This cycling thing just got real

Pretty new bike

Howdy, friends. Here's a quick update on my training progress and oh yeah, I got a fancy new bike. Just 76 days until the NYC to D.C. Climate Ride!

Cycling is a funny sport. By "funny" I mean expensive, complicated, difficult, and highly addictive. I guess I might be hooked. The real test will come after I complete the 300-mile New York City to Washington, D.C Climate Ride in late September. Will I keep riding 40 miles to and from the office? Will I keep going out on long two-wheeled explorations on the weekend?

Until then, I've got a clear goal and am a highly motivated trainee, but I have a feeling that me and my bike are just beginning a long and beautiful relationship. I put my butt on its saddle and it propels me down the road at ever-increasing speeds.

Since my last update two weeks ago, I've riden 132 miles in four different rides.

Here's a quick training summary:

-- Sunday, June 30; 50 miles: Rode from Rockville down to the C&O Canal Trail and then 14 miles to the only remaining ferry crossing across the Potomac River. From there I came back through Poolesville, Darnestown, and then into Rockville. It was an absolutely gorgeous ride along the river, over some quint bridges, past various historic canal locks, and through pretty farmland. See pictures below.

-- Wednesday, June 3; 40 miles: Due to crazy weather and a trip to NYC for the NBA Draft and Blogger Meetup, I was only able to commute into the SB Nation D.C. office one time. It was pouring rain on the way in but still a nice ride. I cut my return trip down to 1.5hrs which is only 30 minutes more than a trip home on the Metro. I'm definitely going to ride in as much as possible.

-- Friday, July 5; 8 miles: This was really just a quick test ride on my new bike! See more on that below.

-- Saturday, July 6; 37 miles: I went for my first group ride with the Potomac Pedalers Club. I picked the "CC" group and regretted not being confident enough to ride with the "B". I think I'm actually fairly fit already. There's a ride every Saturday morning near my house that normally goes 40-50 miles but I guess with the 90+ heat they kept it a bit shorter this week. Regardless, it was fun riding with others and I look forward to exploring more of Montgomery County with this crew.

New Wheels

My various encounters with the Cycling Industrial Complex have been overwhelming. For years I've watched the Tour de France each July while various brands flashed across the screen or were plastered on the bodies of the athletes. Suddenly, and with very little clue, I was making important decisions on everything from bike computers (Garmin) to pedals (Speedplay) to water cages (plastic).

Picking an actual road bike was an adventure better left told over a few many cold beers. In the end and with some great help of SB Nation founder and avid cyclist, Tyler Belzinski, I went with a 2012 Trek Madone 3.1.

It's awesome.

It makes me feel fast and like a real cyclist. I even (think) I look cool riding on it.

Also, I am significantly more efficient clipped into the pedals and on my first real ride I was screaming down hills at 30 MPH without feeling the least bit concerned and flying up them even faster. (Not really.) Whatever magic is used to design these things, it works.

I'm looking forward to cutting another 15 to 30 minutes off my commute and maybe I'll just ride that NYC-DC in four days instead of five. #HUBRIS

I'm 35% of the way to my funding goal. Thanks to everyone who's supported me so far. Everyone else, what are you waiting for? Any little bit will be very much appreciate.

Added some new photos to the gallery.

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