We had an abnormally warm day on tap for yesterday so I decided to go for a ride that would stretch me out a bit. Rather than do my normal 50-mile out and back ride to Bethesda, I opted to download a cue sheet from a ride developed by my friend Josephine.
This ride was the Chainsaw Art Ride, a 24-mile meander around Arlington, Fairfax County, and Falls Church in Northern Virginia. The closest the ride came to my house was about 13 miles away so the plan was to ride to that point, do the ride, and ride home. And, Bob’s your uncle, I’d have a 50-mile ride.
I rode The Mule five miles before it became obvious that I was overdressed. I took off my jacket and soldiered on to the closest point on the route. I hadn’t paid much attention to where this ride getting there was pretty easy. This 13 miles was nearly flat and I had a bit of a tailwind so I started the route ready for action.
A half mile later the route went up, as in straight up. As in I can’t breath. As in I think I hurt my lungs steep.
I survived. Barely. One thing I re-learned is that I am horribly bad at climbing hills.
The cue sheet soon had me wandering around the Sleepy Hollow/Lake Barcroft neighborhood. Up and down and up and down. I was supposed to be looking for carvings made out of trees. I found a rather impressive robin, and a somewhat surreal looking cat. Not bad. I also made a couple of wrong turns that led to me riding a few unnecessary hills.
Did I say this was a hilly ride?
You know you are hurting when your brain starts to do the math. Only 27 miles to go. You can do this. Only 26 miles to go. Toughen up you fat load. Only 25 miles to go. I want my mommy.
I managed to survive Sleepy Hollow and a crossing of the US 50 car sewer near Seven Corners. Whenever I go to Seven Corners I think of the time the DC snipers shot someone in the parking lot of the Home Depot. Seven Corners is not a place of joy.
The route eventually took me through North Arlington and around Bishop O’Connell High School. I would guess that at least one-half of all colleges in the US are smaller than this school. And the parking lots, sadly, seem to go on forever.
North Arlington is rather hilly but, having survived the first 15 miles of the chainsaw route, I knew I could handle it.
I think I failed to find about half of the carvings. The late afternoon light made for bad picture quality for the ones I did find. At some point I stopped looking for them.
As the ride progressed, the sun started sinking toward the horizon. Once the route was done, I headed home, keeping to level ground.
I arrived home exhausted. 50 miles completed. Put a fork in me.
I took an edible to see if it would help my recovery. It didn’t, but it did knock me senseless for most of the next ten hours.
Is Nebraska hilly? Asking for a friend.