This morning, I woke up shortly before 5 am, after going to bed sometime after 1 am. I got dressed, put my bike in my car, and drove down to DC. My original plan was to park at the Ronald Reagan Building, which is a block away from the Tour de Cure start, but the police had blocked it off. So, I found some street parking between the Ellipse and the Washington Monument.
The first thing I did when I got to the start area was find the Revolution Cycles tent. I asked one of the mechanics to take a look at my rear derailleur, as I was messing with it last night and made things worse. The guy was able to get it shifting pretty smoothly again.
The 50 mile ride start went off at 7 am. I had downgraded from the 50 mile ride to the 33 mile ride, given the fact that I haven’t been riding my bike much lately. At 7:15 am, our wave took off. Within the first half mile, someone’s tire blew out. And then at the turn from Maine Ave to Ohio Ave to go to Hains Point, one guy crashed (pretty gracefully, might I add) during a sharp left turn. The rest of the ride to the rest stop was pretty uneventful. It was awesome that all of the streets up to Glen Echo, MD were closed off by police. So much open road to ride!
The rest stop was around mile 17. I took the opportunity to use the bathroom and take off the UnderArmour mock I had on, as I was starting to feel more hot than cold. From the rest stop, I took off about another 2 miles north before hitting the turn around for the 33 mile riders. My pace up to this point had been a good 16+ mph, since we had a lot of closed roads for much the first half.
On the way back, however, my pace slowed down. We were not riding into the sun, making it hard for me to see any hazards (potholes/bumps) in the road. Also, there were no closed roads on the way back. And there were a few climbs through some residential neighborhoods. Ever since I popped my tube during one of the downhills on the Tri360 group ride, I’ve been weary of fast descents. As such, I felt like I was riding my brake a lot when we were going through the city.
After lots of turns and some climbing throughout Northwest DC, we made it back to Freedom Plaza. (Though, we did make a turn to early and came in from the wrong side. The route signs were hard to spot when we were downtown.) I valeted my bike, grabbed some free food, and relaxed.
Overall, I had a pretty good time. If I did do this again, I would definitely go for the 50 mile ride. I wasn’t feeling too bad after going for 34 miles and even went for a few more around the Capitol afterwards. And then I somehow got a puncture and raced back to my car before the tire completely leaked.