Yesterday, I rode my BMC down to Haines Point, a popular, super-flat area of DC. It was a fun ride. M rode a Capital Bikeshare bike down so he could get a swim in, and we rode through some Fun Times Traffic of DC on Sunday. (DC does not have Fun Times Traffic on Sunday. It has a lot of tourists who don't know how to drive.)
I rode the Haines circuit three times. On one circumnavigation, I saw a guy on a tri bike. So I caught him, and dropped him! That is always fun. Then a chick on a road bike caught me, and dropped me, and I guess the guy decided to kick it into gear and came back and caught me. But he never did catch the chick, and none of us caught whoever it was in the pink up ahead.
I decided to ride home a different way to see if it was any better than city streets. So I went down Ohio Drive, got turned around on Rock Creek, ran across a traffic circle like I was doing cyclocross, and finally came out on Calvert near Open City.
Hmmm... I don't know if I like that route. On one hand, it is certainly a straighter shot. On the other hand, the Rock Creek trail is very narrow in many spots, and has a LOT of tourists, and people doing things like enjoying the volleyball courts. So it's less a RIDE and more of a slow, careful "remember you are in shared space" noodle. Plus, you cannot ride Rock Creek Parkway. (No shoulder, way too dangerous) and the trail does not give me any way to get to Massachusetts, which would be a very straight shot.
On the other hand, I felt kind of badass working my way up the last few hills. My strength is coming back, and in Oregon, I'd gotten pretty strong on those hills. So pulling up a hill again without feeling like I'm gonna die... it's a feeling I'd missed. I even pushed it up the super-punchy steep climb from the Rock Creek trail to Calvert. Strong is good.
I do think I need to ride my roadie some more. My bike handling is pretty tentative. With the return of normal feelings, I'm realizing that I got used to compensating for general weakness and a sense of balance that was a little off. So now I have to break some bad habits I picked up over the last few years, like constant unclipping and not trusting myself to stay upright. So some more bike handling work is in the future for me!