I did a stupid thing yesterday afternoon. Much of my riding around Prince William County is on the bike paths which follow the new roads in the county, particularly on Rte 234. But I need to take local roads to get there and Waterway Drive through Montclair is one of them.
Waterway is four lanes, two in each direction, nice grassy median strip with trees and with curbs — no shoulders. There is no place to move except in the gutter. On my way down Waterway towards the stop sign at Avon/Northgate, I was doing 34 mph, just one mph short of the speed limit. Still, some cars insist on flying by so we know they’re speeding.
Just before the road leveled out I was buzzed by an black SUV who got dangerously close. I didn’t respond with profanity or gestures. I just kept going. But as I approached the four way stop sign, both our through lanes were backed up seven to eight cars. I quickly came upon the line of cars and was able to move past them on the right to get up to the stop sign. Here the road does open a bit so there is a quasi-shoulder.
I had slowed and as I approached the front of the line was the SUV. He saw me coming and swerved sharply to the right. Slow speed mind you, as everyone was queuing for the stop sign. But he tried to go all the way to the right and cut me off. I did put out my hand and slap his vehicle. But then, here was the stupid part, I passed one more car then turned around.
Something said not to take this anymore. Clearly without thinking I went back and pulled in front of his vehicle, basically daring him to run me over. Standing off my bike in front of the driver’s side headlight, I said to him, and his three passengers, “Play nice out here. You have a nice car and future ahead of you (he was probably in his late teens or early twenties and probably showing off for his friends) but if you kill one bicyclist you can be charged with manslaughter, lose everything you have, and spend a few years in jail. Just play nice.”
In retrospect, it was stupid because he could have gunned it and run me down. Except there was a car in front of us. I sort of felt protected because of the number of cars around. But then came the surprise. He didn’t say a word. I don’t know if anything sunk in or not and will never know. But it was 70 degrees and many drivers had their windows down. The people in the car beside him cheered me. “Alright! You tell him!” And the car behind his were cheering too.
For a brief moment, people were glad to see a bicyclist stand up to an idiotic driver. I went through the intersection before him then wondered what would happen when in the next 200 yards when he got his chance to pass me for a final time. I didn’t give him that chance. I turned into the next driveway simply to let him pass without confrontation before resuming my ride.
This does not make sense. The arbitration decision in the Floyd Landis case just was released with a 2-1 decision against Floyd. The panel ruled that the French lab did not follow World Antidoping Guidlines in testing Floyd’s samples. They further ruled that “if the practice is continued that future results would be overturned.”
Huh? So future results by the same lab using the same flawed procedures would be overturned but these ones would be accepted?
To the uninitiated, after bonking on Stage 16 in the Tour de Farce, Floyd rode away to a victory the next day. While he was hailed as having ridden one of the great races ever, the truth was he rode well — but not like Superman. The teams that should have organized early and chased failed to do so which allowed him to open a nine minute lead on them.
Floyd knew if he won the stage he would be tested. It would be foolish to cheat. Floyd stood up like a man and at every opportunity maintained his innocence, all the way to the Court for Arbitration for Sport. They were especially annoyed that he had the balls to fight the charges and not only found against him on June 30, 2008, but also fined him $100,000. How dare someone question their authority.
I met Floyd in January, 2007. He came away as believable to me. For full disclosure I have to mention that I am a genealogist. I trace some of my ancestry to a Landis family in Lancaster Co., Pa. in the 1700s. Floyd, of course, is from a Mennonite family named Landis in Lancaster Co., Pa. However, I have traced some of Floyd’s lineage and have yet to make a connection. Cousin or not, I believe him.
AUGUST 17, 2010 — Well, aren’t we all the fools? In May at the Amgen Tour of California, Floyd, after being denied entry into the Tour, followed through with his blackmail threat and claimed that he and Lance Armstrong were dopers.
In January, 2007, Floyd made his rounds proclaiming his innocence and asking for money from people like me. And I gave. Twenty five to attend his stupid Evening with Floyd event. Then $50 and $25. And I bought his book. And it was all a lie.
Floyd – I want my money back.
February 29, 2012 — It continues. And it’s going to continue.
I don’t want my money back. Floyd lost his best friend, his wife (who may have been his best friend), his family, his house, his money, his integrity. He can keep my money.
I have my own theory. I believe Floyd was innocent of using artificial testosterone. I suspect when he heard he was caught he thought “oh crap” but when he realized it was artificial testosterone, he fought that. In the end, they wore him down and he eventually confessed to being a doper – at least using blood transfusions.
I think he speaks the truth about doping in the peleton but he lost his credibility by not confessing when he had a chance and down is discredited at every chance.
And we have found no genealogical link between us. Floyd is not my cousin.
CHARLES TOWN, WEST VIRGINIA
It was eight and one half years ago that we first drove Bethany to Shepherdstown, WV to tour Shepherd College. The trip to Shepherdstown and Charles Town seemed so far. But it would become a trip we would make many times as both Bethany and Ashley attended Shepherd College (now University).
We had a picnic at Bethany and Andy’s place today. For the second time this year, I decided to bike to Charles Town instead of drive. It is getting lighter later and I couldn’t leave home until almost 7:00 a.m.
My route took me up Minnieville Rd to Delaney Road where I sprinted and reached 42.3 mph crossing Neabsco Creek. I always have to break 40 mph there. I followed Delaney to Ridgefield Rd then to the Prince William Parkway. I took the Parkway to Manassas then followed Sudley Road past Manassas Mall and Manassas Battlefield. After passing the battlefield I turned right on Gum Springs Rd which immediately becomes Loudoun Co. I followed Gum Springs Rd to Braddock Rd then turned left on Braddock Rd.
Braddock Rd becomes a washboard dirt road in the woods for about three miles. It is very rough riding. One of my water bottles flew off here causing me to stop for a minute. Braddock Rd connects with James Madison Hwy (US Rte 15) which, thankfully, I only had to ride for one mile to Gilberts Corner. At Gilberts Corner, US 50, I turned west on 50 and followed it about a mile and one half past Aldie.
After Aldie I turned on Snickersville Turnpike a delightful almost traffic-free country road which cuts a neat northwest diagonal. This is the shortest way to Charles Town.
Maybe traffic was lighter than normal because the Hibbs Bridge is out. On the run in to the bridge I reached my high speed for the day – 43.1 mph. I was flying. But the bridge was closed and I had a decision to make. Turn around and take a 10-mile detour or ford the Beaverdam Creek with my bike. I was able to carry my bike over the creek and continue on. I went as far as Airmont then turned north through Round Hill where I went under Rte 7. I followed the road north and came to Cider Mill Rd which connected with Rte 9 west of Hillsboro.
Route 9 is a major road and connects Loudoun Co., Virginia with Jefferson Co., West Virginia. It is two-lane, 55 mph road which crosses the Appalachian Trail at the state border but with no shoulder. I had no problems on Rte 9 and climbing the mountain was painless and quick. I like this route because the descent into Jefferson Co. features some very technical curves. On the first set I rounded one at 41 mph. There is a second climb before a second descent which then crosses the Shenandoah River.
Total mileage was 70 and took me just under 4 1/2 hours at an average speed of 15.5 mph. I arrived at Bethany’s and was able to “relax” by jumping in their pool. Sweet!