You must do the things you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

20 Crazy Miles on the Bike

I've mentioned a couple of times that I hope to be able to do a sprint tri the end of September. Turns out one of the moms from the kids' track team wants to do it too.  She swims and hikes while I bike and try to run so we joke about doing it as a relay instead.

We've decided to ride together about once a week, more if our schedules allow. So Sunday we planned to meet a little before 5 for 15-20 miles on the C&O canal towpath. I got there around 4:30 so I could do a couple of fast miles (just cause it's fun).

I don't like my hair to touch my neck when it's hot so I'm sporting pigtail braids

She arrived, and when we were all set to go...a looooong freight train parked itself across the crossing which is the only way to the towpath at that particular point. Not to be outdone by a silly train, we loaded the bikes and headed to another entry point for the towpath.

She hasn't ridden in months so we took it slow and easy and chatted up a storm. For a holiday weekend, it was surprisingly uncrowded. I think we passed a dozen people total. Very nice!

We were zipping along and my knee and shin hit some greenery on the edge of the towpath. Immediate welts and stinging. Argh! Stinging nettle. Mixed with sweat. Bummer, but not the end of the world.

The recent heavy rains brought a lot of flooding, and at the height of the flooding, the river was high enough to cover the tow path and fill the canal almost to the train tracks. Crazy! In spite of this, the trail was in pretty good shape. Mud puddles here and there as well as a few downed trees- one made a bridge across the trail that shorty-me could ride under; my friend is taller so she had to get off her bike and duck under it.

South of Point of Rocks (~ mile 47) there were huge dead fish on the towpath. These babies looked like they could eat a small car...ok maybe not that big, but they were over 2 ft long. I didn't take a picture because they were muddy and decaying so they were really gross. Reminded me of how violent the water can be during flooding. Very scary.

All the rain has made for a very green towpath!

I forgot my glasses but wasn't too worried since I wasn't alone. But I also forgot about how much gnats love eyes especially. And I have a special talent when it comes to gnats. They get in my eye and then my cornea know that clear stuff that covers your eyeball, it gets a bubble of sorts on it. Major grossness. Makes it hard to see clearly too...but then I was already behind the 8-ball on that one since I didn't have my glasses on.  Since we started a little later than planned, it was starting to get dark on our way back. No glasses, dusk, swollen cornea. Recipe for disaster, but very thankfully our return was otherwise completely uneventful.

I survived!

We rode from Lander Rd (mile 51) to the Monocacy Aquaduct (mile 42.2) for a 17.6 mile roundtrip -plus my 2.5 from earlier made a nice 20.1 miles for me. happiness!

For our next big adventure we plan to ride on a nearby highway - that has a really wiiiide shoulder. All this riding makes me think it would be fun to do the Seagull Metric Century in the fall. hmmmmmm

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