It was still ridiculously cold outside, so I wore arm warmers and my jacket to start the day. And boy was I glad I did! Cruising down some of those hills, I lost all the warmth I'd gained charging up them. Since it was so early, the sun hadn't crept into some of the shadier, more residential areas we were riding through, so it was downright chilly!
Our first pitstop of the day was at a hardware store so we wouldn't be tempted to hang out for too long. It was pretty cool that they had a welcome sign for us, so I at least had to stop and get that pic!
Anyway, back to the real story. It was an on your own lunch stop, and considering I was WAY over chicken by this point, I headed for Chipotle and got myself a BEEF burrito bowl. It was delicious, and while some other riders thought I was crazy for having such a "heavy" lunch, it suited me just fine.
Soon enough, I was back on the road and heading into familiar territory. Remember when Meredith and I went on that long bike ride back in July? Well, I figured out where we got lost getting to Silver Spring and within a couple miles, I was on the familiar trail back into DC. The great part about this for me was 1) it was familiar and a designated bike trail, so I could go a little faster and 2) it meant I was about to ride triumphantly into DC, my favorite place!! I cruised the trail, mainly by myself, although I came upon a few Climate Riders and some other bike riders and runners, enjoying the peaceful scenery and knowing it was almost over. Don't get me wrong, I loved the ride, but it was nice that it s wrapping up.
We gathered in Georgetown - near where I'd had that nasty fall on the long ride with Mere - at the Thompson Boathouse. A lot of the riders were enjoying drinks at the nearby restaurant, but I wasn't in the mood for a beer. I was enjoying the views and the scenery and soon enough it was time to rally up for our Green Peloton to The Capitol. I wish I had a picture of the awesome surprise when all the support team members came riding in to our rally point on DC Bikeshare bikes. It was epic - not to mention Blake shedding his sweatshirt to let us see his Climate Ride jersey underneath and let us know he was riding with us too!
I made my way to the front of the pack, and we were blessed to have a police escort up from Rock Creek Park on Constitution, right onto the lawn of The Capitol! I was so excited, and tried to take a picture of our group arriving, but my stupid phone died just as I was about to snap the pic. Luckily I was able to borrow a friend's charger and snap these cool shots on the lawn.
|I really wasn't sure I was going to be able to do this for the iconic bike-overhead shot. But it did it!!|
|I promise I'm actually just being silly, not seriously about to fall over or drop my wonderful bike that got me all the way from NYC to DC!|
|Our fearless and awesome support staff!!|
|We made it - although I should have taken a shot like this with my own bike..|
After a great word from Andy Clarke of the League of American Bicyclists, and CCAN director Mike Tidwell, we had a bit of a wait until the superstar senator from Rhode Island - Senator Whitehouse - came out to speak to us. It was worth the wait, cause this man is a champion for our cause. If you're a RI citizen, I envy you and your awesome representation in the Senate.
After the speakers wrapped up, it was time to bring the ride to an official end. Picking up our stuff!! In sad of joining the pack and heading over to The Yards Park directly, I sped off to Alexandria to pick up my car. Otherwise, there was no way I was going to get me, my bike, and my giant bag home! Luckily it was an easy enough ride to Meredith's where my car was parked. Well, it should have been easy. I stopped in traffic, in front of this pedicab and had trouble unclipping, so of course I went down. The funniest part of it was the pedicab driver going, "oh, oh... Oooohhhh!" as I was falling. Luckily it wasn't bad and I was back up before traffic started moving again!
I made it to my car and as I got in I seriously thought, "wait, how do you drive a car?" I always feel a little off when I travel and don't drive for a while, but I seriously had to think about things car vs bike as I made my way back into the city for my stuff. My GPS did a horrible job getting me there, and unfortunately I missed a bunch of people leaving because of it. Including my new friend Sarah, who I was going to take to my favorite place for an awesome post-ride dinner. Well, sorry Sarah, but that wasn't going to stop me from my plans: the Barack Obama burger AND the Michelle Obama turkey burger from Good Eats, WITH a chocolate shake! I called in my order, swung by and picked it up, and made my way back to Sarah and John's for the night. I had to make my way up to their fourth floor apartment, which sucked, but once I got there, I devoured (most of) my dinner and took a hot shower!
The next day, we did some lobbying on The Hill, which was cool. But overall, this experience was about the ride, learning what I could do, pushing myself, and doing it all for a great cause! I really hope to be able to do it again next year. There is also a Climate Hike next year (already working on a wait list because of the extreme interest but need to keep the group small) and a few other ideas in the works for the near future. So, check out www.climateride.org for more info, and let me know if you plan on joining the fun next time!