The Challenge

Once again, it’s been some time since I’ve provided an update. So, for the benefit of the few folks following me, and the trolls and bots who visit only to flit away, a bit of an update. Biking is an uneven habit, but one that seems to be sticking. Since my last post I’ve taken a variety of “trips” on the indoor stationary bike, and with the return of Spring began exploring the immediate neighborhood. I live in a development on a lake, and the roads circle much of it — a round trip currently works out to be about 11 miles. As they build out the remainder of the neighborhood, the distance increases — and, with some substantial hills, it turns into a good workout. But consistency remains a challenge, so I began signing up for virtual challenges as a means of improving my efforts. Committing to something, even if only to myself, helps keep me honest.

My first was a virtual ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I completed that in bits mostly, fitting in rides, indoor and out, as I could. Other than a few long rides — 10 to 20 miles — it was mostly short rides until I completed the entire 105 mile distance. I’m hoping perhaps I’ll have a chance to ride a section of the road in real life. My current challenge is to complete the Washington and Old Dominion trail, from Arlington to Purcellville. As the name might suggest, it’s a former railroad that was converted to a trail and is frequently used by walkers, runners, bikers, and the occasional equestrian (it is horse country, parts of it anyway, after all).

The goal is to complete the entire trail, round trip, in a single day — that’s a total of 90 miles. So far, in my training rides, I’m up to 36.5 miles in my last effort. So, a ways to go. Although I don’t mind. While the initial sections of the trail make their way through dense urban areas, about the time you reach Vienna and Reston, you begin to work through more rural and even pastoral areas. It’s quite lovely — the photo accompanying this post is from a bridge over Goose Creek, which empties near where this was taken into the Potomac.

I really enjoy the trail — when I was running it was where I spent a lot of time training. It’s long, with some relatively steep grades, and often quite lovely. It’s like riding through a tunnel of trees, only to break out into open spaces.

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