In choosing the final spot for our 2019 ELIEL Rider House Tour, we wanted somewhere that could offer a true taste of fall weather, compelling scenery and a vibrant cycling scene. We found all of this and much more in Washington, D.C. thanks for our friends at DC Velo who hosted us for the weekend. Our 3 day itinerary was jam packed – there were several spicy group rides to be had, important landmarks to behold, burritos and beverages to imbibe on and even some CX racing thrown in for good measure. D.C. was the place to be and we were stoked to be heading there.
Perhaps the most compelling aspect of riding a bike is the opportunity to experience and appreciate your surroundings at a much more visceral level than passing by in a car or even on foot. This fact was never more evident than when we looped all through and around the D.C. area on a 2 wheel tour of the majestic monuments that dot the landscape throughout the District. Shawn from DC Velo was a most excellent guide as he refreshed our historical knowledge as we rolled around on this crisp fall day. But what we didn’t know was that this was all just a pre-ride, a warm up if you will, for the daily Hain’s Point Noon Ride.
Flat out from the gun, we were thrown right into the mix of a snarling, sweating group of hard hitting locals tackling a pancake flat 3 mile circuit around the beautiful East Potomac Golf Course, all bent on destroying themselves if not thrashing the out-of-towners. After an hour of closing gaps, taking pulls and chasing wheels, we rolled away exhausted from the effort and thoroughly impressed with the speed and prowess of the D.C. riding community.
In need of some serious off the bike time, we brought together a sizable and affable group of the local pedal pounders for dinner and beverages at Emissary. For certain, there were many tall tales told, liquid carbs consumed and protracted examples of bike related experiences being offered in tribute to the sport we are all so passionate about. We felt at home in D.C., even after only 1 day in town.
Saturday was to be the day to inject a little Eliel flavor into the D.C. area and introducing everyone there to the Breakfast Burrito Ride seemed like a the perfect way to accomplish that. The Saturday showdown in D.C. is the aptly titled “7AM Ride” and is a 40 mile slug fest on undulating, twisty roads featuring numerous punchy climbs and even some unanticipated (and unannounced) U turns. Much like the day before, the group worked together in harmony, chasing down the attacks and even occasionally vaulting over the top of them. Some got popped off the back. Some held on for dear life while others took heroic pulls in an effort to make the ride as challenging as possible. We loved it. All of it. But now it was time for the BB part of the BBR – the burritos.
The BBR has become a signature Eliel event and is a fabulous way to further relationships and strengthen the thread that binds our tribe. Thanks to District Taco, the assembled crew enjoyed this most wholesome and tightly packed source of post ride recovery foods at a time when it was desperately needed. The biggest benefit of the day however was that it allowed us even more time to absorb the vibe and energy of this amazing cycling community. Unique, diverse, and most of all, just a fun group of really nice people that welcomed us in like family.
Sunday’s schedule had us out at the local Falkorburg CX race and Mother Nature is clearly a fan of sloppy, muddy races because She delivered a deluge the night before that created the most idyllic conditions for a cross race that you could imagine. The mud on course was prolific throughout the course and could perhaps best be described as peanut buttery as all manner of racers slogged up, down and around the track. The heckling and cheering were doled out in buckets, along with a few donut handups, as the entire venue rocked with the tenor of a rock show on 2 wheels.
As we packed to head back to the west coast, we did so feeling refreshed and invigorated from the immersion into the Washington, D.C. cycling community. Grateful for the hospitality and fellowship we were shown, it’s clear that this is one of the best cycling towns in the US and we’re already making plans to come back.