Monday, October 12, 2015

Mr. Pondero Comes to Washington

A modified Leesburg 'Loop' for me on my one day ride-along with Chris "Pondero" and company.
 My pictures and words won't do this day justice at all.  What a treat.  Chris aka Pondero had let me know month's ago that he planned to be in the area visiting his new grand child in the October time frame and told me he'd keep me in the loop as his bike riding plans developed.  A great many fortunate happenstances later I found myself meeting Chris in Bethesda last Tuesday morning bright and early for a coffee to kick off what was for me to be a full day of riding and for him was the start of a several day mini-tour up the C&O Canal Towpath.

Chris it was such pleasure to meet you, thanks again for making your vacation and family time accessible to so many local folks who know you from the Riv Google Group and your excellent blog!

Not pictured is the reason for the abrupt end of my trip in Vienna, rest assured it was planned!  My wife Erika wasn't able to join in for the full day of riding but given the splendid weather and my plans she hopped on her bike at Vienna after work and rode towards me on the W&OD trail.  It worked out so well, she ended up with about 30 miles herself and we ended the day with a double whammy hitting Caboose Brewery for beer and snacks then Vienna Inn for a delicious Chili Cheese Dog.  I couldn't really script up a finer day.

Check out the pictures and captions.

Mr. Pondero as we roll out from Bethesda.

I honestly didn't take enough bike detail shots, I was enjoying the conversation way to much for that.  But I did manage one buddy shot of my Saluki (right) with Chris's A. Homer Hilsen.  Chris's bike setup was a big influence on my own as you can see from many of the details.  It was super cool to get to ride with Chris and see his gorgeous bike.

The crew at Fletcher's Boat House on the C&O. Turned out to be a good meeting point.

Tom "Pudge"s one of a kind black, rolhoff'd, double TT Bombadil.  Sporting Thunder Burts of course.  Cool looking bike, another bike I've admired from the web and loved seeing in person.

Steve's Hilsen, in front of Jeff's Hilsen, next to Ken's Saluki...  felt like a Riv showroom at Fletchers!

Ms. Chasing Mailboxes and Mr. Pondero.... when bloggers meet! :)

The whole crew together at Fletchers.

Rolling out from Fletchers. Pretty healthy size group!

Jeff, Chris and Carey riding up the trail.

Getting closer to Great Falls.

Google Maps calls this spot 'Widewater', not sure if it has a proper name other than that but it is stunning.  One of my favorite spots in the DC area period.  The approach from the south on the C&O is excellent to, you come around the corner and boom there it is.

The crew coming up towards Great Falls.

Tom "Pudge" Allingham.  Tom sold me my blue Bombadil almost exactly a year ago so this was the second time we met and I was thrilled to get to ride with him.  Absolute gentleman and great riding companion.

I loved this shot even as I took it.  Pondero doing what Pondero does... well, when he's not lounging in a hammock or enjoying a coffee outside.  Chris recording the C&O Locks.

Great Falls was ANGRY... swollen with the significant rainfall created by recently passed Hurricane Joaquin.  Cool site for the out of towners to get to see so much water pounding through the rapids.

The Saluki at rest

Seems to be starting a pattern that Whites Ferry is about the end of the photo's on a Leesburg Loop day...  ~ 45 miles in for the day and my impulse for photography is overcome by other sensations.  :)  Awesome day, even better people.  I hope to do it again soon.

Coffeeneuring #1 - Hopscotch 24 Miler

Awesome start to the coffeeneuring season!

1. Hopscotch Coffee, Millwood Ave, Winchester VA.  I found this gem 3 weeks ago while staying in Winchester for a friends wedding.  Awesome repurposed semi-industrial building, pour over coffee with multiple single varietal beans, friendly barista, and did I mention the record shop with stereo to preview the tunes!?!

2. Sunday, 11 Oct, 2015

3. Ethiopian Pour Over, served in china mug

4. This ride was an addition to a regularly scheduled camping trip in the nearby and especially prompted by my friend Karen needing to get in 2.5 hours of final bike prep before next week's Beach 2 Battleship Half-Ironman.  We got a relatively early start after a chilly night camping at 0800, the northbound leg into Winchester was GORGEOUS with dew burning off the fields and hill's all around us.  Traffic was light on Cedar Creek Grade and the 'in-town' portion was manageable at least on a quiet Sunday morning.  The return trip on Middle Road had more traffic, and more sustained uphill's, in the future I think I'd just return on Cedar Creek Grade or try another route further west which I suspect would have even less traffic.  This was my first real 'road ride' ever and I found it thrilling.  I'm glad Karen prompted the ride and I'll definitely be doing it again sometime soon!

5. 23.9 miles

The Bike.  My 1970's era road bike, suspected to be a Bob Jackson, performed very well.  I had one chain slippage resulting in chain-suck on the way out of Winchester but it was quickly fixed.  I was very comfortable all around on the bike and didn't feel constrained by the 6 speed freewheel (5 speeds usable) or the triple crank (2 rings usable).  Definitely still need some polishing on this build but I felt fast and stable throughout the ride.  I want to try a front bag on this bike and I'm pretty confident I can loose the interrupter levers without missing them at least for this kind of riding.

More Pictures!
Definitely add Hopscotch to your list for Winchester based Coffeeneuring!

Storing the bike in an old horse barn seemed fitting

Ethiopian Pour Over in a neat custom pouring jig

Frosty morning.