Well done, March Ramblers. Our ride report this month is great one, written by PJ. Below are links to his pics and some of mine on flickr.
This month Bob scheduled Charm & Grace, a ride up to Havre de Grace, west to Jarrettsville, then south back to Charm City. I woke up unusually early, before 5 a.m. I drank some coffee and did a last minute checkup the Gunnar. I had punched a few more holes in the leather straps of the “small” Sackville seat bag to raise it higher above the rear wheel. It worked well throughout the day.
Bob posted that he would be at the Daily Grind in Fells Point before the start, so I met up with him there. A coffee and bagel provided much needed fuel. Instructions were to meet up at Canton Waterfront Park at 7:45. When we arrived at 10 of 8:00, no one else had showed. I got a little nervous about riding this one alone, but Mike appeared before I could finish the thought. Brian arrived shortly thereafter, followed by Tom.
Sans Wagner, the four of us set out to conquer the March ramble. It was about 37 degrees out, too cold for this time of year. It was also overcast and windier than forecast. While it took longer to get out of the city than I had hoped, I appreciated the relatively easy miles. Traffic was fairly light, except around the churches. After a few minutes, I made the first of what turned out to be at least 3 missed turns when I failed to see the street sign for Golden Ring Road. The sign I saw was for Stemmers Run Road and I kept going. Oh well, it only cost us a few minutes.
When we hit Philadelphia Road in White Marsh, Brian turned back to take care of some pressing house matters. Brian, Glad you got to ride with us. And then there were three… Bob usually has more people show up for the Rambles, but it was a nice change of pace to be part of a small group. I got to know Mike and Tom a little better.
Soon, we were riding on Jericho Road, where the Little Gunpowder Falls tumbled along on our right. It was very scenic. Between the still bare trees, you could see the water rushing over various rocks and boulders out to the Bay. Tom pointed the remnants of old structures along the way. Then I saw it, the Jericho Covered Bridge. How cool is that? I took a picture of it from far away, but decided to put the camera away sooner rather than later as it is a single lane wooden bridge. (My combined one lane covered bridge bike riding and picture taking skills need more practice). We then passed more mill buildings from another time before making a right onto Jerusalem Road. This was my favorite section of the trip.
By this point, it had warmed up to a balmy 41 degrees. We took a short break at the first rest stop, and proceeded northeast up Route 40. The headwinds were strong, and keeping speeds over 15 mph required much effort. I was a little annoyed because this was supposed to be one of the easier sections of the ride. But, that’s what I’ve come to learn from the Rambles; you just never know how it’s going to unfold. We took some turns at the front in the face of the wind, but we were happy to get off Route 40 once we got Aberdeen.
For the most part, the drivers were courteous. There was, however, a little old lady in a brand new Dodge Charger that was not going to let any cyclist delay her from turning left. Thanks for the scare, miss. Please go back to Pasadena.
By noon we found ourselves in Havre de Grace. Once in town, I got completely turned around and headed south instead of north. Mike asked an elderly couple out for a walk for directions, and they were nice enough to point us toward the restaurant. Within minutes, we spotted our fearless leader and Teresa. The five of us sat down for lunch at Coaklies Pub. All had a round of beer, except me. (I gave up beer for Lent, but come Easter, I’m going to have few…).
My BBQ burger hit the spot. Glad Bob and Teresa made it to lunch. As always, the group enjoyed quite a few laughs. We were back on the bikes by 1:30 p.m. with Level Road to greet us. Nothing like a 2 mile climb on a full stomach. Anyway, I missed a turn on the way out, and had to circle back yet again. Doh!
By midafternoon, the skies were a snowy grey forewarning what was to come. The temps were still in the mid-forties, but at least the wind had died down. There was nothing to do but hammer our way west. So, we did. This part of the route included a lot of rollers. The three of us were acting like the pendulums to our own clocks. On a downhill stretch Tom would blow past me at some incredible speed, then Mike would pass me. As we reached the next hill I would swing past Tom and catch up with Mike. On the next downhill, Tom would zoom past us again and Mike and I would work to catch Tom up the next hill. This scenario repeated itself several times after lunch.
Soon, we reached the next rest stop. Earlier, Bob noted a good section to take a break before we hit the East-West Highway. We stopped at the WaWa for short while. By 3:00 p.m., we were on the road again. On MD 23, we were joined by another friendly rider who was out for a thirty or so mile ride. He was happy to tell us all about the good riding in the area. He also gave us an update on the weather; snow was definitely on its way. While conversing with this chap we lost contact with Tom. After the grueling climb up Greene Road, Mike and I decided to wait to see if Tom would catch up. My legs were screaming at this point. Mike shared a Snickers bar with me. It’s amazing how a little chocolate can change your mood. After 15 minutes, we decided that we best move onward. The temperature was dropping and I was starting to get cold. We learned later that Tom had changed course and headed further west to catch the Light Rail back to Baltimore. Glad you made it home safely, Tom.
After a quick stop at the Loch Raven Dam, I started to focus on the climb up Satyr Hill Road. I hadn’t climbed it since the last time I rode Charm & Grace, which was September 2011, but I knew it was going to be difficult. The approach to Satyr Hill Road from Cromwell Bridge is a bit tricky and I am happy to report that the motorists were accommodating, despite the heavy traffic. Parts of Satyr Hill near an 8% grade, which is tough enough on fresh legs but near torture after 100 miles. I could feel the burn almost immediately. As I climbed, I imaged Duke shouting: “No Pain!” “No Pain” at me like he screamed to Rocky in Rocky IV. Mike climbed up far ahead of me with apparent ease.
When I reached Proctor Lane, I breathed a sigh of relief. The rest of the ride home would be gravy so to speak, and it was. Mike and I made quick work of Old Harford and Harford Roads. Once we reached Lake Montebello, I split right to take 33d Street home. Mike made a left on Chesterfield Ave. toward his house. Fifteen minutes later I was home, where Nicole was busy making chocolate chip cookies. There’s just nothing like fresh chocolate chip cookies out of the oven after being out in the cold all day. Yet another epic ride in the books. I had a blast. Thanks all… Further Affiant Sayeth Naught.
111 miles, 6,411 feet of climbing, 15.24 mph moving avg.
PJ’s pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8917725…7633088713719/
Bob’s pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos