The Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) was my bike path when I lived in Reston, VA. It stretches 45 miles from Arlington to Purcellville in the west. I don't get on this trail much anymore now that I live closer to Maryland, but yesterday morning's overcast skies seemed like good conditions for a trek back to my old haunts.
Well, it got sunny fast and I'd forgotten how shadeless the path was. I'd lathered on the sunscreen before I left but I could sense it wearing off in the relentless afternoon sun. In Falls Church I rode up beside a couple and asked how much further to Vienna (my goal for the day). They took pity on my pasty skin and stopped to let me use their sunscreen and we chatted about cycling. One of the things I love about riding a bike is the lack of a barrier between people - it's easy to fall into conversations with random folks.
20 miles after heading out, I made it to the Vienna Whole Foods where I gorged on the food bar and put on more sunscreen from the free testers in the body department. Then I turned around and headed back. While I was tired, the trip back to Arlington was more pleasant: it sloped gradually downhill and the trees cast long shadows on the path. I accidentally took Four Mile Run Trail rather than hoping on the Custis Trail, adding another 8 or so miles to my trip. It turned out to be a nice mistake though: the light on the Potomac is beautiful in the evening.
|The Beltway: DC ring highway symbolically separating "Real America" and the bureaucrats (so they say)|
|Four Mile Run Trail in Arlington, VA|
|Back on the Mt. Vernon Trail|
|Rosslyn, VA from Georgetown. On the homestretch.|