Tomorrow is the annual 50 States Ride in DC. It’s the Washington Area Bicyclists Association’s main event. You ride on each of the avenues named after a state. The cue sheet is nortoriously complex, typically running 9 pages. The weather rarely cooperates.
I won’t be riding it this year, but I will be thinking of my friends who will be slogging up and down the hills. For those of you who are new to the event, here are a few pointers:
- The route is about 62 miles long. It feels like 162. It will take you all day. Don’t complain. Suck it up.
- The weather almost always plays a role. Rain or oppressive heat and humidity, sometimes both, are the order of the day. (This year’s forecast looks pretty decent though.)
- The people who work this event, WABA employees and volunteers, get up way before dawn and work into the evening to make this thing happen. Thank them profusely. Buy them a beer at the after party. Hug them.
- You will stop at a red light, a stop sign, or a rest stop about 1,458 times. Instead of bitching about it, introduce yourself to the people who are riding with you. I’ve met more people during the 50 States Ride than all the other rides I’ve done put together.
- Your hands will be tired. You’ll be breaking constantly.
- When you get to Massachusetts Avenue in SE, feel free to let ‘er rip. It’s the best downhill in the city. Sadly you will come to a mess of traffic lights and a traffic circle at the bottom. Don’t blame me.
- If you feel overwhelmed, remember you can bail out at any time, if you can live with disgrace, that is.
- If you’ve done the ride before, take a rookie under your wing. I’ve done this several times. It’s great to see the smile on that rookie’s face at the end of the ride.
- Take pictures and post them to WABA’s Flickr page.
- When you get to the Tacoma Park rest stop, yell “Hail Rootchopper!” Mike and Lisa will understand.
- The rest of Washington will be out and about like any Saturday in September. Say hello. Smile.
- Save a little something extra for the last five miles. You’re gonna need it.
And most of all, Have FUN!