The fading afternoon light, the cold winds, the Thanksgiving holiday planning – all signs that the coffeeneuring season is coming to an end. And so this year’s challenge wrapped up for me this weekend with the final two rides I needed to complete an official finish and get the Coffeeneuring patch (and the not-so-secret official bandana)!
Saturday was a loop ride into the country north of D.C. with friends. Sunday was a little coda with Mary in downtown D.C. to one of our favorite quiet shops, Chinatown Coffee, on the last official day of the coffeeneuring season. The Sunday outing crowd tends to pack into A Baked Joint, which is fantastic, but gets overcrowded. Chinatown Coffee, just off the Gallery Place tourist zone, is more for reading, laptop work and savoring, and they let us bring the bikes inside.
Saturday: The Coffee Bar
This week I reached out to local cycling personality and the mastermind behind NFS lube, Josh Simonds, to line up a ride on Saturday. Mary was out of town until early Sunday, visiting family in Iowa. By Saturday our group was four, with randonneur pal Eric Pilsk and another Friday Coffee Club regular, Pancho Bate, who is involved with the youth-mentor organization Phoenix Bikes. Eric offered his personal ride, Tour de Burbs, a real gem. See my Strava file here.
Going into the weekend I needed two more coffeenering rides. The first came Saturday at The Coffee Bar in Shaw. Pancho and I are both D.C. residents and he met me there before we went to join Eric and Josh on Beach Drive. I had a head cold starting and wasn’t feeling my best, but a good cappuccino and a pastry got me propped up. Pancho was not actually coffeeneuring, but the meetup for a hot drink before the ride qualifed as fulfilling my “friends and family” coffeeneuring theme this year.
Our ride was a total of 96 miles up to Clarksburg and back on pictureseque back roads. We unfortunately did not get any more coffee, but we enjoyed the day thoroughly despite some heavy cloud cover and a bit of light rain. The route went though Laytonsville, a jumping off point for Potomac Pedalers rides. It used to feel so far away when I drove to Pedalers rides there. I liked the idea of getting there and home on my bike.
The rain held off and we were all done before 3:30 p.m., beating the sunset and the rain & winds that came through in the evening.
Sunday: Chinatown Coffee
Mary was due back from Iowa late in the morning, so I had some time to hang out. I watched European cyclocross on TV and made espresso. It was kind of exciting at first (the bike race) but then became a time trial with the tall Dutch guy winning his fourth pro cross circuit race out of four this year.
We got out in the afternoon with limited ambitions – Mary came back with her own cold, so we picked a place where we’d find seating and was close to home. Chinatown Coffee was just right.
Mary had a hot chocolate and I had almond milk cappuccino (though it was served in a big latte cup), and split a chocolate chip cookie. After all the hoopla that comes with the annual coffeeneuring season, a simple 4.4-mile outing to a local favorite and some conversation with Mary after a few days apart was a perfect way to complete my finish.
Afterwards we stopped by the downtown outdoor holiday market, which opens on Friday. I wished a fond farewell to fall and the official 2017 coffeeneuring challenge.
Thanks for all the work Mary on the annual Coffeeneuring Challenge, and congratulations to all the finishers for getting out there on two wheels in search of hot drinks and community. See you on the road soon!