Wow! What a weekend. I road tripped, I (got lost on) rode my bike, attacked some intense mountain (hills) climbs, ate some good food, hung out with some great people, and best of all, my best friend ran her first marathon! So much happened in such a short time, quite frankly, I’m astonished – and exhausted.
It all started Friday afternoon, I loaded up my car with all my gear, and my bike and headed north, to the Potomac Falls area on Northern Virginia, just west of D.C.
I decided to load my bike in the old fashioned way, in through the trunk, as there was going to be some severe weather on the way up. With everything loaded up, and a full tank of gas, I was off! Headed North to the mountains, and off to find New Adventure.
Pulling into my Airbnb later that evening, I could. Not. Wait to get unpacked and settled. I wanted to get everything out away before the reason I was here arrived. Ricky and Laura. These two hardbodies would be running the North Face Endurance Challenge that very next morning, and I was here for support. Laura was going to be pumping out a full 26.2 miles for the first time ever, and Ricky was going to reblaze the trail of 32 miles.
Later that night, deep in conversation with one of the homeowners, the door opened and in walked the dynamic duo, looking a little less awake than I felt. I bid goodnight to our lovely hostess and headed downstairs to catch up with my friends. Within half an hour we were all in our tiny little beds, cracking jokes and making the silly noises you would expect from a children’s slumber party – but that’s all we are yeah? Big kids.
Sleep soon took me and I was out for the count.
My eyes popped open and I was up. No grogginess for me today! There was work to be done. Ricky was already moving about the room, getting his gear situated and preparing for the long grueling course that awaited him. I hopped out of bed and joined him, gathering the things I would need for today’s adventure.
Not too long after, Laura’s alarm went off as well, and less than enthusiastically, she got up as well. There was all sorts of jokes flying around, and everyone was in good spirits. Ricky departed us early, as his race started a full 2 hours prior to Laura’s. With all my cycling gear situated, I headed upstairs with Laura to get some food in me before we headed out to the parking lot that would serve as a “home base” for us. We’d be meeting Laura’s family there, and they would remain with us for the majority of the day. While Laura finished getting ready for her race, I headed outside and started doing my pre-ride routine, so as to save time when I got there. Satisfied, I started the car and as if on cue, out came Laura. Excitedly ( I was at least) we headed to the meet up area. The trip took no time at all, and before we knew it, we were parked and waiting on Laura’s family. The arrived not long after us, and I got to do one of my favorite things while everyone exchanged formalities. People watch.
I LOVE watching how people interact, how they move, the way they carry themselves… In a way it tells a story. Getting to see my best friends family and how she interacted with them was such good fun for me! Laura’s brother, Eric, was also blazing the 26.2 trail for the first time, and within minutes, it was time for them to hop on the shuttle that would take them to the race start. I wouldn’t be riding with them, I had other plans.
Today’s plan was simple. Ride from the Event parking to the Race start. See my best friend and her brother off on their race, and then ride southeast to Great Falls National Park, the halfway point. From there I would shoot east, into Washington, D.C. and then quickly go back to great falls to see my friends hit the halfway point. Once I’d done that, I would ride back to Algonkian Park to see Ricky finish his run, then I would go back to the Airbnb to change and then back to the park to see Laura and Eric finish.
Little bit of back and fourth, but when you’re on a bike it doesn’t matter. Because bike. The winds were already becoming nasty, heavy gusts that would send pieces of the event carreeing away were slowly becoming more commonplace. As the race announcer began to droll on about the event, I zoned out, thinking about the ride I was going to do. It was windy, and mountainous. Today would be a challenge for me as well.
Something the announcer was saying made me perk up, “The president and the Japanese Prime Minister may be golfing today near the course. Please do not attempt to take a picture, or reach into your bag should you encounter the pair.” Well that’s exciting I guess! With all the announcements complete, the gun went off and the mass of determination, good nature and excited bouncing surged forward – the runners were off! Bidding see you soon to Laura’s family, I clipped into Kestrel, fired up the GPS on my Wahoo, and so was I.
Settling into my saddle, I breathed a sigh of relief, and contentment. I was home. I am a runner as well, sure, I’ve run marathons, I’ve run further, but no part of those ever compares to the down to earth, in the moment, happy feeling I get from being on my bike. Not only that, but I had a goal to meet.
Upon leaving the park, I noticed fairly quickly how gusty and squirly the wind was behaving, and I filed the thought away for later. I was in my element, and whether I had a headwind, crosswind, or a tailwind, I felt as I imagine an eagle does when he soares high above the world. I was home.
This is a Story and a half, so Part II is coming tomorrow!
For now, be well!
“Earn Your Tailwind”