I stopped by the Crystal City Marriott and picked up my ride packet for Sunday’s Crystal Ride. Immediately, I could tell this was a tad more serious than the handful of events I’ve done previously. I found MANY courteous and well-organized volunteers helpfully pointing me toward the registration room, where I found even MORE courteous and well-organized volunteers prepared to quickly sign me in and give me a ride packet.
There were a few dozen riders picking up their packets along with me. Although the picture on the right doesn’t indicate it, most looked like serious cyclists, wearing cool cycling apparel like those floppy hats you see old-fashioned cyclists wear, or just simply looking fit. I was certainly one of the heaviest amongst them. And the oldest. This should be great!
In my ride packet I got my race numbers (front and back of jersey this time), my bib number on a sticker for my helmet, and an ankle bracelet that I need to wear in order to automatically record my times. I also got plenty of swag, including my race T-Shirt, a water bottle from Excelsior College (I have no idea what the connection is), a D-Clip and compass from Boeing Corp, samples of Larabar Fruit Bars, and a sample of Cascadian Farm Organic Cereal (available at many fine retailers in the Washington, DC, area!).
How serious am I taking this ride? I took the reflectors off my bike, but I did not shave my legs. That should give you a sense of where I’m at on the “cycling fanaticism spectrum.”
The ride is set up like a “criterium,” meaning I’ll do laps on the mean streets of Crystal City, Pentagon City, around the Pentagon and the USAF Memorial. Each lap is 12.5 kms – to be cool, a cycling event must measure all distances in kms. My coolness continues to be at very low levels, so I can report to you that this is 7.77 miles. If I can do eight laps (100 kms or 62.13 miles) in 3.5 hours, I earn a gold medal. That’s an average pace of 17.75 mph. I think I can do that, even with hairy legs.
It should be a lot of fun riding among the 15-story buildings of Crystal City and heading out to the Pentagon. This area is normally clogged with traffic, so I imagine it will be a bit surreal to have the roads closed for the event.