My good friends in DC mentioned that there would be a big group of people cycling down to Richmond for the world championships. This was in August and I had to get to Montreal and (more importantly) a wedding before I could think about joining them for the ride. After the wedding and a few days in NYC, I started heading for DC and got there with a day to spare. (Yeah for laundry and waiting at AT&T on my day off!)
8 of us were up and ready to ride at 7:30 sharp! Karen played SAG and hauled my bags in the car. Good thing or I would have stood absolutely no chance of keeping up with the other seven. I’d never ridden in a paceline before and was nervous to ride so closely to others. I had to or it would have been a long couple days. We broke the trip into two 70 mile days. I spent most of the time at the back of the group. When we were rolling into Richmond I asked how fast we were going and Eric told me 21mph. I usually go about 10mph. It was a fun change of pace.
We all stopped at a brewery to have a celebration beer before we parted ways to go to the different places we were staying. A nice couple,who were also enjoying a post bike ride beer at the brewery, escorted me from the brewery to my first house.
I had three hosts lined up for the week because I didn’t want to wear out my welcome anywhere. I stayed with a couple of girls who cycled from Nevada to Virginia. We had so many stories to share that we could’ve stayed up all night.
One of my hosts had the day off and walked with me to watch the jr men’s circuit race. I felt like a kid at the candy store! If you ever get the chance, go watch a bicycle race. It’s amazing to see them riding so fast and so close together. (And I was freaking out about going 20 in a paceline.)
The next few days I watched the races from different places around the city. There were a few cobblestone streets that also happened to be really steep. They were the crowd favorite and the most exciting place to watch.
My 2nd hosts of the week were big into bike touring back in the day. They told me about the touring cyclist directory that was published once a year and mailed out to bike tourists like myself. I’m spoiled with the smart phone app that updates regularly and has built in gps. And they had to ride uphill both ways!
I’m hooked on bicycle racing now and can’t wait till the next time I get to see the pros in action again. Maybe I’ll get over to Europe and catch one of the grand tours one of these days. Yeah, maybe I will…