A year in Brussels here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Aug 26 century

Sunday I took part in the Reston Bike Club Century. A colleague from work invited me on this ride and it has been a while since I got an event t-shirt. This ride started in Reston, just south of Arlington, to almost the corner of VA, WV and MD and back. The ride ended up being 167km and I was in the saddle for 6hrs and 25 min. I just got a new cyclocross bike I had been dying to seriously put it to the test. It rode perfectly.

The route wound through about 40 km of suburbs. This blew me away. The suburbs were all built in the last 10 years and they went on for miles and miles. The entire route had no flat parts, it is very hilly (and forested) in this area. During this suburbs portion, the crest of every hill exposed another huge valley of endless homes with a dinky little tree in every yard. And the houses were huge. In fact, the average new home size in the states in the last few years is 240% larger than the average home built in the 50's. And family sizes have shrunk too.

Anyway, the scenery was amazing once we left the suburbs.... but the houses and cleared land per house got bigger. Who wants a house with 5 air conditioners lined up outside, a ring of baby trees 250 meters from your house, where the only thing nearby is a neighbor with a garage with 1 more door than yours? The best part was that most of these giant houses had owners out riding their lawnmowers. Obviously a 5 hour job for most of these places because for the entire ride most houses had someone mowing the lawn. I guess there are not enough Mexicans this far from the city for them to hire to mow their lawns for below minimum wage. Or, they can no longer afford the hired help when the cost of building that lake on their property seems to be more then they expected.....??

Oh, I was writing about the ride..... The pace for the first quarter was pretty good, stopped at the rest stop and filled up with calories, salt and potassium. The next quarter as a bit slower. Though the day was much cooler than recent weeks, it still passed 32C, and my colleague had not had any salt and was cramping. Just past the midway point we came to another rest stop where finally got him to have some salt. Here we parted ways. He took a short cut to a rest stop 15km from the end while I did the next big loop. I later found out that the salt fixed him up and he felt much better. Meanwhile I continued to go up and down all the hills and finished just in time to have a big dinner at the finish line.

I had trouble with shifting. My new bike's rear shifter works opposite to my mountain bike. It has been hard to break my shifting reflexes. Even after getting partway up a hill and shifting in the wrong direction over and over, the added pain and misery did not force my fingers to start shifting right....


Blogger Kristenn said...

Hey dude - great posting about the ride, and crazy about the nearly endless 'burbs. I can never understand why the developers mow down every tree in sight... I think perhaps they have a partnership with the local garden centers that sell trees. Bastards.

Anyways, what kind of cross bike did you get? Is there some good cross racing in your area? We're doing the Island Cross series (called Cross on the Rock) this year. First race is "turkey cross" in Victoria on Oct 8th - how about you? :)

9/03/2007 6:05 PM  

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