Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A First Row and a Fun Weekend

Finally a spring weekend worthy of mention. It was warm and sunny on Friday and Saturday and at least warm, if cloudy, on Sunday. A perfect weekend for my various hobbies.

On Friday I finally got to go on my first row of the season. Friday morning dawned sunny, but cold so I had to wait for it to warm up. I left for Sandy Run around 10:00. The park had more activity then I expected at that time for a Friday, but it turned out to be a high school rowing team from Erie, PA practicing for Saturday's regatta. I signed out my single and got the oars and pushed off the dock. I'm always a little leery my first row of the season expecting to immediately flip the single. It didn't happen, thank goodness, and off I went. Actually rowing a single is a lot like riding a bike. There is a steep learning curve, but once you learn it, you never really forget it. I tried to keep the beginning to a nice leisurely pace so as to have some energy left for the return row once I turned around. I rowed up to Fountainhead Park and turned for home there. I actually felt pretty good for a first row. The single was moving really well and I wasn't having to go all out to get it to run. During the row back, I picked up the pace trying out short sprint pieces. It went well and I was tired at the end, but a good tired. The high school kids even help me dock at the end, which was nice of them and given the fact the wind had picked up considerably.

Saturday was the nicest of the weekend days. Highs in the upper 70s and sunny. A perfect day for the first ride on the W&OD Trail. It was nice enough that even Ann was up for a ride. Like Friday though, we went later in the morning then we would normally do just to give it a chance to warm up a bit. We arrived at the trial entrance near Dulles around 9:30 and the parking lot was filled. We parked along the drive (not really a parking space per se) and unloaded our bikes. About this time, a few cars left and I moved the car into a regular parking space. We headed out and the Trail, as you might expect, was being used by a lot of people. i wouldn't say crowded, but there was a lot of people out, some walking, some jogging, some rollerblading and the rest of us biking. I rode at a pretty slow pace so Ann wouldn't fall too far behind. After 3 miles, she was ready to call it a day, but I convinced her she could do it (we were doing a 20 mile ride), and after a short break we continued on. On the way out to Leesburg, we both came close to wiping out other riders. As I turned to look back to see where Ann was, a rider was almost abreast of me without letting me know. As I was looking over my left shoulder, my bike drifted left and I almost took him out. Best to let other riders know when you are overtaking them. For Ann, we were stopped behind a father and son waiting to cross a street with some fast moving traffic on it. When clear, the son (about 10) was having trouble getting started and the father motioned us around them. From the opposite direction, an obviously experienced but stupid rider shot across the road without (a) stopping as required and (b) without looking to see what was going on across the street. I was halfway across the street when the guy whizzed by me, Ann was just starting to move around the father/son and the other biker almost ran her down. Fortunately, no one was hurt in either incident. What I thought was strange was that neither rider even acknowledged what had happened, but rode away without saying anything. We did finish the ride although at a much slower pace than normal. I'm not sure if I'll get Ann back out on the trail even though she finished the 20 mile ride. As we exited the trail to get back to our car, we were met by employees of Jet Blue who were handing out bottles of water. A nice gesture I thought.

Sunday was all about my rowing club. We had to be at the boathouse at noon to watch a safety video. Our club requires it and actually I did learn some things from watching it. Next up at 1:00 was our Learn to Row Day. We had a good turnout. About 40 people showed up to learn about the club and take a turn at rowing. Hopefully many will chose to come row with us starting in late May. Then at 3:30 we had our general membership meeting. That went fairly well and didn't last too long. I had to present our budget and recap how we did for 2008, but no one had any tough questions so all was well.

It was definitely a fun weekend with lots of fun things. We grilled out on Saturday and just generally enjoyed the weekend. Hope yours was as fun as ours.

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