It was clear that if I wanted to do 100 miles in the last seven days, I’d have to knock out 69 miles today. This is not normally a big deal but I have spent 5 of the last 6 days off my bike and not even doing my daily physical therapy routine for my back. I googled a route from my home in Mount Vernon to Indian Head MD. This would be 70 miles round trip, but the roads are bumpy and narrow and the traffic is heavy.
My thoughts turned to my 50 mile bagel ride. This involved riding from my house to Bethesda Row using the Capital Crescent Trail and returning by way of Rock Creek Park. I’ve done this ride at least 20 miles and it’s always fun to get to Bethesda, grab a bagel and munch it down while checking out the view of Rock Creek Park from the Rock Creek Trestle on the Georgetown Branch Trail.
|Poling on the Run|
Then a Friday Coffee Club friend named Laura started pining about the huge donuts at Bethesda Bagels. I took this as a sign of fate and headed out on Little Nellie, my Bike Friday New World Tourist. Instead of the usual ride north on the Mount Vernon Trail, I took Fort Hunt Road just for a change of scenery. Fort Hunt Road intersects US 1 at the Beltway, which is about as messy an intersection as any bicyclist can find. Thanks to the foresight of previous Congresses, the recently rebuilt intersection includes a bike path that takes me back to the MVT. Along the way I crossed over a Cameron Run and spotted a guy pole kayaking his way through the calm waters. Looked pretty boring to me, so I took a picture and rolled on. A few miles later I was inspired to modify my route because you can’t ride too many miles in drizzle.
I took a left on the Anderson Trail along Four Mile Run and, after three miles, picked up the Washington and Old Dominion Trail. The W&OD intersects the Martha Custis Trail after about 4 more miles. I turned right on the Custis and headed back toward Georgetown. I rode over Key Bridge on the sidepath then jumped into the flow of autos on M Street in Georgetown. A bicyclist in front of me was trying to take the lane when a car beeped its horn at him and shoaled him, coming to a stop at the next traffic light. The bicyclist caught up to the car and yelled at the driver, “What the hell are you doing?” or words to that effect. I thought, “Good on you.” Then the bicyclist blew through the red light. Dude, you just confirmed in the driver’s mind that bicyclists are unpredictable and irresponsible. Bad on you.
I banged a right onto Wisconsin and another on K Street. Soon I was tooling along the CCT which looks flat but is gradually uphill most of the way to Bethesda. It was relatively uncrowded thanks to the mist so the going was reasonably fast. The recent thunderstorms left a pretty impressive path of destruction the debris from which line the trail.
I planned to re-load my water bottles in Bethesda but the water fountain was out of order as a result of some nearby construction. Note to the construction crew, get you shit together. It’s July in Washington. We need the damn water turned on.
|Best Everything Bagel Around|
The line at Bethesda Bagels was, as usually, out the door. I snagged my everything bagel and a cup of regular (Do they grade coffee like gasoline? Can you buy unleaded?) coffee and sat on a bench outside the shop under a tree that kept me dry from the mist and watched the Bethesdans stroll by.
The next order of business was the Rock Creek Trestle. This long bridge spans Rock Creek Park at just above the canopy. I love the view almost any time of year. After a couple minutes of contemplating my navel (it’s an innie, in case you were wondering), I backtracked to Jones Bridge Road and banged a left to head for home through the park.
|In the Treetops on the Rock Creek Trestle|
For most of the ride through the park, the main drag, Beach Drive, is closed to cars on the weekends. This is one of the great joys of bike riding in DC and not to be missed. Unfortunately, once you get about half way through the park, the cars return and the horrible side path awaits. I think the Secretary of Interior should be required to ride to work at least once a week on this monstrosity. It’s been narrow, tree rooted, overgrown mess for over 30 years (I lived here in 1980; it sucked then.)
The route home took me to the Lincoln Memorial beach volleyball courts, down Ohio Drive, over the 14 th Street Bridge and under the George Washington Parkway. I took a left at the Pentagon rode through Crystal City, Potomac Yards, Old Town Alexandria and picked up the MVT at the beltway. I rode the MVT home, sucking wind as I had not consumed enough water and the sun was burning through the clouds. I arrived home after 58 miles. Good enough. Two thumbs up.
Once I was showered my kids and I went out to watch the latest Batman movie. Just as the trailers started I folded my legs and OWWWW! a leg cramp. I was writhing in my seat like a nut trying not to YOWL!!!! There was just enough room to stretch my leg out to calm the spasm. I stayed splayed out for the first half of the film.
I would endure any amount of pain to see Anne Hathaway in a skin tight black cat suit.
So I did.
It was worth it. Six thumbs up.