Posted by: jdantos | January 17, 2012

To Vienna – to Warm Up?

Pausing the winter ride at Yards Park (click for larger)

Sunday was a glorious but cold day for a bike ride, so I headed west towards the W&OD.  After a jaunt through Southwest, a neighborhood through which I rarely seem to follow the same path –  I headed across the river and down to the airport.  But not before I stopped to take a picture of Clyde in the bright sunshine at my new favorite, Yards Park.

The winds seemed to be moving all over the place, but once I got on 4 Mile Run they seemed to be consistently coming from the northwest… meaning I was headed straight into it.  Ugh. It’s amazing how a slightly-more-than-mild-ish wind can take a very prominent place in a cyclist’s psyche, causing him or her to obsess more than usual amount about route choice.  Especially when it’s 34 degrees out.

I struck out with leggings under jeans (yes jeans), liner plus wool socks, poly-pro + fleece layers plus a flourescent windbreaker, one pair of toasty down mittens, and one pair of gore-tex breathable gloves.

To Vienna, and back (click for larger)

The W&OD was blissfully nearly empty at 1pm on a Sunday, but man it felt like it was uphill and against the wind all at once, all the time. I dropped to my mid-level crank, and happily chewed up mileage at a placid 12 MPH.  Through Falls Church, up and over the Beltway and its construction madness, and I was up to Vienna.

Reaching Vienna, while I was paused at a stoplight, a woman rode up from the right, with groceries. She looked like a local, so I asked and she recommended Caffe Amouri as a place to get a hot beverage.  Following her recommendation, I was hardly disappointed by their fanTAStic dark hot chocolate, which seemed to make my toes stop tingling. As @Gypsybug reminded me, I should have called this a proper #coffeeneuring, despite that the beverage wasn’t so much the objective as a thermic necessity.

Down mittens for a January ride

Down mittens for a January ride

Back out on the trail, I headed for home, knowing that darkness would come soon. At first after being inside, my fingers felt the sweaty Gore-Tex gloves and immediately remembered their Massachusetts frostbite, so I had to switch to the down mittens for a few miles.

What a difference a tailwind makes.  The miles back seemed easy, effortless even, compared to the earlier slog westward earlier.  My speed picked back up, and I felt exhilarated coasting down the gradual hills towards Arlington.

When you’re running downwind, sometimes there are these awesome moments when you are moving at the same speed as the wind, and even though you’re flying along everything seems to go quiet. No wind rushing your ear, no leaves rushing at you – it’s as if the whole world is moving with you.  And you barely have to pedal and you’re cruisin’ along.  It’s pretty cool!

I decided to try the Custis hills on the way back, thinking (hoping?) that the Custis is easier east than west.  Careening down through Rosslyn, the MVT, and the 14th St. Bridge, I decided to take a loop around Hains Point for fun.

Okay, this is a terribly grainy photo, but it's a fox on Hains Point, I promise. There were two, right near Hole 2.

That’s when I saw the foxes. I had seen the Hains Point foxes many times before, but usually only for a second as my front blinkies caused them to scamper into the underbrush.  This time I saw 2 of them in the evening light, camped out on the golf course in plain sight.

I also had to stop for a shot of Clyde (with the @sharrowsDC button peaking out there somewhere I think!). This photo is definitely inspired by the much, much-more beautiful photography of @morebikes and her site. Really, you should check it out, it’s great stuff.

Pausing on Hains Point

Pausing on Hains Point, in January sunset

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Responses

  1. Great post about winter riding and about the fun of the unexpected; finding a great coffee shop and the fox photo op. I hear you about the wind. It makes me obsess about what to wear, especially for a longer ride.


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