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DC AIDS Ride 4: Ride 8: Middleburg, VA


Ride 8: Middleburg, VA Sunday, April 25 Distance: 16ish miles

Andrew McCarthy, Rob Lowe and all their chums from Class would have felt right at home around Middleburg, although rather than riding bicycles they would have been on horses or BMW convertibles.

Middleburg is definitely an odd little town. Placed at an attractive but not particularly centric spot on Rt. 50, Middleburg is one of those rare towns that has no ugly part. There is no other side of the tracks, no skid row. Nothing has been abandoned to its destiny. On its 20-odd street blocks, Middleburg displays the largest concentration of antique shops, expensive boutiques, real estate agencies, investment bankers, jewelry stores, gourmet cookware joints, riding gear outfitters, fox hunting outfitters, new age decorativa, fancy bistros, bakeries and candy stores that one with my azure-deficient blood would dare imagine.

Don't misunderstand me--this is a beautiful town where I could imagine going to stay at a bed and breakfast, eat brioches with fresh chèvre and find an investment advisor to help me buy a half a share of something impressive. However, I must admit there is something askew about the pristine, cobblestone-y and Givenchy-clad town where even the Safeway has architecturaly-correct pediments adorning its doors. Then again, as part of Loudoun County, this is one of the wealthiest areas of the country, so I suppose they must all have their nicely-wrapped preserves and boarding schools.

The throngs of Hell's Angels motorbiking through town added a cool touch of rural decay. The very fancy Yamahas and Hondas that sweater-toting denizens of the Halfway Hills rode were a sharp contrast to the shiny harleys and low-riders.

Other sights spotted: lesbians with baby and two queens antiquing.

I started out with lofty goals today.  John Harpold's description of the Middleburg  ride was so full of wonderful words that I needed to be there.

Dennis, co-captain of the AGLA team called me on Saturday and said the ride would be going on.  I neglected to call him back, but had every intention of going on the ride. I prepared all my gear in advance so that come Sunday morning I would only have to toss the bike in the car and be on my way.

Charles spent the night, which made getting out of bed all the more difficult.

This day began with me thinking I had been late one too many times. I arrived at EFC Metro at 9:33, three minutes after the announced departure time of the carpool. I was ready to get rolling, so I decided in my infinite wisdom that I'd try to catch up to the rest of the gang on I-66, even though I didn't really know where exactly I was headed--I didn't even remember the name of the town.

By the time I reached Manassas, I was pretty much determined to bike anyhow, so i stopped at a Barnes and Noble and looked for a biking book that might have a map of the riding area. Eventually I remembered the name of the town and found a great map of northern Virginia and southern Maryland with bike paths and roads delineated.

I made my way to Middleburg and by 11 AM I was riding.

The 40-mile ride I had planned became a 16-mile butt-kick. I was totally unprepared for the hills, and somehow I'm noticing that while riding alone I just don't go that far or fast or try as hard. Something to think about.

I passed vineyards, saw many, many horses and almost got run over by a few of them... or rather their asses--all of them driving SUVs. The scenery was spectacular.

I got back to Middleburg, took pictures, had a sandwich at the one deli in town where the people working were not white, and read. I remembered sometime on the way back home that I should check my work voicemail as it was possible I'd have to drop in and do work-type stuff. Fortunately this was not the case.