Sunday, April 13, 2008

First Bike Ride and First Row

After an abortive attempt to row on Friday when the weather was simply to die for, I finally made it out on Sunday for my first row of the season. I actually drove over to Sandy Run on Friday to try and row, but while it was nice and warm and the sun was out, by the time I got over to the park during my lunch hour, the wind had picked up making the water quite choppy. So much for the forecast for winds 5 to 10 miles an hour. Of course there was no wind in the morning (but I had to work) or the afternoon (a million high school shells out with Coaches in chase boats churning the water up like crazy. It's a nightmare to launch and recover too with all those kids). So Sunday came and while it was on the cool side when I woke up (49 degrees), I decided to bite the bullet and go. I even took my camera to take pictures to share, but alas I should have checked on the camera's battery status before I left home. It was deader than dead. I'll try to take some next time. In lieu of my pictures, here is one from the Virginia Tech Crew web site showing the view of the reservoir from the boathouses.

The row went well. I got some good run for my first time out. I think sculling in a single is a lot like learning to ride a bike. It takes time learning to balance and you'll probably flip a time or two into the water as your learn, but once you master it you never forget how to do it. I rowed seven miles up to Fountainhead Park and back. I can say that my conditioning needs a lot of work and my hands show the result of it being the first row of the season. My calluses from last year are long gone and my hands are pretty soft. My right hand came through pretty well, but I had two spots on my left hand that blistered and tore. They're a bit tender this morning. They should callous over in time. It definitely felt good to be back on the water and I'm already looking forward to my next time.

It's impossible to row from Sandy Run on Saturdays in the spring due to high scchool crew and thier regattas are held on Saturday. Saturday's forecast wasn't great (cloudy), but it looked like an opportunity to get in a bike ride. I semi-guilted Ann in coming along with me even though it meant lsitening to whining about how she wasn't in enough shape to do a 20 mile ride. Whatever girl. So we loaded up the bikes and headed out to the W&OD Trail. We chose our usual entry point at Rt 28 in Ashburn area.

It was pretty chilly starting out and I regretted not wearing a sweatshirt, but then the sun came out and warmed things up nicely. About 3.5 miles into our ride toward Leesburg, we reached Ashburn Road and Ann asked for a break. The stop features an old Country Store that serves freshly cooked BBQ. We've never tried it since we usually bike early in the morning way before lunch, but does it ever smell good.

The t-shirt Ann is wearing is a hand me down from Daughter#1 and her first year of crew - as a freshman in 1995. It's from the Cherry Blossom Regatta up on the Potomac. That's how old that shirt is. Now Ann has two nice biking jerseys, including a brand new one from her alma mater, but she didn't want to wear either one. Why? She didn't want people to think she was a hard core biker that was pathetically out of shape. Like she was a poser or something. She's weird sometimes.

At this stop you can also buy antiques and get your bike repaired. The bike shop (by the tent) is fairly new, but what a great location.

After 53 minutes of riding, we reached the Leesburg Community Center where we rested and used the bathroom before heading back. It also gives Ann some time to whine about how tired she is and how she'll never make it back to the car alive.

Our fearless rider back at the car at the end of our 20 mile ride. We made it back in 50 minutes. The times were pretty slow even for us, but it was our first time out and the times will come down.

We finished our ride around 11:30 and we had nothing back at home to eat for lunch so we were going to have to eat out. Fortunately, right off the W&OD Trail resides the Old Dominion Brewery and Brew Pub. They even have a sign right on the trail so they do cater to bikers. I convinced Ann that going there for lunch was a good idea even if we look a bit of a mess and both had helmet hair. So we motored over to the Brew Pub. For those not familiar with Virginia law, one can not strictly operate a bar and sell alcohol. In order to do so, one must sell food or in reality be a restaurant. I don't know the exact percentage, but a certain percentage of revenue must come from food sales. Old Dominion wanted to be able to sell their beers directly to the public along with sales in stores, hence the Brew Pub. It's located in a industrial park therefore the outside isn't very imposing, but the food is very good and the beers even better. It was a nice way to end up the ride.


ZooKeeper said...

Thank goodness for Spring! I've started walking, I am no where near in shape enough to do anything but walk and some yard work. Haha. Hoping that will all change, of course by then it will be winter and then I'll have months to get back out of shape!

Frank said...

Hey Zookeeper! Walking is excellent exercise. With your semi-new puppy you should be doing a lot of walking. Nice that your Mom tags along. Good company.