The longest six months ever came to an end yesterday. Despite the pandemic, or maybe even because of it, my beat up body is finally starting to feel normal again. I am hoping that Indiana Jones was wrong when he said, “It’s not the age; it’s the mileage.” Then again, at my age, I doubt there’s much difference.
I closed out the first half of the year with a 66-mile ride on The Mule from Potomac Village to Glen Echo to Heightstown and back to Potomac Village. All in Maryland west of DC. The route was designed by the DC Randonneurs, those crazy people who ride hundreds of miles in one go. For fun. I think they need professional help.
This route is what the Randos call a Populaire. It’s a sweetener intended, I suppose, to lure riders into doing longer randonneering rides. God help them.
The ride is supposed to start in Glen Echo but I decided it would be easier to park in Potomac Village and make a figure 8 out of the route. Glen Echo is near the Potomac River so the first five miles were downhill. From there I headed back to Potomac Village and on to Heightstown, not far from Frederick. The outbound route is uphill in the form of a series of unrelenting rollers.
It was a typical DC day, hot and humid. I’d put a lot of miles in my legs recently, including 13 yesterday with a lawn mowing job thrown in for bad measure. Suffice it to say, my legs were not fresh and I could tell by the 22-mile mark. My thighs were wobbly going up the steep rollers. I normally would stand and ride over these but I resorted to granny gearing. Over and over again.
The route passed through some very scenic countryside, much of it thankfully in shade. There were many curvy country roads which makes for fun riding. At 22 miles, I ate half a bagel and hoped for a bit of a bounce from the calories. The next 14 miles were more up and down riding. Bounce or not, I was pooped by Heighstown. I stood in the shade and finished the other half of the bagel then headed back.
Lucky for me the next 12 miles over a different set of roads were mostly flat. I made a pit stop in Poolesville for some panther piss, an Arnold Palmer, a Snickers bar, and a water bottle refill.
My liquid break made the next few miles a bit sloshy. It was a good thing that these were also level riding. Finally, I arrived at River Road for the last ten miles beginning with the biggest downhill of the ride. I was flying until the road surface became a series of small moguls. This was not a lot of fun at 38 miles per hour. All I could do was relax my arms and hope I didn’t get bounced into a passing BMW.
After the bumps, I endured nine miles of huge rollers and speeding cars. The sun was frying my back. I was very happy to see the parking lot in Potomac Village.
As hard as this ride was, I once did it from my home on Big Nellie. How I rode up the steep rolling hills is beyond me. It was 113 miles. I can’t even.
I was so focused on not dying that I only took one picture. A simple field of grain at mile 50.
The ride also marked the end of June. I rode 1,102 miles in the month. For the first half of the year I’ve pedaled 4,901 miles. I think I have a decent shot at 10,000 miles for the year.
Since it was the last day of June I recommend some Finn therapy.
Here’s to a better second half. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Wear a mask. Call your momma.