A Perfect Roll into Spring

In Search of Liberty BBC bike ride

Four riders rolled out of the the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore on Sunday for one of the most pleasant century rides I’ve been on in many months. the weather was partly cloudy and the temps were cool at the start.

ALL of us rode to the start. I love that. Janet and I had it the easiest, living only a couple miles away. Isaias rode in from Essex giving him a extra 30 miles total for the day and Ben rode in, as fresh as could be, having come all the way from Wheaton (at least 35 miles each way!) These are riders who love to be on their bikes, not to just “knock out” a club ride.

It was far too warm to worry about ice this morning, but the drop down to Franklinville rd made Janet and I glad we had on knee and arm warmers. Next up- Dogwood hill. We all managed to grunt our way up its initial 20% grade and still have enough power to grind up the 1/2 mile remainder. This was the wake up hill. I spend a lot of effort preparing my routes and cuesheets. I admit, however, that the climbing quotient is one of the last things I look at and I only make changes to avoid hills if they can be made without damaging my original intent for the ride. That said, there was NO way to avoid a considerable amount of climbing on this ride. And, the first third of the climbs were these sharper, inconsistent hills and difficult descents.

After a long descent into old town Sykesville Janet dropped her chain. Some cursing and coaxing managed to get the chain back where it belonged, but Janet now had a sexy chain grease “tattoo” on her calf. I joked to her that we better not run into any young fixie boys or they’d start flirting. As we made our way farther west towards Libertytown, I noticed that there seemed to be more car, bike and ped traffic on the roads than when I had ridden my weekday check-out ride. The temps were cooler and the sun was stabbing through the clouds and I think everyone wanted to be out in it.

Ben had been far out in front, but within sight for most of the ride up to this point, but now I wasn’t seeing him. Isaias, Janet and I crested Dollyhyde rd hill and Janet asked, “What’s the plan?” She was referring to the nasty dog at Dollyhyde and Emerson Burrier roads who had chased me and another riding buddy many years ago and who rivaled that earlier nasty chase with another during my check-out ride. That snarler had spooked me enough that I looked hard for a detour. There was not an easy one. And, dammed if I’m going to omit one of the best secluded riding roads of the whole route because of this crappy unleashed cur. I left the route alone and added the cue: “CAUTION: Dangerous Dog”. As we neared, Isaias and I showed our chivalrous nature by deciding to stay on the “dog side” of the road thus protecting Janet and her enticing grease-stained calf. The lip was up on a full water bottle ready for the encounter and… nothing. Perhaps he was out pressing spring flowers or reading Emerson under a willow. We were fine to forego the chase.

Not long after the long beautiful roll into Libertytown, there is a one mile section that is unpaved as well as an easy detour on the cuesheet. It’s sort of a randonneurs novelty. I had ridden it on my check out and liked it. I mentioned to Ben that I’d probably take the unpaved section, but changed my mind and stuck with Isaias and Janet on the detour. Unbeknownst to us, Ben had taken the unpaved section and was waiting for us at a corner that was just out of our sightline. When we arrived at lunch in New Windsor, seeing no Ben, we assumed he had ridden on ahead. Alas, he was still waiting for us a couple miles back.

We got lots of waters all around, good quick food and Isaias and I finished off a couple of beers at the New Windsor Inn. Can’t ask for any better lunch on a long ride. Janet announced she was paying. Isaias and I didn’t put up too much argument. As we were getting prepped to go, Ben walked in confused to see us. He was clearly faster than all of us that day so he told us he’d eat quick and catch up to us after lunch. I filled my bottles and we left Ben behind again heading out of New Windsor back to Baltimore.

The afternoon riding was still peppered with rollers, but was considerably easier. We were clearly descending. Janet had been worried about her strength for this ride because she had ridden so many fewer miles during the snowy winter and Isaias had ridden a hard ride the day before. I, on the other hand, was on fresh legs and didn’t mind taking long turns at the front. The ride back was getting windier, although mostly a cross breeze from the southwest. When we got to the 80 mile break there was still no sign of Ben and we were a bit concerned, but we rolled on through Baltimore county finally cresting our last climb, Lake ave. to Roland. Janet thanked us for the ride and peeled off at 41st street. Isaias and I rode back to the start for a rest. We talked and watched the rowdy summertime fun in Druid Hill when up rides Ben. he had probably been fairly close to us before the last break, but made a wrong turn and fell too far behind to catch up. Well, at least all were safe.

Thanks all. Great ride. See you on April 4th for the next Ramble.         -Bob

More photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/27976837@N00/sets/72157623674315680/

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About randoramble

long distance bike rider
This entry was posted in In Search of Liberty and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A Perfect Roll into Spring

  1. NoRacer says:

    Sunday’s ride (and pix) as told by the ride leader, Bob Wagner – BBC’s In Search of Liberty #cycling

  2. NoRacer says:

    Ben, you wimp! LOL! Just kidding. But, I did ride to work Monday and I just put in an extra few miles this morning (Tuesday).

  3. Anonymous says:

    for the record, i ended up driving to work today.

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