On October 11, 2008, I set out to ride all 50 States in the union over the course of 100 kilometers, including Alaska and Hawaii. Obviously this was not a coast-to-coast affair with water crossings, instead I joined the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and several friends to bike on each and every state named avenue in the District of Columbia. It started out cool in the morning and I was eager to start the ride. The starting point had plenty of sports drinks, powerbars, and bananas. After signing in and waiting for a while I saw some of my friends arrive and shortly thereafter we headed out on our ride.
Aaron brought his home-made tall bike along for the ride and easily conquered the route. We went at a comfortable pace over the initially reasonable terrain downtown, making a detour for the IMF meeting that was going on that day, but still hitting all the streets on our manifest. As the route progressed we eventually crossed over the Anacostia river and started to make our rather large ascent up Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue looping around until we got back to Fort Dupont Park where we had a glorious descent that sent us screaming down to the side of the Anacostia river. We got some water at Anacostia Park and then made our way back to the other side of the river toward Capitol Hill where lunch was being provided for us by WABA and California Tortilla Kitchen. From there we went north past Gallaudet University crossing New York Avenue, where I had my first mechanical issue. My chain jumped off the front chainring and stuck between the chainring and the chainstay. It was really stuck in there, but after some assistance from my friend Nathan I was on my way.
Unfortunately, that way was up, up, and more up. Once past Catholic University the climb up Hawaii Avenue was certainly memorable. Then it was North, almost to Maryland and up around Walter Reed where Alaska Avenue (an amazingly short avenue) can be found. Then it was off down into Rock Creek Park ... and back up again for a tour of Barnaby Woods, Chevy Chase (DC), and Friendship Heights. From there we went through American University's campus to do a incredibly fast descent half way down Arizona Avenue, only to be followed by an immediate climb up the same height to University Terrace -- all in the last 5 miles -- pretty brutal.
Finally we made our way down hill with a few modest climbs back to the starting point where we then set off for Bourbon in Adams Morgan to celebrate the ride, refuel with some good food, and drink to our success. The ride was definitely a challenge, but also a lot of fun.