The start was crowded, and the weather good enough, so probably most of the 400 registered riders showed up. I have no sense for how they divided between the 58-mile, 39-mile and 16-mile versions, but there were a lot of riders on the longest version. There were always other riders in sight, which I appreciated since I don't know that part of the city at all. WABA provided a rest stop enroute that offered energy drinks and perhaps snacks. Didn't want the snacks, but I did wish I didn't have two water bottles along. Thought of taking their drink and dumping my water, but it was just too much trouble.
The ride started right along the Potomac River and headed west for a short distance before working its way north to Bethesda. My most frequent riding companions were two young women from the DC area. Actually, everyone I met was from the metropolitan area. The crowd of riders was diverse, a mix of ages, skills and rising styles.
The only snafu was that the group I was riding with turned onto the Capital Crescent Trail at the wrong place and rode for a mile or two before the local riders realized it. By then, the overwhelming consensus of the group (understand that to mean 2 out of 3) was to continue along that route, which turned the 58-mile route into a 50-mile route. That was a bit disappointing, but I wasn't interested in going back alone to search for the right way, especially since I saw other VASA riders coming along the same direction. It wasn't a huge big deal, after all, it was a training ride for me and worked well at that. Back at the Swedish Embassy, I was told that many returning riders used that route. If the cue sheet had told us which direction to turn it would have helped.
The hot blueberry soup hit the spot, it reminded me a bit of Czechoslovakian hot cherry soup, thankfully without the cream. You can see the route here, on Map My Ride. I was told it is the same every year, though I don't know.