Getting lucky these days obviously refers to….the weather. When you’re doing 15+ hours of biking a week, being able to get outside for as many miles as possible is key to sanity. The other key to sanity: friends!
(cue the Bette Midler)
(For the record, I do actually know every word to that song. Since I was about 10. Thanks, Mom!)
About a month ago I reached out to Leslie. I knew that to help pull me through my December riding miles I needed an “adventure” to look forward to.
“Hey – we live 110 miles from each other. I have a great idea. Let’s ride from your house to my house on one day, then back the next day.”
Leslie quickly agreed, but when we looked at weekends, the only one that worked was one when she was already slated for a half marathon on Sunday. “We could ride Friday/Saturday and then race on Sunday…..”
“The half marathon is only $5”
So, off we went. Thursday night I drove up to NoVA and over Ginger Mango Sangria we finalized our plans and expectations for the day. This makes it sound much more glamorous than it was, probably since everything outside of DC is so #fancy: in reality we were just trying to consume as many calories as humanly possible before the next 3 days would begin.
It wasn’t until pedaling out from Reston on Friday that we realized how truly lucky we were: only wearing booties, knee/arm warmers, a vest and gloves, we were gone! This is December! We could have easily been subject to any of the following: wind, rain, snow, rain and snow, temps below freezing, temps right above freezing with rain and snow, temps below freezing with rain and snow and wind. While it would have been interesting to see exactly which conditions would have made us pull the plug on this adventure, I was happy not to have to find out!
So happy in fact, that as we cruised off the busy section onto a nice little back road, we just kept cruising along. For about 20 minutes, until I realized that hmmmm, these road names aren’t really following the cut sheet anymore. And then, we hit a dead end. #fail
Luckily this detour was at least scenic, though it was some bonus miles. Between that and a small meltdown and bonus mile situation in Culpepper (80 miles without a lunch stop is not ideal!!), our day was actually pretty good.
Charlottesville came and we refueled, swam, refueled, got massages (thanks Anne for the late night house call!) and got to bed. Luckily all of this happened before we really had time to process the fact that we were still less than halfway through the project!
Saturday was another glorious December riding day. We even managed to not get lost…..too much, at least. And it was determined that the Smash Sakura Sun kit is THE best for being bright and seen on the roads! Siri tends to be helpful but can be a bit overbearing and bossy as a riding partner, actually. We also found a great little pit stop in Culpepper this time around – Knakal’s Bakery. Probably the same place it was in 1960, and it’s amazing. I only ate one boston crème donut, but it was one of the best I’ve ever had.
We also found a ride souvenir– it was Free Art Friday in Culpepper and this gem was taped to the wall outside the bakery! Is a great little souvenir for the fridge to commemorate our trip.
There was also creepy-but-amazing sculptures in lawns that we rode by.
Saturday night was dejavu – refuel, swim, refuel (Afghani food may have been a questionable choice pre-running race!), and recovery boots.
Sunday came and I have to say – this was the most nerve-wracking part of the weekend for me! I just didn’t know how the legs would feel and that made me anxious. It definitely helped to have Leslie and Nate with me. And if it was some other time, they would have suggested taking some arnold palmer strain to calm the nerves (even though I don’t use it). However, they were like “eh, it will be what it will be, let’s do this!”
The race started and Leslie and I settled into a little pack with another woman for the first few miles. Things not to do/say if you’re a dude and running in the back of a pack of women, or, well, anyone:
-Say “hey you girls are running really fast!”
-Clip our heels. Multiple times.
-Walk, then when we catch you, insert yourself into the middle of the pack surging like a yo-yo.
Oh, and if you’re a dude and you are running with a female friend’s bib, here’s a genius idea: Don’t WIN the women’s race. Or, if you do, tell someone, dammit! While Leslie did have the pleasure of breaking the tape, it was slightly frustrating to have us called as 2-3 for awards instead of 1-2. Mostly because there’s a woman out there somewhere who ran hard and earned her $5 Starbucks prize!! We overheard the guy in the parking lot after, and while I’m sure he’s embarrassed, no one *really* cares – you just should have done the right thing and made it right afterwards. Sigh.
But anyway – WE MADE IT!!!! (well, kind of, there was still some recovery activities later in the day). It was a super fun weekend and trust me, we never lost sight of how lucky we were to have the conditions we did which allowed us to pull it off.
And of course, I must give a shoutout to the other players involved in helping me get through 235 miles in 2 days on 2 wheels: my Dimond bike, ISM Saddle, and ICE Friction chain. This combo never lets me down and it’s amazing to be able to rely on such good equipment for weekends like this.