The lull is over. I went on a fun century ride yesterday– the Hoppy 100.
Porta-John gives a good account about how this ride came to be. It’s my fault– if you talk about beer and bicycling, I will think it’s a good idea. Luckily, John thought so too, and devised a great route that took us to some local breweries.
This ride began at Baked and Wired in Georgetown. We started out as a gang of five: Porta-John, Bicycle Bug, Rootchopper, Crystal, and me. As we were getting ready to head out, we saw our friends MG and Felkerino come in. They were going on their two-day tour. Little did we know that our paths would soon cross again.
We had made the last-minute decision to forego the C&O Canal Towpath at the beginning of the trip due to heavy rains the day before making the trail too muddy to get through. This meant taking MacArthur Boulevard and River Road to get to White’s Ferry. Full disclosure: I hate riding those roads. These are the roads I routinely get dropped in shop rides because of the hills, and I end up feeling like the kid who gets picked last for a team game. This was the low point of the ride for me– our group got separated, and I was at the tail end, wheezing and trying to straddle the line between keeping up and not pushing too hard, as we still had many miles to go. But one of the great things about our group was that we did stay together throughout the ride. We waited for one another at various points and made sure no one was left behind.
Crystal had to return home for a family function, and went back the way we came. It was fun riding with her for that short period of time. The Hoppy 100 gang was now four.
The hardest part of the ride was the section of River Road that was all gravel and ruts, and the dreaded Mount Nebo hills. I hit a few bumps that jolted the bones in my arms, which made me wish for a mountain bike suspension. But thankfully, I thought to bring my Tricross bike with fatter tires instead of my skinny-tired road bike– it made handling the bumpy surface more bearable.
It was a relief to make it to White’s Ferry. As we got off our bikes and stretched our legs, whom did we see but MG and Felkerino ride up in their Cannondale tandem! We all rode the ferry together, and went a little ways into Leesburg until parting ways.
Finding our first brewery was pretty easy. Lost Rhino Brewing Company is located in an isolated corporate park in Ashburn, not far from the W&OD trail. This meant inadequate bike parking. We locked our bikes to signposts and walked in. The place was jumping, and it was only noon. I wanted to have some beer, but I was feeling particularly thirsty and was a little concerned that drinking this early (for me) would go straight to my head. I opted for some of their house-brewed root beer instead, which hit the spot.
After some food and drink, we retrieved our bikes and headed back on the W&OD. On the trail, we picked up another rider– Bilsko, with his new Surly Disc Trucker bike. He had been following our ride Tweets and waited for us to come by. Now back to five, we rode to our next stop, Mad Fox Brewing Company in Falls Church. I ordered the Witte Vos Witbier, but I don’t think that’s what I got, even though both the server and another waiter claimed that was what it was. It looked and tasted more like a summer ale. I was not in the mood to complain, but I didn’t finish it.
The next leg of the trip is a blur for me. I know we rode the W&OD to the end, and went on the Holmes Run Trail. We deviated from the route because we couldn’t find a couple of turns. But then it started to pour! There was a point where I had to stop and wipe my eyes because I couldn’t see. The storm cleared, and luckily, with Rootchopper’s knowledge of the area and with the help of GPS, we found our way to Port City Brewing Company in another corporate park, in Alexandria. This was not a sit-down place; this was all beer, all the time. I ordered a taste of their porter. It was excellent.
It was getting dark as we rode through Old Town, onto the Mt. Vernon Trail and back into DC. One by one, people left the group to go home. Porta-John and I parted ways near Union Station and I opted to take the train home. I clocked in at about 102 miles, which included riding part of the way to the start point. This epic journey took over 12 hours!
Many many thanks go to Porta-John for organizing the ride, and to Bicycle Bug, Bilsko, Crystal, and Rootchopper for riding with us. I had a great time, and I hope to ride with you guys again soon!