Every year about this time I start to prepare for the summer riding season. This year I have on my plate a 24-hour race and a 1200K. I have not had success in either endeavor in the past.
There's no way to get ready to ride long than to ride long, circular though that may sound. On Sunday my buddy D__ and I launched from Arlington, across the street from Lost Dog Pizza, heading west along the W&OD rail-trail to Purcelville, then south through Middleburg to the town of Marshall. Yes, that Marshall: "This is a Constitution we are expounding!"
And then back.
It started raining in Leesburg, was pouring when we first reached Purcelville, and the rain (with varying force) stayed with us more or less all the way from there. As with every first long ride, after 100 miles everything hurt. I take that back: the legs feel fine. Pedaling a bike at a moderate pace isn't that hard. Sitting on a bike, leaned over, absorbing road bumps through your wrists, elbows, and shoulders; suspending your weight between your sit-bones and your hands; and abrading your contact points against soggy padding in your too-cheap bicycle tights -- that is hard.
140 miles there and back, give or take a few. Not what Jack Daniels would prescribe for a two-weeks-pre-marathon workout, but if I don't get started now, where will I be in June?