Friday, June 11, 2004

OUT AND ABOUT: Preparing for a Road Race on the Reagan Processional Route

As I've mentioned, because of Reagan-relation road closures, I walked to the Red Line this morning instead of taking my chances with the bus system. I walked along the Massachusetts Avenue processional route from the Cathedral to Dupont Circle. Every 10 yards or so was a security official, keeping the crowds away from the street. The crowds where the largest at Massachusetts and Wisconsin avenues and at the intersection of Massachusetts and Florida avenues at 22nd and Q streets. At that intersection, people piled into the landscaping of the Tomas Masaryk statue.

I walked partially to see how many people were lined up along the route and also to get some exercise. Tomorrow, I'm running in the D.C. Urban Challenge, which is part road race, part scavenger hunt, part urban-orienteering exercise and part endurance test. I placed 13th last year in the D.C. qualifier out of 200-some teams. This year, I hope to do better. But I may have screwed my chances. Last night, a French friend of mine received a care package from home with a giant tin of foie gras and invited me over to devour it. Since goose liver pate probably has as much cholesterol as the first five minutes of "Supersize Me," on my walk home last night, I could feel the delicacy coating my stomach and innards. Walking down Massachusetts Avenue toward town this morning, I felt the remnants moving through my system. Not the best preparation for a road race, but oh well.

So walking half way to work was the next best thing for preparation. While the vast majority of those on the processional route were supporters, many with signs singing the praises of the 40th president, there were a few contrarians out there. At the corner of Massachusetts and Wisconsin avenues was a group of people with an odd assortment of signs that raised the ire of the Reagan wellwishers. One sign with a United Kingdom Union Jack read: "FAG Flag." Further down near the Brazilian ambassador's residence was a group walking up Massachusetts Avenue carrying anti-Reagan signs, one reading "Remember Reagan's victims." Of course, that stretch of the route was not crowded with people, so the protesters moved up that portion of the route with very little opposition, besides some passive aggressive glares and scowls.

And not everyone got the day off. Workers at the Cote d'Ivoire embassy construction site were banging away on the unfinished structure. Meanwhile, down the way at Sheridan Circle, workers constructing the Greek Embassy annex were sitting watching the mini-motorcades with foreign dignitaries, Congressional leaders, etc., go up toward the Cathedral. Most of the workers looked like they were taking a morning siesta and didn't plan on getting much work done today. Perhaps they're following the example of their counterparts in metropolitan Athens frantically trying to finish Olympic venues for the Summer Games.


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