Air Force Cycling -- A True Classic

I woke up this morning to a roaring thunderstorm and rain so hard that it pounded the roof.  I rolled over and flip my pillow over my head.

"Oh no," this morning, I had my first bike event -- the Air Force Crystal Ride. I didn't have to do it -- I had a lot of studying to do. But with the Ironman 70.3, just 16 short weeks away, this event was critical for my training regimen.

The Ride started in downtown Crystal City, rolled down Old Jefferson Davis Hwy, to Boundary Channel Dr on the east side of the Pentagon, onto 27 towards on the west side of the Pentagon and up the very steep and painful Columbia Pike to the majestic Air Force Memorial.

This leg was steep -- but well worth it once you climbed up to salute the soaring spires. The Memorial basically displays three tall spires that remind visitors of the smoke trails left by aircraft when they perform the "bomb burst" maneuver. The Memorial also includes a bronze statue that features Honor Guard members and a glass wall with engravings illustrating the "missing man" formation.

This location is not just beautiful and serene but significant -- with a splendid view of the Nation's Capital and magnificent monuments in the background. It is also overlooking Arlington National Cemetery -- the nation's altar of freedom.

It's great to ride in the city without cars.  Each leg is 12.5 km and there are 8 total laps.

The ride was not only challenging (with lots of sharp turns), but it was really enjoyable riding on city streets with spectators sitting leisurely in outdoor cafes, enjoying life and what life has to offer in people-friendly Crystal City. Thankfully, the rain clouds had cleared ushering in a bright, beautiful day, mild and dry and barely breaking 80.

It was also fun to watch the Pros ride for the Clarendon Cup-- they look so sleek and super fast in their aerodynamic machines. Watch the 17-sec clip of the Pros passing the Crystal City Finish Line on Flickr.

The race is difficult because it's a short course in an urban setting.

But the greatest joy was watching the Kid's Bike Race -- bringing back fond memories a long time ago when we took a great leap from our Mom and Dad and rode off to far away places on our our very own tricycle.

And after the ride, soaking in the refreshingly warm rays and munching on a gigantic chicken burrito at Chipotles while watching the Pros do their stuff, I had an urge to put away the bike and run along the National Mall, savoring the smooth, flat course and every blessed minute of it.


  1. I enjoyed your summary and the pictures! It looked like a great day for racing and enjoying the scenery! Go Air Force!


  2. Hi from Seattle, Nice post. I like the photos of DC. Hope to visit there with my kiddos.

  3. Hi Cindy,

    Hi back from DC. Yes, you and your Kiddos are most welcome whenever it's convenient for you all. You will love this city for its running and everything.


  4. Was this a race or a ride? What was the distance?

  5. John, It was a ride -- 100 kms, though I didn't do the entire course because I arrived an hour late. You still biking?

  6. I wish I was still riding. I haven't had time to ride consistently for a couple of years. I keep saying that I need to get back on the bike .... Maybe one of these days.