Brian (known in the Twitterverse as @sharrowsdc), DC area bike commuter, blogger and Friday Coffee Club (FCC) attendee, wanted a breakfast burrito. He had it in his head that her could find a tasty one in the DC suburbs. So her rode his bike into the wilds of Northern Virginia with mixed results.
Lisa (@ramblingrider), another blogging bike commuter from the FCC, found Brian's escapade inspiring and proposed that it would be fun to do a ride into deepest Northern Virginia in pursuit of freshly made beer-like beverages. John (@dirteng), yet another bike/blog/coffee aficianado, sat down and mapped out a century (100-mile) bike ride to three northern Virginia breweries. The route would take us to Whites Ferry Maryland by way of the C&O Canal towpath, across the river on the cable ferry, south to Leesburg VA, back along the W&OD trail and, after meamdering through Falls Church and Alexandria, back to DC on the Mount Vernon Trail. Along the way he identified three breweries for liquid refreshment, Lost Rhino in Ashburn, Mad Fox in Falls Church, and Port City in Alexandria.
By Friday night we had a team of five riders lined up; John, Lisa, and I would be joined by Kevin (@bicyclebug), yet another bike/blog/FCC triple threat and Crystal (@crysb) who'd be a triple threat if not for the fact that her bike commute takes her far from the FCC's home base. Friday night we also had rain. The towpath is unpaved and notorious for becoming a quagmire in certain spots. We needed a new route. With help from yet another triple threat named Mary (@gyspybug) who knows the roads of Montgomery County, Maryland by virtue of her randoneuring adventures with her husband Ed (@dailyrandonneur), John mapped out a new route on the roads.
We agreed to meet at Baked and Wired, a Georgetown coffee shop at 8 on Saturday morning and head out by around 8:20. I decided to ride to the start.
|A really healthy breakfast is key.|
After a rather disgusting breakfast of Trix, blueberries and orange juice, I rolled away from home. The ride in was pretty darn nice. The MVT was empty but for a bunch of runners taking advantage of the comfortable morning temperatures. The river was placid and the skies were an interesting mix of clouds and the rays of the rising sun.
|Early morning on the Potomac|
At Baked and Wired, we were having coffee, tea, and a bite to eat when in come Mary and Ed, who swung by on their tandem at the start of their overnight bike ride to the upper Shenandoah Valley. It was a great surprise that lifted our spirits. We blew an hour chatting and hanging out.
|The starting five! Kevin, John,. Crystal, me and Lisa|
|Chris and Maya|
Off we rode on MacArthur Boulevard. One small hill near the reservoir, gave way to miles of flats. I was feeling oddly strong despite having logged 140 miles from riding to work during the week. As usual it didn't occur to me that we had a tailwind. Along the road we saw two deer, one close enough to almost touch from our saddles. We hit the first big hill near Great Falls Park. This one usually gives me trouble, but, thanks to Lisa reminding me to take a hit from my asthma inhaler before the ride, I had no trouble at all going up the windy, long hill. We continued on Falls Road to Potomac Village where we stopped to regroup and assess our pace. Everyone seemed none the worse for wear so we headed west on River Road.
|We show off our Sharrows pins bought from Brian in support of WABA|
|Crystal says goodbye|
|John tweets, Kevin reaches the top of the hill|
|John thinking of IPA|
|Lisa thinking of Porter|
The dirt road dropped us where the C&O passes Whites Ferry. We pulled in to a grassy spot and prepared to use the rest room. As we parked out bikes, Ed and Mary showed up coming down Whites Ferry Road from the north. Another great surprise. Mary bought a bunch of peaches which she shared with the fruit lovers among us. We chatted so long that we missed the first ferry, but 15 minutes later we were on the next one, chatting up a storm.
|Ed, Mary and the Lead Sled roll into Whites Ferry|
|Kevin riding away from Whites Ferry|
|Is that a hematoma in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?|
We took a break at a trail side quarry and, shortly thereafter, left the trail in Ashburn for Lost Rhino brewery. This off-trail riding took us into the soulless auto-oriented wasteland of Loudoun County. Endless empty fields awaiting development. Traffic signals that would not recognize the presence of our bikes. Porsches and pick up trucks, Lost Rhino, take me away!
|Lisa, John and Kevin on the W&OD|
|Lisa thinks this ride rocks, or is it the quarry?|
|Lost Rhino Pilsner, first beer of the day|
|I don't often drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Lost Rhino root beer.|
|Chris is man enough for some trailside lemonade.|
|Lisa at Mad Fox|
|Creepy tunnel under I395|
It was getting dark by this point. Since I ride through Old Town almost every day, I led the way to the MVT. At the base of King Street, I turned south for home and the rest of the crew turned north for DC. Adios, amigos.
|We arrive at Port City|
|The final five! John, Lisa, me, Kevin and Chris. Cheers!|
So ended the Hoppy 100. And to think it all started with a breakfast burrito.
For more hoppy fun, check out some more pictures on my Flickr page.