Monday, October 28, 2013

Coffeeneuring #4 - Back to the Commonwealth!

#4 you say... what happened to #'s 3 and 4?!?

Let's just say I have a bunch of posts to catch up on this week.  Last night concluded an epic 8 day cross country ramble that was pretty ridiculous even for my unusual standards.  Of bicycling interest, I rode a single speed for the first time, used bike share in Chicago, met Rob (owner of Ocean Air Cycles), rode the ever so sweet Ocean Air Cycles 'Rambler', and observed the effects of 3,000+ road miles on a Univega Supra Sport mounted on the back of a Honda Civic.  More on all that later, on to the Coffeeneuring!

For my welcome home ride I chose a very conservative 2 mile trip to my local Swing's in Del Ray, and honestly after sampling coffee in many of the 16 states I visited in the last 8 days there is not a better cup to be found.  After a quick once over including tire inflation my Riv Atlantis seemed happy to have me back!  I hope to get another ride in this afternoon as I enjoy a last day off from work.

Pour Over technique.... I saw this in Ventura, CA and in New Orleans, LA this past week.  Spitfire Cafe in NO made a spectacular cup, and Element Coffee in CA will be the subject of Coffeeneuring #3!
Home again - home again - jigitty - jig !!!

1. Del Ray (Alexandria), VA
2. 10/28, a day of personal leave from work
3. Swings Coffee, Pour Over, Sumatra something.... dark and nutty, very smooth
4. Welcome back ride around the neighborhood - cool decorations abound for Haloween
5. 2 miles

Monday, October 14, 2013

Lake Waccamaw #Coffeeneuring

Atlantis on the Lake...
A full week into the challenge I'm posting my first 'qualifying' #coffeeneuring outing... and of course it was a comedy of errors!  My Mom just retired from teaching at the end of the last school year and she is moving from Northern VA to a great NC lake house.  My wife, sister, brother-in-law and neice and I were down to help with some moving in and enjoy the 3 day weekend.

I brought bikes for myself and Erika but between all the moving in, hauling out and other planned events we didn't get much time for riding. (there was also some lazy sleeping in).  On Sunday I did manage a quick one hour ride around the lake and back but as it was late afternoon I didn't attempt any coffee brewing.  So Monday morning allowed for my first 'Coffee Shop without Walls' coffeeneuring attempt.

First to discuss the coffee, and the apparatus...  I've been fascinated by 'pour over' coffee ever since visiting the Swings Coffee Bar in Del Ray during one of my first sequestration related furlough days over the summer.  I'm generally in somewhat of a rush with getting my coffee but I was impressed at the amount of attention the barista's put into a single cup of coffee. Fast forward several months and I just received my very own Hario Drip Coffee Kettle, a collapsable drip coffee cone, filters, and a really cool esbit alcohol stove with wind guard.  I brewed my first non-bike related cups using the kettle and drip cone in the house on Sunday morning and packed my trunk bag up with everything (or not) that night.  The coffee itself is a fairly pedestrian pre-ground duncan donuts brand... nothing special though pretty darn good in my opinion.

Second the bike... the Atlantis, fresh of it's off road adventures from the previous weekend and with a re-tuned bottom bracket made the trip. For anyone who needs to know, a 64cm Atlantis without the front wheel mounted will fit upside down inside a 2010 Rav4 with the seats down.  I put the bars and seat down and braced it up against the side of the car.  Worked pretty well.

Third (but not finally) the ride... I did about 10-12 miles the day before and my mind was set on the coffee so I picked a public pier right on the lake that was 2.1 miles from my Mom's new place.  The ride was nice, just a touch of misting rain but not bad at all.  I even rode the bike directly out onto the dock which was cool and I'm sure not a behavior which is encouraged.  It was about the time I had assembled my alcohol stove that I realized a fatal flaw... no manner to produce a flame.  No lighter, no matches, no flint and steel...

Fourth, and finally... the humbling 2.1 miles back home where I gathered matches, realized I had also set out without a coffee mug, grabbed one of those and then proceeded out to the dock at my Mom's place and made my first cup of #coffeeneuring coffee in my shop without walls.   Great morning that I ended up sharing with my Mom!

To make sure I didn't miss anything;

1. Lake Waccamaw, NC
2. 10/12-10/14, #coffeeneuring on 10/14
3. Dunkin Donuts ground coffee, pour-over style, alcohol stove
4. Forgetful morning ride on the Atlantis, and I rode on a dock... :)
5. 4.2 miles

Packed up... minus the matches and a mug... :( fail

First time the esbit was set up... nothing to light it

Matches and coffee mug included

Discovered that the little rest for the solid fuel tab must be removed to allow enough room for the alcohol stove to breathe... 10 min later I had a healthy boil going


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Shutdown Solo Century

Government shutdown, gorgeous weather, a bike that was ready to ride, and I was open to a 'longer' ride....  that equals my first ever Century distance ride.  Significant not only due to the milestone of 100miles, but also becuase, as recorded on this blog, my previous distance best was less than 55miles.  As soon as the Government shutdown seeemed likely to hold up on Tues night I took about an hour to tweak some things on my Trek (the Atlantis is down with a BB issue).  New rear innertube, shifting cables tweaked, VO Front Wheel Stabilizer installed, and bar tape installed on the tops of my Noodle bars... she was looking good, poised and ready.

Wednesday morning came and to be honest I was not very motivated, I dallyed around the house, walking the dog and on the verge of throwing in the towel and focusing on house projects... then I got a note from my friend Wes wishing me a good ride and that was the last straw.  I set out without the commitment to do a Century, in fact my bar for success was to exceed my 50 mile previous best... but even as I rolled out of Alexandria I was arleady thinking that if my legs and mechanics were in good shape when I got out towards Herndon that I would reserve the right to go further...

I'm so happy to have successfully completed the ride yesterday, among the highlights was running into Mary of Chasing Mailboxes and #FridayCoffeeClub fame...  really awesome person who I got to share a couple miles with in and around Herndon on the way home.  I was in the neighbourhood of 70-75miles into my day and will say without an ounce of shame that I was not able to keep up with her despite the fact she was riding her gorgeous singlespeed, a Rivendell Moonbeam.  My day was about endurance and finishing, not time.

Another happy coincidence was stopping in at Best Buns in Shirlington on my way out and running into the Bike Arlington forums Wednesday Coffee Club... Cynthia, Dana, Mark? and others... awesome to have met you on the way and I'll have to check out that forum soon!

So many thoughts about the ride, spending 11 hours in an outing, with at least 9.5 of those directly in the saddle gave me plenty of time.  I really struggled badly with cramps in my hamstrings starting around mile 35.  After stopping mulitple times to stretch out and walk it out I ended up cycling through the cramps most of the way back, the pain was pretty intense at times but I gained confidence with each bout that I could muddle through.  Definitely need to work harder on staying hydrated.  I"m going to cut off the words here and go to the images, maybe a follow up post with lessons learned and gear notes will come to me later.

Pointed towards adventure...

The front basket with that elastic hook net is one of my all time favorite additions for any bike.  How do you like the tops only bartape?  That is the old tape off the Albatross cockpit on top of innertubes of course.

Wednesday Coffee Club at Best Buns

Golf course rest stop near Reston

A fantastic coffee shop bike shop in Herndon, I recomend the Espresso

A bike on the ground cannot fall...

Luck Quarry doesn't seem affected by Gov't shutdowns

At the Turn...  reaching Purceville was the biggest hurdel in my own head.  I was dissappointed to find Trail's End Bike Shop closed.

Carolina Bro's BBQ.... I ate a LOT of bbq on my way back... 

Can't say enough about how well the Trek did yesterday...

Victory Lap... home-Purcevill-home = 96 miles, so I added the Custis Trail/Mount Vernon Trail loop to tack on the extra 4 miles.  Just in time for sunset over the Monuments.

Centurion (note the dyno lights still hot! :))

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


I'm going to make a big effort to include at least one Waffle House in the challenge this year!
A hilariously funny coinciding of bicycles, coffee and long distance endurance event rules equals the Coffeeneuring Challenge put out by the local to me chasingmailboxes blog and I am pretty darn excited to particpate this year!

I'll be using the blog to record my minimum of 7 Coffee Shop visits, based on my travel schedule between now and Nov I may get the opportunity to do some random out-of-town options too.  Stay tuned!