Cycling On The Washington and Old Dominion Trail

Cycling From Vienna To Ashburn

I’m surprised at how much I’ve come to enjoy cycling since my husband got me a bike last August, to help distract me from my newly empty nest.

Bike 2

I still reserve Saturdays for my long runs, but always look forward to a ride with my sweetie on Sunday.

Cycling Couple

Our 25th wedding anniversary is coming up in October, and when I realized that my work schedule did not leave room for a weekend getaway, I wanted to figure out how to make a day off together truly special, and truly together.

While pedalling along on a recent ride, I got the brilliant idea that we could ride the length of the Washington and Old Dominion Trail, from Shirlington, Virginia to Leesburg, Virginia. We could break up the 70 mile round trip ride with a nice lunch in Leesburg, and finish off the day with a nice dinner in Shirlington. My husband was game, so the next question became:

How do I train for a 70 mile bike ride?

While my husband loves outfitting me in good cycling gear and is a great bike mechanic, he is not the person to ask about a training plan.

You don’t need to train, just do it!
A training plan would take the fun out of cycling.

Well, that approach might work for him, but it’s not for me!

I figure the least I should is increase my mileage. While my legs have no problem with our usual 15-20 mile rides, I think they would be happier if I work up to triple that distance instead of springing it on them all at once!

Last weekend the weather was perfect to start not-training. I made a batch of blueberry protein pancakes to fuel our ride, and topped them with blueberry sauce (simmered blueberries) for extra yumminess.

I wasn’t sure that would get me through a 30 mile ride, so I had a small carton of Chobani yogurt in the car. We drove to Vienna to start there, so we could explore a different part of the trail than our usual starting place in Shirlington.

Garmin Map Vienna To Ashburn

I was surprised out how far out of town we got in 15 miles. I see from the Garmin map that the W O & D takes a straight path, while the highways we would take to get to the same place would be much less direct. It was fun to tick off “landmarks,” like Old Town Herndon where we once had dinner, and the CarMax where we have bought several cars–places I think of as being very far away from home.

We hit 15 miles on a straightaway with no good place to turn around (we weren’t the only people taking advantage of the weather, and I didn’t want to make an unexpected stop or surprise oncoming cyclists), so we kept going until we reached a crossroad. As it turns out, we made it to Ashburn, VA, where there was a cute little BBQ restaurant next to the trail.

Vienna to Ashburn

They clearly cater to cyclists, with this huge map of the W O & D on the wall.

A cartoon pig marks the site of the restaurant on the map.

Panoramic Map of Washington And Old Dominion Trail

(This picture is curvy because I used the “panoramic” feature on my iPhone camera.
It shows the whole trail, from Shirlington on the right to Purceville on the left.) 

All in all, we ended up covering about 32 miles.

 Washington And Old Dominion Trail

I love seeing the hill profiles from my Garmin! I know there are a few short hills between Shirlington and Vienna, and I’m sure there are even more rolling hills between Ashburn and Leesburg. They are great incentive to make good use of the free “rides” I won at RevolveDC, and likely will have me signing up for more spin classes, at least through our October anniversary ride.

Do you workout with your significant other?

Would you train for an activity that you are doing on your own, just for fun?  

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10 Responses to Cycling On The Washington and Old Dominion Trail

  1. Carrie says:

    You have such great trails around you! What a fun thing to do for your anniversary.

    I have no advice. But, I would think a few rides of increasing length would get you there. I love your husband's anti-training methods – mine would probably do the same.

  2. Steena says:

    I think the furthest you'd need to go before the 70 is 50-60. If you're comfy with a 20 miler, try and get a 20 miler in midweek as well.

    • Now that I've done 40, I'm less intimidated, but 50-60 sounds like a lot, let alone 70! I can't ride during the week — to many logistical issues — but I will try to do a spin class at least.

  3. ErickaHeritage says:

    My husband and I got bikes recently and ride sometimes. Though this weekend I forgot my lock combo and we couldn't! I plan on doing a long-ish ride with him soon though so far we've never ridden more than an hour. I'm a little nervous! — Ericka @ The Sweet Life

  4. What a fun way to celebrate your anniversary!
    Yes, I would probably train some (like what you are doing) so that they day truly is fun and not just a torturous day!!

  5. susan says:

    What a great way to celebrate your anniversary! I would have to train for that, that's for sure 🙂 I am building up milage for a local park that we want to ride. I'm up to 10 miles. It's not so much my legs, it's more my butt 😉

  6. christineyu69776410 says:

    That's so awesome. I love that you celebrated this way and love how much you're enjoying biking. You do have great bike paths and trails around you.

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