My Ride to the Star Destroyer

It was supposed to be a flat recovery ride. I got a bit carried away. Within a mile and a half I was riding up the hill on Sherwood Hall Lane. Then I rode up the grade on Fort Hunt Road, descended and rode another hill past the golf course to the Beltway.

Okay, I’ll be good. I’ll ride the new Alexandria bike trail all the way to Crystal City.

It was flat. So I continued on to the Pentagon.

It, too, was flat.

I worked my way over to the Mount Vernon Trail and the Humpback Bridge, mostly because the Humpback Bridge sounds cool.

Over the river on the 14th Street Bridge and up Maine Avenue past the incredibly big Wharf construction project. First phase set to open in 2017. Yes, it’s that big.

M Street took me to the 11th Street Bridge across the Anacostia. Whoever decided to put a bike path on this thing is a frickin’ genius. (Is “frickin'” even a word?)

Now the fun begins: the long slog up Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard. If this is junior, I don’t want to know about senior. I had multiple flashbacks to my seven 50 States Rides during which I admired the fit behinds of all the riders who can climb faster than me. Which is to say every entrant ever!

One thing I noticed during my climb, it matters what pants you wear. Pants that are tight around the hips make it harder to climb. Today I wore loose mountain bike shorts under baggy wind pants. Claudio Chiapucci I ain’t but the climbing was not so bad.

It goes up and up. Then it goes down conveniently stopping at South Capitol Street so that all that downhill momentum is lost. Then up some more for a while until I plunge down the steep hill to the Police Academy complex. Every time I see the sign for Police Academy I think of the dreadful movie. At least it had Bubba Smith in it.

Of course at the bottom of the hill there was a stop sign. I stopped. A police cruiser noticed and gave me a friendly toot on the horn. (Take note Alexandria Virginia Police!! You don’t have to treat cyclists like criminals.)

What goes down must go up. After a meander through the messed up Oxon Cove Park I confronted the beast. I don’t mean this apparent imperial star destroyer under construction. (It’s a trap!)

DSCN4660.JPG

Side note: Oxon Cove Park could be a local jewel. It has the misfortune of being located in a poor, out of the way section of Prince Georges County Maryland. The few people who live near it rarely use it. What a shame.

The beast was the long, ever steepening climb at Oxon Hill Farm. I HATE this hill. It starts with the indignity of a false flat. Then a true hill emerges in front of you. And emerges and emerges.

I made it to the top without calling for my mommy.

Across the Beltway on Oxon Hill Road and down the side path to the river. Up the spiral ramp (I love this spiral) to the deck and back across the Beltway. Somehow I now had legs and rode over the Wilson Bridge actually accelerating as I made the climb.

I headed home on the Mount Vernon Trail but after a few miles I bailed out to take on one more hill: Westgrove Boulevard, as suburban street that also steepens as it rises.

Mommy!!!

Okay, I made it. In pretty decent fettle. I made my way back home once again riding up the Sherwood Hall Lane hill. For the life of me I can’t figure out why riding up the steeper part going west is so easy. I just thrash it every time.

So 31 1/2 miles. On a rest day. When I couldn’t help myself. If it rains tomorrow, I spy a museum. (If I get out of bed.)

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