Fall Leaf Tour Epilogue

We made it back to the car yesterday in Harpers Ferry with gratitude for a nice, and at times, excitingly dramatic week on the road. We had a lovely, 50-mile ride with a tailwind. Crista B. and Chuck W. rode out with us on their tandem to the swanky gourmet country store in Millwood for treats and espresso before they went back to Middletown.

There is something sad and satisfying about finishing a tour. Yes, it was nice to get off the bike, but we’ll miss the carefree days of tooling along and taking lots of photos.

The reasons you go on vacation — getting away from life’s little curveballs — came back to us quickly. You may recall we had trouble leaving town on our first day. We had to turn back home after 40 miles when the freehub body started to fail on our rear Phil Wood tandem hub, freshly serviced by Phil Wood themselves.

After swapping the wheel with another one built on a Phil hub (which worked perfectly throughout the tour), we drove the bike to our first planned overnight in Harpers Ferry and left the car. We adjusted our return plans to go back there and drive home.

A tandem, on a car, on a tow truck. Next time we'll just ride home.

All was well until we stopped for dinner Sunday in Frederick, Md. The car refused to go any further. A helpful AAA technician determined the car had to be towed to a garage for more service than he could provide, and we ended up calling for a ride home from Chuck (hi again, it’s us!), who dropped us at a Metro subway station for the last leg of our journey. We arrived home on foot late Sunday evening with our panniers but no bike (Chuck is holding it for us) and no car.

Today we’re headed back to work, with good memories and a nice heavy feeling in our legs from 706 miles of fall color and good times, including seeing many of our randonneur buddies at the D.C. Randonneurs Cacapon 200K on Saturday.

RBA Bill Beck managed the event perfectly and took awesome photos. His writeup with links is below. Thanks Bill!

36 riders showed up in Middletown, VA for the Cacapon 200K, and everyone of these hardy DC Randonneurs finished under the time limit. Lynn couldn’t be there this year, but everyone enjoyed her beautiful route that passes along the peaceful Cacapon River as well as soaring up to high apple orchards and over Wolf Gap. Fall colors were very nice, especially in the second half of the route. The temperature started at around 50F and rose into the 60s, but an enthusiastic breeze kept up all day. Fortunately the breeze seemed to be mainly from behind for the final leg along Back Road.

Thanks to Charlie Thomas, and his wife Katrin for coming out dark and early to check in all of the riders at the start. That was a big help.

Congratulations to Mark Parascandola and Andrew Mazur for completing their first brevets. And bonus points to Matt Kisner who managed to complete the ride, including the climb over Wolf Gap, with a barely shifting rear derailleur. The hard-core awards go to Ed Felker and Mary Gersema, who did the brevet at the end of their 706 mile bike tour, and Maile Neel who had just completed the Perth-Albany-Perth 1200K a week before.

Preliminary results are now posted at http://www.dcrand.org/dcr/results.php?page=display-results&year=2010. My photos are posted at http://www.flickr.com/photos/wabeck/sets/72157625059937053/. Maile’s are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcn7/sets/72157625186486542/with/5091321427/.

Thanks to Maile for loaning me her SLR camera while my daughter used mine to shoot a wedding. (My pictures start at the Siler control since it took me that long to figure out that the autofocus was turned off. Doh!)

Our next ride is the Eastern Shore Flatbread 200K on November 13. See organizer Chip Adams’s description at http://dcrand.org/blog/2010/09/27/eastern-shore-flatbread-200k-nov-13-2010/. Hopefully, we won’t have a hurricane this year and will be able to ride the full route to the ocean!


2 thoughts on “Fall Leaf Tour Epilogue

  1. Welcome home! Ah the bittersweet feeling of a tour’s end. I felt it all day yesterday on your behalf, thinking of you aiming the tandem back home. Today I was empathizing with the need for a vacation to rest up after your supposed vacation.

  2. Thanks Maile. The first day back at work is pretty jarring after being out in the fresh air day after day. Nice to see you this weekend at the 200K brevet. Congratulations on your “hard core” designation from Bill Beck! We’re just trying to get on your wheel in that department.

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