Saturday, March 29, 2014

My 2014 Spring Break

I am back in West Bend after a solo road trip that took me to 10 different states plus the District of Columbia. I drove 2,398 miles and I had a very good time overall, but I didn’t do as much cycling as I would have liked: just 4 rides for a total of 102 miles. I’m still feeling heavy, slow and unprepared for the season ahead.

My itinerary took me to Charleston IL last Friday. I was able to spend a few minutes talking to a friend I had not seen since I moved away from there during my sophomore year in high school. I rode the Lincoln Prairie Grass Trail to neighboring Mattoon and back, then paid a short visit to Charleston’s bike shop. Neither the trail nor Bike & Hike existed when I lived there. In the evening I drove to southeastern Indiana and spent the night in the back of the van at a highway rest area near Cincinnati. I slept reasonably well … certainly better than I would have in a tent. I think the van is going to be a more comfortable option on WORS weekends.

Lexington KY was my next stop and while I was happy to explore the Legacy Trail and a number of city streets, I was disappointed. The trail was great but I wasn’t crazy about the city. Southern cities all seem to sprawl for no good reason. Having satisfied my curiosity about Lexington, I drove on. By the time I reached Cumberland MD, I was ready for dinner, a shower, and a proper bed. It was going to be a cold night, so I checked into a hotel.

On Day 3 I ate breakfast at the hotel and watched part of Milano-Sanremo, but that’s such a long race (294 kilometers!) and I couldn’t wait around for it to finish. I had to be in Arlington VA for a 1 p.m. ride with another friend from my high school days. He has lived there for many years and knows the Washington DC area as a bicycle commuter. Our riding styles were not exactly in perfect harmony, but we enjoyed a 2-hour tour that included several prominent buildings and monuments. After the ride I drove to my mother’s house in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were cold, windy and occasionally wet. I wasn’t especially interested in riding, so I passed the time by completing some home projects for Mom and by reconnecting with several members of my extended family. Last year, an 8.5-mile paved bike trail opened near Mom’s house and on Thursday I included it in the final ride of my vacation. I would have liked to ride elsewhere in Pennsylvania, but more rain moved in and yesterday I decided to return to Wisconsin ahead of schedule.

So, things could have gone better but I knew that the weather might not cooperate. With just four more weeks to prepare for Cheesehead Roubaix and just five more weeks to prepare for the WORS season opener, let’s hope for more consistently nice weather here in Wisconsin.

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