Ever since I had moved to DC and started biking, I wanted to try the WABA 50 States Ride. I figured it would be a good way to get to know the city. Two years ago, I was too intimidated by riding in an unfamiliar city to try it. Last year, I had to work that weekend. This year, I almost didn’t do it because I had already signed up for another ride (that post here), and wasn’t sure I would have the strength to do both. But I was worried that I would run out of opportunities to do the 50 States, so I decided to sign up.
Luckily, I was in good company. Several Friday Coffee Club friends were doing the ride, and a couple of them had done it before.
I got up early to ride to the start in Adams Morgan, where Rootchopper was already there, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as always. Folks started drifting in, and a rather informal yoga session was going on in the grass. I decided to take part, and did a few stretches and a handstand. I found yoga to be a good way to wake up and get ready for the ride.
We started in the Northwest Quadrant, an area I know fairly well. I took it easy, and kept a slow, steady pace. Along Pennsylvania Avenue, I finally got a chance to meet JDantos in person, which was nice.
Our merry group got split up (MG and Felkerino to get coffee, the others somehow going in a different direction), but it was fine. John and I headed to the Southwest, and then to the Southeast to the Anacostia River Trail. Somewhere before Anacostia, some guy’s front wheel hooked into my rear wheel while we were stopped at a traffic light, so when the light turned green and I went to move forward, I got jammed up and I couldn’t move, so down I crashed onto the pavement. Ouch. I got a big bruise on my right knee, but was not in too much pain, so I dislodged myself, got up, and rode off again.
Over the Sousa Bridge, Anacostia Park on the river was a nice stopping point, where Friday Coffee Club members regrouped. This part of the Southeast was a new area to me, and it was fun to explore a part of town that I had never been before. That is, until we hit the hills. These were no joke, and part of what makes the ride challenging. I made the mistake of attacking the first hill, which left me no energy to do subsequent hills. ugh. Mercifully, we made it to Eastern Market and had lunch and a brief respite from riding.
The Northeast section also had a couple hills that almost did me in. By the time we got into the Northwest again, I was riding without my friends, and hoped I would catch them again at the next rest stop in Takoma. And I did, thankfully. I also discovered that one of the hosts of this stop is a regular reader of my blog. It was really generous of Mike and Lisa to open their home to riders.
There were about 15 more miles (and a few more hills!) left until the end of the ride, but I promised myself I’d go home once I hit my neighborhood so that I could at least try to regain some energy for the Back Roads Century ride the next day. So, I left and rode home instead of completing the ride.
All told, I hit 41 States, 60 miles including riding from home to the ride and back, and some 1000 feet (maybe) of climbing. If you are interested in getting to know DC, are confident in riding in traffic, and can handle hills, you can do this ride. I would suggest riding with friends to help navigate the route.