Weekend Mosy

I’ve been getting lucky with the weather these days with the weekend weather being the best of the week.  Last weekend was good enough to get in a ride before another snowstorm which shut the city down on Monday.  Things slowly melted during the week until the best weather arrived on Saturday.  So I set off to check on some places I haven’t visited in a few months, just to make sure everything was as it should be.

At the Aden Country Store, I made a rare (for me) right turn onto Fleetwood Drive.  This lonely outpost of civilization has saved me more than once with a cool beverage and some shade.  It’s hard to believe its only five miles from suburbia.

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Fleetwood is a nice country road, full of farms and fancy estate “McMansions.”  Here’s a barn that caught my eye.

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While on Fleetwood, I took a moment to capture a picture of a white tree, standing out from its neighbors.

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Moving on, I noticed preparations continue apace for the new Brentsville K-8 school which is, confusingly, located near Nokesville.

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I wandered down Marsteller Drive to check on the old Iron Bridge east of town.  Last May I wrote about the history of this bridge and a project that was underway to move it so a larger, safer bridge could replace it.  I was interested to see if work had begun.  The answer – no.

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Onward I went toward the Manassas Airport.  I traveled along Broad Run (why the creeks are called “runs” around here, I do not know) and spotted a photo opportunity that won’t be available to me in a few months.  At this time of year, the brush along the creek banks hasn’t grown, so I was able to manage a short, muddy, walk in cycling shoes to take a picture.  I noted with approval the water is less muddy than a few weeks ago.  You can see we still have a bit of snow to take care of before Spring can officially begin.

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And that was that.  I finished off a pleasant 38-mile ride and am now looking forward to increasingly warmer weather and longer days.  Daylight Savings Time started on Sunday so I will hopefully be getting my mileage up to respectable levels.  On my Facebook page, I regale readers with a short bit of history for the year that corresponds to my mileage to date.  Sadly, we are still mired in the 3rd Century.  I hope to get to the Dark Ages very soon!

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Zipping Along

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Monday was a pleasant day with a high in the low 50s and a modest breeze.  It was also Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and I took advantage of the time off to squeeze in a zippy 26-mile ride near Brentsville.

I say “zippy” because I resolved to go fast.  Well, “faster” is probably a better word.  My average pace always takes a dip during the winter months and things aren’t helped when I take significant breaks to take photos.

A word about timing is in order here.  I know many people turn off their ride computers when they take a break.  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not how I roll.  Literally.  When I start my ride, the clock starts with it.  The clock doesn’t stop until I’m done, regardless of how many traffic lights, lunch breaks, or photo sessions may arise.  It may be weird, but at least its consistent.

So even though I know the cold will affect my speed and I know the frequent breaks will decrease it some more, I still don’t like that fact.  Every so often I decide to push things a bit and today was that day.  So there won’t be many pics here, but to be honest it’s not a terribly interesting route.

I did take a pic while crossing Cedar Run, near Brentsville.  In the water, you can make out the shadow of the photographer.

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About a mile later I came across Broad Run and took a similar pic.  I decided to play with the colors on this one to help bring out the greens and make it look less dreary.

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And since I was feeling artsy, I tried an unusual photo angle on the Broad Run bridge. I didn’t notice it at the time, but those three bags are Sunday editions of the Washington Post.  How they ended up together on this bridge is anyone’s guess.  The black tape is a similar mystery, though less unusual.

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The breeze I spoke of was at my back on the way home, which made for some quick times.  One of my Strava segments was at a pace of 20.8 mph!  I was then immediately deflated when I saw that was only good for 28th all time.  Still, anything over 20 mph for me means I’m either going very fast or hanging onto the bumper of a car.

Old Man Winter is scheduled to make a reappearance tomorrow, so it will probably be a few days before another ride is possible.  Until then, I’ll stare at my digitally altered picture of Broad Run and tell myself Spring is right around the corner.

Hope Hill Crossing

The squiggly lines near the beginning is Hope Hill Crossing

The squiggly lines near the beginning is Hope Hill Crossing

I like to have a goal for most of my bike rides.  Sometimes the goal focuses on the ride itself, such as a training regimen or a personal best.  Other times I like to see something I have never seen or check up on something I have been away from for awhile.  Such was the case today when I made for the new housing development of Hope Hill Crossing to see if there was a way to travel from the “old portion” (ie., built two years ago) and the “new portion” (ie., built in the past few months).  The new area is so new that the streets do not appear on any maps.  So it was that I set off with the same adventurous spirit (though decidedly less risk) as the explorers who searched for the Northwest Passage.

Hope Hill Crossing is only 1.5 miles from my house so the trip was rather short.  The entire area was a farmer’s field less than five years ago.  The farmer sold the land to a housing developer and the rest is history.  Many of the streets still have no home on them, but the builders are making steady progress.  In no time at all there will be several hundred homes full of people I will get to share the roads with.

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After several abortive attempts, I was able to confirm that the passageway does not yet exist.  I took the below picture at the point where the road gives out.  You can see the older part of the development across the field.  Presumably, the road will eventually extend to that portion.

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I also noted with interest several hundred Canadians blatantly violating the posted No Trespassing sign.  I took the following picture as evidence and will shortly be turning it over to the police.

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The problem with an adventure 1.5 miles from your house is that it doesn’t make for much of a bike ride.  I therefore completed a 28 mile circuit up to Bristow which I have done many times.  I paused to take a picture of Broad Run and watch the water as it flowed eastward to join Cedar Run and form the Occoquan River.

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There are several small bridges like this in the area and I have contemplated crossing them all on a single route.  It would be convoluted and lengthy, but it might be a good reason to get on the bike one day.