanish for "MASSIVE STORM OF DOOM AND WIND AND RAIN"*. Hopefully I will not lose power as I need it to power my alarm clock so I wake up in time for the Total 200 ride tomorrow morning. It's pretty nasty out, but hopefully it will cool things down a bit. All I can hear right now are thunderbolts & sirens.

Yes, I am riding the Total 200 (the 200k option). Finishing it...that's another story.

(excuse me. There was a massive thunder strike and I just jumped out of my skin.)

To be perfectly honest, I'm not 100% thrilled with this ride. I haven't trained for it properly and it is ridiculously hot right now. Today's temps reached 104, and that's not even the heat index (112). Tomorrow is forecasted to be at least 100. I do not do well with the heat. It scares me. It is apparently making the organizers a little nervous too because they are "strongly encouraging" people to skip the 200 mile option, and just ride the 200K.

But, I will be riding with a friend and we have both agreed that we will try to do our best, and that there is no shame in dropping out if it gets too stupid out there. I have no doubt that on a normal weather day, we wouldn't have an issue with the ride.

It's fully supported, so I don't foresee too many problems. I just need to remember to hydrate/refuel on a regular schedule. The problem with riding in the heat for me is that I tend to lose my appetite and don't want to take in anything--which is not good on a 125 mile ride.

Now, I'm off to get my stuff together & get a few hours sleep before the alarm (HOPEFULLY) goes off.

Things I am bringing with me:
-Fruit chews
-Honey Stinger Waffles
-Mixed salted nuts
-Ride Glide
-ID & health insurance card

My mophie juice pack for my iPhone is no longer working, so I am not sure if I will track the entire ride like I usually do. I want to save the battery in case there is some sort of emergency on the way. We'll see.


*It's not. It just means "right". I dunno.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Time Living

Blogging has been a little slack around here, I know. Truth is that I just haven't had the urge lately. I'd rather be out riding than talking about riding. I've actually got a few blog posts percolating in the background; its just a matter of sitting down and churning them out--which is the problem. Who wants to sit down when you have the outdoors calling your name?

So I can't and won't promise that blogging will be more regular from here on out until winter. Because it won't be.

Took my first trip on the W&OD trail 2 weekends ago. I set out to ride the entire thing (there & back again would have made about 100 miles total) but I started rather late in the day. When I got to the Ashburn area, I realized I would need to turn back or else I was going to get stuck in the dark. I don't mind riding in the dark, but I didn't have sufficient lights & the W&OD closes at dark. So, I turned back and still made it a decent 60-ish mile day. I will ride the whole thing soon, but I have to admit its not my favorite trail.  The trail runs along four-lane highways & major power lines for most of it. I wouldn't describe it as particularly scenic. It's pretty boring, actually. I do like the towns it passes through. I would love to take some time and explore some of the shops & restaurants I saw along the way. I even met up with a friend along the way-he lives in Herndon and runs along the trail. Still, I prefer the Mt. Vernon or canal towpath over the W&OD any day.

My favorite sight along the way--Herndon, VA.

The W&OD. It pretty much looks exactly like this the entire way. Power lines.
Last weekend I spent some time in Massachusetts. I even saw the Hubway bikes in Boston. I didn't have time to try them out though. They are the same model as BikeShare in DC, except the ones in Boston were corporate sponsored (they were sporting New Balance logos). I'm glad that ours aren't "decorated" with corporate crap. I also saw quite a few bike lanes, even in the smaller towns. Lots of beach cruisers, too. I was fairly multi-modal on my trip. Flew to Boston from BWI (never, ever using SouthWest again, by the way). Then took the commuter ferry from the Boston Harbor to Hingham (boats!) to meet up with The Boy's family. On the way back, we took the commuter rail from Cohasset back to Boston (trains!). It was fun, but I wish I had a chance to ride a bit.

That's Boston Harbor in the far background

I like being on boats.

It's maintenance time for most of my bikes. I've (stupidly) been putting it off so that now ALL of them need major tune-ups at the same time. Ugh. I took Kermit in to BicycleSpace because he not only needed a tune-up from all the riding I've been doing on him, but also because next weekend we will be riding the Total 200, so he needs to be in top shape. Also, the lights for the dynamo hub came in, so those needed to be installed too (testing them out tonight, in fact). Then, poor Betty was making all sorts of horrible creaking and groaning noises and I knew I had put off taking her in for a check-up for too long. I took her to the Daily Rider on H St. NE and dropped her off while I borrowed one of their Bobbins for the group ride to the outdoor movie (Goonies!) at Yards Park.  Thank goodness I had dropped Betty off when I did because her bottom bracket was in horrible shape. It's not good when bearings & metal shavings come pouring out when its opened up, yikes. But I knew she was in good hands. When I got back from the movie, Betty was looking & feeling brand-new again. She even got a free streamer fluffing ;-)

Calibrating the streamers for maximum fluffiness.

Goonies at Yards Park
Thank you to both the Daily Rider & BicycleSpace for the excellent and prompt service!

Now, I just need to get the Jamis & the Boy's bike in for tune-ups, and we'll be all set.

Why yes, I did mention that I am riding the Total 200, didn't I. It's this Saturday. Mir & I signed up last month after we got back from the Unity Tour. We were probably delusional from all that riding. We are doing the 200K option (125 miles). This should be interesting. I haven't done any serious training for it. I plan to do my best and enjoy the ride. We'll see....