A Night at the Races

For a month in late winter/early spring, bike races take place in a parking garage in Crystal City, a neighborhood in Arlington County, Virginia. The usual line up is an open race for all comers, a women’s race, and a men’s race.

Last night was the final race event of the year. The categories were a bit different. There was an open race, a government employees vs. contractor race, an anything-goes race, a tandem and cargo bike race, and a fixed gear race.

The anything-goes event included unicycles (including my friend Steve O. wearing a cow costume), a  bike with bouncing rear wheel, several trikes, an inline skater, a couple of skateboarders, long tail bikes with kids on back, bike pulling kids in trailers, and my friend Judd riding the Bike in Bloom, the pink Capital Bikeshare bike that is deployed only during the Cherry Blossom Festival.

The event is full of socializing. I met my fourth #bikedc Rachel during a break in the racing. Her daughter is trying to decide what college to go to in the fall. She wants to do some studying abroad and wasn’t sure she’d be able to if she attended James Madison University. As luck would have it, I had invited my former co-worker Jessica, a JMU grad who studied abroad. So the two of them had a long conversation.

Jessica, who doesn’t ride, seemed to really have fun. She kept wondering what anybody would ride a trike, a bike with a bouncing rear wheel, or any one of a number of the goofy contraptions on display. I have to work on her some more.

Kevin, my compadre from Friday Coffee Club, some mountain bike rides, and the 2017 50 States Ride showed up. We hung out for the second half of the evening. He encouraged me by praising my crappy iPhone pictures. Maybe someday I’ll do what he does and bring a digital SLR.

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Erin’s bike rocks the pink
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Judd with the Bike in Bloom
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Steve O. before donning his cow costume

As I was talking to Kevin, a man walking past caught my eye. He joined a woman with two toeheaded toddlers. Could it be? The woman was Shane, a friend I hadn’t seen in ages. She and I met doing the 2007 Fifty States Ride. It was hot as Hades and she suffered mightily. After about 50 miles, we stopped in Rock Creek Park where she rested her aching back by lying in the shade of a massive old tree. She was one hurting unit. She got up and forged ahead though. At American University, she went into a building where we thought the ride organizers had set up some refreshments. She found some on a table in a hallway on the first floor and took some snacks. Well, the refreshments were actually on the second floor; she had just pilfered her goodies from a seminar. Oops. We hightailed it out of there and made it to the finish before the authorities could track us down.

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The mysterious Adam stands by as Shane contemplates death in Rock Creek Park during the 2007 50 States Ride.
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Luke on the winner’s wheel with one lap to go

This was my third time at the garage bike races. There is a DJ/announcer wearing a skating cap that I thought looked a lot like my friend Megan’s husband Nate. Nate seemed to me to be a rather laid back guy, but the DJ/announcer was animated and LOUD. I learned today that it was indeed Nate. So my apologies to him for not saying hello.

 

 

 

Sunday at the Races

DC has gone racing crazy. Today was the annual Marine Corps Marathon. (The one that I never finished. Sad face.) I rode ten miles to Crystal City to cheer my friend Heather on. The crowd was really loud. There was music and a sort of festival going on across the street. I am always surprised how some people with horrible running form run right along side people who run smooth and fast.

Heather was shooting for 4:10 so I staked out a spot near the 23 mile mark and waited. And waited. I did a lot of clapping and cheering. As did the people around me. One woman brought a big plastic container of donut holes. The elite runners weren’t interested but the slow pokes went all in.

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I never saw Heather. I later learned that she finished in 4:33. She encountered cramps at 25 miles. She also found beer during the last few miles. Drinking beer after running used to make my entire body feel awful. I don’t know how anybody drinks it while running.

After I gave up (when the 5:00 pace runner went by) I rode to the grounds of the Old Soldiers Home in DC (which I’d never seen before) to see DC Cyclocross. Many of my friends, male and female, young and old (and foolish), love this stuff. They love to race and to hang out and be bikey. I have to admit it’s pretty cool to watch. It’s like watching a bicycle roller coaster. Friend of the blog Brian rode for the first time today. I missed it. Apparently he thought it was awesome. He will be insufferable now. Wait, he’s always been insufferable. We’re doomed.

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Dear Prudence, My friend rode his first cyclocross race today. He didn’t die. He loved it. He won’t stop talking about it? Is it okay to put a WABA sock in his mouth? Signed, Sick of Cross (SOX) )

Did I mention the weather was perfect? For the fourth day in a row. We get another one tomorrow. Then it rains. And cold-ish air comes in.

Good thing I’ve got my 1,000 miles for the month in.