Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day Ramble-Ride

Last year gave us alot to live up to with a nice size group and an epic distance in great weather so I had alot of anticipation for today's ride.  It turned out a bit different than I had expected but spectacular nonetheless.  Wes, Matt and I opted for a shorter, and well known (at least to me) route to still get in some mixed terrain, open up several food/beverage opportunities and still ensure Wes and Matt were back home by early afternoon.

The route followed the very familiar Four Mile Run - W&OD backbone out of Alexandria, through Arlington, Falls Church and then at Vienna we went hard left and made for the Accotink Trailhead at Nutley and Rt50.  On the way out in Falls Church we took advantage of Lazy Sunday's Deli for some breakfast and hot, dark coffee which hit the spot after the first ~10miles of 'warm up'.

That stretch on the open road is a tough one, especially crossing I-66 on Nutley past on/offramps for the interstate.  I don't know of a better way to do it but we made it work.

The Accotink trail is one of my favorites, it's relatively close and maintains a remote feel.  The tons of new leaves on the ground made for a different look and to be honest made seeing the bumps/holes and soft spots harder to see.  But it was still good. We had time to do the round Lake Accotink trail as well but were stymied by construction on the east side and opted to turn back to Vienna.  On the way back through Wakefield Wes and I took the opportunity to under-bike a bit and run the slalom course of single track... thrilling as always!  I'm super impressed with the 700x32 Compass extra lights in particular which took a pounding and felt super secure.

Once we made it back up the Nutley/Maple Rd traffic gauntlet (uphill) we were smooth sailing for the rest of the day. Our Veterans Day festivities got kicked off in style at Vienna in with cold mugs of beer and hot Chili Cheese dogs and then capped off the day at Samuel Beckett's in Shirlington with a pint of Guinness.

By the numbers that's 49.4 miles, ~6 hours, 2 cups of black coffee, eggs, bacon, croissant, 6 mugs of cold beer, 4 chili cheese dogs, 1 carrot cake slice (generous) and 3 pints of Guinness.  Wes noted that today was the most miles/hours he's spent on the bike to return with such full water bottles ever... we were well fueled and oiled up for this ride.  Comfy way to spend the day on a bike! :)

Happy Veteran's Day to all who have served!

3 horses ready to go... 

Glad we weren't around to see this sign go down... not sure where it was originally but someone hit it pretty square.

The W&OD in particular was popular today, gorgeous day but windy in the morning particularly.

Accotink Trail near Rt50... this trail cuts right through a strip of woods/flood plain along Accotink Creek.  Well worth your time if you are in the area.

Wes and Matt on the Accotink

Nice shadows, the woods shielded us from the wind pretty effectively.

Breaking out onto the powerlines at Wakefield.

Closed?!? Not to us!  (about 1 mile in we caught up to the still in process part of the construction and turned around)

Matt plowing right through a small stream crossing, he was underbiking like a champ for the Accotink/Wakefield portion.

Good size Whitetail Buck was parallel to the trail on the way back towards Vienna.

YUM... first round of beers at the historic Vienna Inn

Delicious Chili Cheese dogs HIT THE SPOT!

Some Bob Jackson detail shots... Now sporting non-aero classic Mafac half-hooded brake levers and new cotton tape from VO.  I also replaced the front brake with a more appropriately sized Weinmann centerpull which decreased but didn't eliminate the squealing.

I can't say enough about these 700x32 Compass EL tires, they feel like hot grease on paved surfaces and make gravel, hardpack and even some light singletrack work as well.

'new' Weinmann front brake got the job done

I'm sold on the non-aero levers, Probably because I like the look of the loopy cable housings for some reason.  I suffered NO hand pain or numbness for the full day in the saddle which is remarkable and unusual for me.  Especially considering I couldn't find my gloves for this ride.

Uno Mas at Becketts in Shirlington.... a well deserved victory beer before we wrapped up the day.


  1. Another winner! I hope my annual Ramble tomorrow goes as well. I'm hoping to have a few friends join me up here in the country for some rural gravel, and the weather looks good.

  2. I hope your out enjoying a fabulous ride today!

  3. Nice pictures! Working on the video to complement them.

  4. Nice pictures! Working on the video to complement them.