Ride leader: Steve Palincsar
Members: Pat Walthers, Sarah Clement, Norm Lisy, Ken Williams, Dan Stoltz
Guests: Bob Evans (yes, really, but not that Bob Evans)
Weather: a lovely summer day: sunny, breezy, 70s at the start rising to the 80s. Let's hope it's good preparation for tomorrow (why of course we need 90 degree temperatures and high humidity when we're doing the first 63 mile ride of the season).
Route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/7003225 34 miles, 1239' of elevation gain. This is a route we've done before, modified because of the closure of the Four Mile Run Trail to incorporate a new route on Old Dominion Blvd through Alexandria back to Jones Point Park.
Mishaps & mechanicals: As we left Jones Point Park, I got the poke in the finger that tells bar end shifter users their rear shifter cable has started to fray (don't you wish STI gave a similar warning?) so I began conserving rear shifts, switching to near-exclusive use of the front derailleur. That worked fine for most of the ride, although of course not in the Arboretum. Bob Evans turned back when we reached Four Mile Run because of severe pollen allergies, shortly after Dan Stoltz joined us at the Sailing Marina. When we got to Union Market, Ken discovered his back tire was going flat. He thought he could fix it by adding a little air, but of course that never works; a tube change revealed a glass puncture.
AMS: 10 mph
Aside from a detour around a big crane near the Torpedo Factory, the trip into the District was uneventful. That changed when we got to Union Market. As Ken worked on his flat tire, we comversed with a pair of German au pairs: about the "wall with hearts" they were trying to find (around the corner, it seems) and about German TV shows being shown in the US. Everyone enjoyed Union Market, and some in the group had not seen it before.
Events continued as we reached the intersection of West Virginia Ave and Mount Olivet. Perhaps the police in attendance decided it was such a nice day they should try to please everyone, and so the lights were green in all directions. As you would expect, that didn't work so well. Moments later, who knows why (that'll teach you?) they went red in all directions. We took the opportunity to cross, only to discover that the street ahead was closed due to pavement patching. We rode around it, taking care to avoid the high pressure hose they were using on a piece of construction equipment.
We had a nice break at the Arboretum gift shop, then took the detour around closed Azalea Drive (the eagles) and then rode up Hickey Hill and down Conifer and although we missed the planned route, somehow ended up at the Capitol Columns anyway. After some phototaking, we rode back down the hill and stopped at the Bonsai exhibit. The construction is finally done there, and there are picnic tables and benches all around the site. There was even a coffee vendor.
On the way back, we stopped for a lunch break at Eastern Market.
On the way back through Alexandria, riders who had ridden to the start of the ride began to drop off and head home on their own. By the time we got to Royal St in Old Town facing the Wilkes St tunnel, there were only three of us. Ken and Pat went right on Royal and I went left, heading for Wheel Nutz to get that shifter cable replaced.
A thoroughly enjoyable ride on a beautiful day. What a wonderful sport this is!