2012 WABA Vasa Ride

6:00 AM Sunday Wake Up!

Let me start by saying that I normally get up for work at 8 AM..so getting up at 6 AM on a weekend….ouch! I volunteered to help with setup / registration as well as being a ride marshal for the 59 mile course.  There were 15 and 31 mile routes as well, all with the promise of warm blueberry soup which is actually made with bilberries, the “Swedish” equivalent.

8 AM – GO!

It was a bit chilly so only 275 registered riders showed up of the 400 registrants.  Additionally volunteer ride marshals such as myself were part of the group.  Since we were not on a closed course, we had some casual riders join in as well.

Starting at the “House of Sweden” at 30th and K Streets NW, which happens to be very close to Georgetown University where I spend 8 hours a day :), we headed out on K Street which is under the Whitehurst Freeway, a scene from Batman Begins I think, and then on the Capital Crescent Trail as we headed into Maryland.  We zigged and zagged and rode MacArthur Boulevard up into Maryland and then on Glen road.  On the way we had a Powerade pit stop and a turn around at a remote convenience store.  We traveled down the bike / pedestrian / horse only portion of Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park.

Mile 50.8 BIG HILL

After a nice ride through Rock Creek Park, we see the sign for Brandywine ahead on left.  I signal and then my jaw drops….it is probably the steepest, longest hill I have seen in the District of Columbia!  I have to admit that I had to get off and walk a small portion as my knee was hurting me a bit.  Perhaps it would have scared everyone out of doing the 59 mile route, but an ‘*’ on the cue sheet would have been helpful!  Just kidding, though I think I would have rather had the hill early on 🙂

10 Minutes to spare…

So the group I was riding back huffed it as we were back on the CCT for the home stretch and made it back with 10 minutes to spare.  Just in time to enjoy some blueberry soup..in a cup.  Here are some stats from my bike computer. Unfortunately they include my limping ride home.

Travel Time: 4 Hours and 31 Minutes
Total Time: 5 Hours (Vasa Total. Does not include ride home)
Mileage: 61.59 Miles
Average Speed: 13.6 MPH
Max Speed: 30.6 MPH

While not as fast as my average speed for the Air Force Classic Crystal Ride from 2011, but this course was much more difficult as far as elevation changes and was not a closed or marked course.

Second Longest Ride

So this was my second longest ride.  I am not sure if I will do more of these as I should train for them, but find my bike riding to work quite monotonous.  I need to find more fun routes to go I think.

My good friend Shane was tempted me with Fondo’s in NY and other cities, but I think I want to do something local.  Last year the Gran Fondo DC was cancelled, and I am not confident in my swimming abilities, but would like to try a Triathlon one of these days so say I have done one.  Turning 34 this year, I think I better do it soon! LOL

History: Vasaloppet

Check out the event details at WABA.org.  Here are some details from the WABA page in case it gets taken down.

WABA’s Annual Vasa Ride is our bicycle-themed tribute to Sweden’s legendary Vasaloppet, the world’s longest running cross country ski race in Sweden. Since 1922, thousands from around the world participate in the 90Km cross country ski race the first Sunday of March. Vasaloppet commemorates the trail of renegade Swede King Gustav Eriksson Vasa, who led the rebellion to free Sweden after a long and dangerous pursuit on skis. So why the warm blueberry soup? To keep riders warm and energized of course. It’s as much of an institution as the race itself!  More info on the Vasaloppet.


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