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You never know when you might see a penny-farthing

3 May

Riding along Mount Vernon Trail NOT in an old-timey bicycle

While biking on the Capital Crescent Trail yesterday, I saw a man riding a penny-farthing, AKA an old-timey bicycle.

Since I was pretty sure I hadn’t time traveled, I found this antique pastime amusing.  But what I didn’t do in that moment was snap a photo.  I had my iPhone in my pocket, I just wasn’t ready.

Just as the mysterious “they” always say that the only runs you ever regret are the ones you don’t go on, the only photos I have ever regretted are the ones I didn’t take.

Which is why I usually ride my bike with my iPhone either in my hand or in my pocket, set to open to my camera at a second’s notice.

Luckily, I did manage to get some shots last week during a long ride down to Gravelly Point, a football field-sized park across National Airport in Virginia.

One hand on the handle

Coming in for a landing

A couple watches from Gravelly Point the planes land

C&O Canal before crossing Key Bridge


Save the Clock Tower 5K and a cycling accident

11 Apr

When I read last week that WordPress employees were inviting the WP community to participate in a virtual 5K, I thought it was silly.

You KNOW you wish this race existed

But when I got home on Friday and saw my still-unworn homage to Back to the Future — a “Save the Clock Tower Hill Valley ’85 5K Run” t-shirt — I decided I would not only run the virtual race, I would make it a fictional race as well.

Back to the Future is not only my favorite movie of all time, it is, coincidentally, also the GREATEST MOVIE EVER.  Citizen Kane, Shmitizen Kane, that’s what I always say.

Really, I’m always saying it, ask anyone.

Of course, to prepare myself, I first downloaded the title theme from the movie to my iPod.  Priorities, you know.

I headed out in the rain and decided to take it easy since my legs were still sore from last Sunday’s Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler.  It was a “race” but I wasn’t “racing” it.  The route was simple:  south on 16th, down New Hampshire Ave. to Dupont, around the circle and east on Mass Ave., then retrace my steps.

I felt sluggish out there but when that movie soundtrack came on, I thought, If Marty McFly can save not only himself but the fabric of the universe itself, I can run these 3.1 miles.

I finished it in 29:57 (9:40 pace), far slower than my average 5K time (25:30) or PR (22:34).  And no, I didn’t hit 88 mph.

I followed that “race” with a long bike ride with Epod Saturday morning.

We started out winding up Beach Drive, dodging angry drivers yelling out their windows, and traversing some tough terrain on the trails before the Capital Crescent Trail.

If I know Epod, she was making sounds like "Vroom, vroom!"

We took a water/snack break in Bethesda and then headed home.  After a few miles, as we sailed down at 15 mph, I asked her if she wanted to see what it felt like to go 20 mph.

Just then, though, Epod’s shoelace got caught on the pedal, which forced her to move to her right and slide off the trail.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her spin out and hit the ground.

You'd have thought trying to get this photo would have caused the accident

I slammed on my brakes and threw my bike down and started running back to her.  It’s funny the things you think about in a split second, even during high-adrenaline moments.  Because the thought that went through my mind as I ran to her was, Hmm, so this is what it’s going to be like in the triathlon when I stop cycling and start running.  Interesting.

I got to her and she was alright.  A little shaken up, a couple of cuts and bruises, but overall OK.  She dusted herself off and, being the tough chick she is, got back on the bike and we pedaled home.

“It’s a good thing we weren’t going 20 mph,” I told Epod.  She agreed.

Still.  Imagine if we had had a flux capacitor.

Cyclography might just be too hazardous

5 Apr

I took a “sick day” yesterday because after several long hours and days and weeks at work, I needed a personal day to decompress.

My plan to laze away on the couch and watch baseball all day (thanks, Comcast MLB package!) was thwarted, though, by the guilt I felt when I looked outside and saw a sunny, 75-degree day.  Seriously, it was the best day of the year so far, an absolutely perfect day to be outside doing something fun.

Since I had run Cherry Blossom on Sunday and knew better than to run the day after a 10-mile race (see?  I’m learning!), I decided to take my bike out for a spin.

I’m so happy I did.

Heather and D? Cyclists in love

I started out nice and easy, biking down Rock Creek and veering on to Canal Street, stopping to take some photos and enjoy the sun and the views of the Potomac.  Then I got on to Capital Crescent Trail without any real plan of how far I should go.

I knew I wanted to do a long bike ride since I was in no hurry to get back but I thought I should probably only go 15 miles max.  It had been awhile since I had biked regularly and didn’t want to do anything stupid.

Speaking of stupid…taking photos while cycling?  Not the easiest thing to do.  I liked the results of my Hispatamtic experiment at the Cherry Blossom race, so I figured I’d go with that photo app again.

But balancing yourself using one hand and shooting from the hip while traveling at more than 15 mph is downright dangerous.  There’s a reason I’m a runographer and not a cyclographer.

Don't fall off...don't fall off...don't fall off...

The first few miles were tough, probably due to the wind and my lack of muscle memory on the bike.  I struggled to get any real speed and wondered after 5 or 6 miles if I should cut the ride short.

But then, just like when you’re running and something clicks, I started to feel good.  I pedaled faster and more efficiently and the sweat and heavy breathing became more manageable.  I reached Bethesda after about 10+ miles and turned around.

The way back was even better.

I was churning faster and faster and in my 15th mile, was really moving.  I looked at my watch and saw a pace of 2:58, which I calculated to be more than 20 mph!  Since I’ve never run that fast, obviously, and had never biked at this pace, I realized I was propelling myself faster than I had ever gone.  I biked that mile at a 3:07 pace, and paced 10 of my 20+ miles under 4:00 (over 15 mph).  I know I was going slightly downhill but I didn’t care, I felt like I was willing myself to move that fast!

At least I stopped for this shot

I kept going at a solid clip and made it back home at exactly 20.5 miles, having averaged 14.3 mph for the whole ride.

I felt great but, more importantly, confident that I’d be able to hold my own at the Charlottesville International Trtiathlon in June.

As long as I don’t try to take any photos during the race.