Thursday, June 29, 2017

SteveO's Most Awesome Baseball Ride

Two weekends ago I did a walk/jog workout Saturday morning and then played a music gig Saturday night, including schlepping all my gear (upwards of 75 pounds worth). I was so achy and worn out by the end of the evening that I had trouble sleeping. On Sunday I was a mess.So, this weekend, knowing that my Saturday was going to be about the same as the one previous (workout then music gig), I cancelled my Sunday plans and decided in advance I would take it easy.

And then SteveO tempted me with his Nats bike ride. I've been eager to get out and do some club rides. This one sounded extra fun - baseball themed, ending up at Nationals Stadium for a game (using a block of tickets secured by SteveO, who is a season ticket holder). The ride wound up being more miles than I anticipated, but it was loads of fun!

We met up for pre-ride breakfast at Best Buns in Shirlington, where the group was joined by "wheels&Wings", who had just flown into National Airport and was biking home, as well as LeprosyStudyGroup (I'm using forum names here), who would be joining us for the ride but not the game. Wheels&Wings left us when we headed out after breakfast, and along the way we were joined by kwarkentian.

The ride wound up being about 20 miles through DC. SteveO had done an excellent job in planning out a route that took us to a number of spots with baseball-related significance. We visited the site of Griffith Stadium (the old Washington Senators stadium), as well as the original stadium which predated Griffith. We rode past the house where Walter Johnson (probably the most famous Senators player) lived at the time he got married, and past the spot where the ball was found when Mickey Mantle (go Yankees!) hit an amazingly long home run out of Griffith Park - one of several 500+ ft homers he hit in his career. Along the way I got a chance to see some of the revitalized neighborhoods around the U St. corridor. Those neighborhoods are a far cry from the hellholes they were when we moved here in the 80's , though they're not 100% gentrified - we did get yelled at by a smelly drunk (and probably homeless) guy for blocking the sidewalk at one of our stops.

The group at the bike valet
Finally, we headed for our destination, where I discovered that Nationals Stadium has awesome bike valet parking. Let me tell you, bike is the way to go to get to the park! Upon entering the stadium we headed straight for the Devil's Backbone beer stand. Having just ridden 24 miles, I probably shouldn't have had a beer, but I did. Along with lots of water for hydration!
What's baseball without beer in the hot sun?

Valerie and her friend Laura joined us at the game, bringing our total to 16 people. I set out in search of (at least somewhat) heart-healthy food. I finally found what I was looking for at the kosher stand wayyy on the other side of the stadium - falafel with lots of veggies.

Unfortunately, the game wasn't a great one for our team. The Reds pulled ahead by five in the first inning and then scored again in the second. After that it was a strong defensive game, but the Nats were never able to overcome the initial deficit.

Valerie, Laura and I headed out after the seventh inning. All the riding, sun and beer had taken its toll on me and I decided I'd take the Metro home. Unfortunately, the flow of people out of the stadium made me realize that there was no way I was going to make it onto the Green line with my bike. So, Valerie and Laura headed for the Metro stop and I rode a couple of miles to L'Enfant Plaza where, away from the baseball crowds, I was easily able to get on an Orange line train which took me home.

A super-fun ride and a happy return to group rides.

Strava is here: https://www.strava.com/activities/1053885054


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