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Wining and Riding the W&OD

May 30, 2012

This past Sunday, I headed out with Justin of @JDAntos and his wife K to Virginia wine country.  What better way to spend a scorching, humid day than driving away from the city in a climate controlled car to a climate controlled tasting room?  Well, you could always bike most of the way like we decided to do.

We planned to meet up at the Marriott just on the other side of the Key Bridge in Virginia.  Not wanting to make them wait, I gave myself plenty of time (1.5 hours) to get down there.  On this early Sunday morning it took me about 20 minutes.  Oops.  I grabbed a coffee and watched as the other type of bike riders (the one’s that go Vroom  Rrrmm) headed out to the Rolling Thunder festivities.  After noticing my bike, some folks commented to me that it was smart to get my riding in early before it got too hot (I didn’t tell them I would be out until  7 in the evening).   Justin pulled up, tetris skills were employed, and somehow we where able to wiggle all three bikes onto his car rack.  We were off.

We parked near the trailhead of the W&OD in Reston.  The 45-mile long trail was once an old rail bed.  As a result the majority of it is flat and straight.  For my inaugural ride on the W&OD, I was pleasantly surprised.  Despite a fair amount of users of all skills and modes, the trail was wide enough to pass and be passed safely (think Rock Creek Park trail and then the opposite).  All along the trail, it was evident certain business, restaurants, and cafes were catering primarily to trail users.  It was great.

Our first detour was to Ball’s Bluff Civil War Battlefield.  We arrived just as a tour was beginning and decided to stick around.  30 minutes later, the knowledgeable but long-winded guide had barely touched on the battle of Ball’s Bluff (did you know during that time US Senators were picked by state legislators?).  Although we planned this trip to be leisurely and full of stops, we knew we had to stick to some sort of schedule.  After walking the grounds, we headed to Leesburg for lunch.  Sandwiches at Georgetown Cafe.  Said hi to some cycling tourists coming east on the C&O Canal.  Next stop vineyards.

General Antos surveys his artillery

We arrived at Sunset Hills Vineyard sweaty and smelly (I’m really sorry ladies in your sundresses.) My two confessions: 1.  I have never been to a  wine tasting before at a vineyard.  2.  I am horrible with pronunciations always letting my wife do the ordering as to avoid humiliation.  Here’s how I got through the first one – followed the leader.  They swirl, I swirl.  They sniff, I sniff.  They gulp, I gulp.  I’m a pro.  As for the second obstacle – chew and point.  First, stuff your face with the bar crackers then when they ask you which one you like, as not to be by rude talking with a mouth full of food, just point.  I’m classy.

By now even the sun couldn’t take the heat and decided to begin its westerly retreat.  Pedaling we passed over beautiful rolling hills and farmland.  Oh and a few  McMansion developments with 6 car garages (one poor soul only had 3 hummers) and treeless 4-acre lawns.  We stopped at one more vineyard just off the trail.  The W&OD takes you right through a few different clusters of vineyards .  You can make a real adventure by exploring them all.  I hope to be back for more later this summer (by bike of course!).  After 62 miles and back at the car, we grabbed some jumbo smoothies.  At this point, “the complexities of the grape, delicate yet pronounced notes,” etc. were no match for the ice-cold sugary goodness in my hands.

I want to thank K and Justin again for their initiative, kindness to let me ride along, and willingness to keep the pace below 22 miles per hour (mostly).

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 30, 2012 7:27 pm

    I did similar mileage closer to town and I am still paying for it. I didn’t drink nearly enough wine. Next time I’m bringing a bottle of Pinot for my pannier.

  2. June 1, 2012 1:06 am

    A great adventure, and a pleasure riding with you!

  3. June 1, 2012 1:12 am

    Also, here’s our route, as recorded (somewhat shakily) by my phone: http://j.mp/LtYuw3

  4. Nancy L. Seibel permalink
    June 3, 2012 9:40 am

    (think Rock Creek Park trail and then the opposite). — LOL, got it! Have never been on the WOD myself. Nice write up and photos.

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  1. When the miles matter « Bicycle Bug's Blog

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