Sunday, July 5, 2009

July 4th Weekend Recap

Wow, was that only 3 days? I could have sworn it was longer! Seems like Friday was so long ago. So, let's start there for the recap.

The plan was for Rebecca and I to go on a casual ride somewhere scenic and minimal traffic issues. About a year or so ago, I bought Scott and Jim's Favorite Bike Rides, a book about some of the best local rides in the area, complete with descriptions, elevation charts, and cue sheets. Some of the routes are ones that anyone who has been riding in the area for long enough, but there are also plenty that I never would have thought of and also multiple route options of each. So for example, there may be a great 50 mile ride in an area where I really had fun, but I want to do a shorter option. In most cases, they have shorter (and longer options), so there is plenty to choose from. In this case, I had biked out in Poolesville a whole bunch last year, so I knew the area pretty well. I found a ride that offered a 25 and a 35 mile option, which would take us to Sugarloaf Mountain and back. We decided that we'd go by feel and decide which option to take at the decision point in the ride between when the two options split.

So Friday morning came about...we slept in! Hey, this ride was on Rebecca's terms, so I had to go by HER rules. Rule #1 - No alarms! Of course, I was up bright and early getting things ready. I loaded up the bikes, prepared the bottles, packed all the gear, and was ready to go. All by the time she opened her eyes! Who says you can't be too prepared? So with that, we eventually ate breakfast, and set on our way for the nice easy drive out to Poolesville, MD.

Within 1 mile, we encountered our first problem: Construction. Apparently, the route crossed a bridge that was being repaired, so we had to follow the detour. A few scenic miles later, we were back on the planned route. The next several miles zipped through a bunch of orchards. It seemed like peaches and blueberrys were the most common items in season, judging by what we saw from passing by on the road. We had planned to stop and get some after the ride, but ran out of time. Oh well, next time. As we ticked through the miles, you could tell we were getting closer to our destination. Sugarloaf Mountain, though not large by most standards, is Montgomery County's largest mountain. It stood out in the distance, until eventually it was right in front of us.

Rebecca standing with Sugarloaf Mountain in the distance

It was at this point that we made the decision to go with the 35 mile route. The weather was great, legs were feeling good, so we pressed on. The main difference between the two loops is that the 25 mile loop goes to the foot of the mountain and then goes back toward Poolesville, while the 35 miles route goes around the mountain. So off we went around Sugarloaf. Though we didn't climb the mountain, there were some short steep climbs, along with a lot of rollers. Very few flat spots. The only negative came several times throughout the 2nd half of the ride as some darker clouds began forming and dropped some rain on us. This happened about 3 times, with only one of them dropping true rain. The others were short segments with some mist/light rain. In each case though, the rain ended without causing any issues. Our little detour in the beginning took us a few extra miles, so when it was all said and done, we had clicked away 41 miles. Not bad!

Then Saturday, July 4th rolled around. The paced changed on Saturday form cycling to housework. Fun, I know. What is more American than working in the yard? In this case, we had to take care of some items we had put off for too long. We cleaned our house top to bottom, and even dusted (fun again, I know). But then came the real fun: trimming the hedges! No really, it was fun! There is something fulfilling about chopping things down. In this case, the front of our house needed some TLC bad. The hedges were overgrown, covering much of the staircase, and several trees branching out to the house. It all needed to be cut back. So I leave you with these before and after pictures.



Hopefully you can tell the difference...the 8 trash bags of leaves say it made a difference! Saturday night was obviously the 4th. With no specific plans for the first time in years, we stayed home and opted to watch the fireworks on tv. Instead, we were surprised (but first scared to death) with fireworks IN our neighborhood. With so many of those fireworks vendors all over the place, apparently people actually do buy them! So we started hearing all these loud noises and eventually, went outside to try and get a better view. We were able to watch quite a few quality ones go off. And then again, a few hours later, our neighbors decided on an encore, which scared the living bejesus out of me. But in the end, it was cool to be able to watch from home.

And last, but not least came Sunday. Let me just say that housework can be just as physically demanding as regular training. After all the squating, bending, stretching, and lifting, my hamstrings were sore! It felt like I had just done a speed workout at the track. Anyways, back to Sunday's activities. Among other things, we continued our quest of accomplishing as many housework projects as possible. While I won't list them all, I'm going to show the ones that look like they were worth the effort. Sunday early afternoon was spent on the back yard project: Landscaping. On Saturday, we bought some stones and some small garden border fencing, along with some mulch for the back yard. I spent a good few hours digging the holes for the stones and getting them the fit right, while Rebecca worked on the mulching in the corner, as well as along the side of house (not pictured). Below is the final result in the back yard, as viewed from the deck.

And last but certainly not least, my bike got a bath. It was long overdue. After many long rides over the past several months, including the Air Force Classic which began in rainy/sloppy conditions, my bike was crying for a cleaning. So I finally got around to it. Much better!

So that's it! What a weekend! Hope everyone had a happy 4th!

1 comment:

Audrey said...

Hey Lesser-your house looks great!


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