Monument to Monument 2010

Out of Baltimore. south on Cathedral st.

The Group rides south on Cathedral st.

I’ve got breakfast in the pocket of my baggy shorts and coffee in my
Zefal thermos and I’m late to the start. (so, what else is new?) Rocking
my way down St. Paul to Mt. Vernon, I begin visualizing who might be
waiting at the start. The weather is great today, okay maybe a bit too
warm, but otherwise perfect and I’m expecting a good turnout for the
ride. I came out of my shell and did a fair amount of promotion on
various forums. There were over 200 views on the Rando Ramble
blog for this ride. On the other hand, my rides have a reputation for
adventure, often exploring the not so smooth and not so easy. This can
reduce the number of riders down to just 2- me and Isaias O’Daniell.
Isaias emailed me the day before and told me he wouldn’t make the
ride. hmm…

Luckily, I don’t have much time to think on it. As I turn the corner
up to the the ride start, I streak past Boson from Velocipede on his
handsome Surly Long Haul Trucker. I announce a “good morning” to the 5
or 6 riders already assembled in front of Charm City’s Washington
Monument. More roll up and by the time I’ve finished my bagel and
mumbled various warnings about the route, I am looking at 13 riders
who’re all good to go. A moment later, we’re off, south down Cathedral
st.

The pot-holed and rippled streets of South Baltimore are always a hard
test of both equipment and rider. By the time we hit Lansdowne and
“the Ferries” (Hollins and Hammond Ferry rds.), we’ve got our first
flat. Jeremy(?) is a ways back but we stop at the crest of a hill and
wait for the tube change. I do a quick examination of my rear tire and
notice that it is also looking really ragged with one large cut that if
it got any bigger would become a quick blow out. I decide to just
dwell on it and nothing more.

The front of the group sees the end of the group coming up the hill
behind us and we’re off again. This will be the M.O. for next 80
miles- ride at a comfortable pace and regroup often. Perfect.

When imagining a bike route to DC most people are probably expecting 
to be on roads like Hammond’s Ferry for most of the ride.
Our next turn onto Race rd is what they are not expecting: a smooth 
and winding tree-lined road with very little traffic. Surprisingly, 
there are many such roads on this route. In the wetter areas, I hear 
frogs croaking and see the turtles that didn’t make it to the other 
side of the street. On brighter sections we pass black snakes warming 
up on the pavement and carve through little swarms of gnats dancing 
about in the sun. Where the hell are we again?

Buttercups along the trail

Buttercups along the Anacostia Trail

Somewhere before our first rest stop we pick up Carl who lives nearby 
and lose Jeremy who was still dogged by flats and called for a ride 
home. The light wind is against us, but we’re going slightly downhill. 
After a long, pretty stretch on Brock Bridge and a few more miles 
through Greenbelt, we get onto the DC trail system- namely the 
Northeast Branch of the Anacostia Trail. This system of paths is well-
maintained and well-used as are the recreational areas surround them. 
Playing fields are filled with baseball and soccer games, grills are 
wafting stomach awakening smells into the air and young kids are 
wobbling riding their bikes beside us on the bike path. Unfortunately, 
the path can’t take us all the way into the city (that’s coming soon 
though). We wander through the neighborhoods north of DC wandering a 
bit more than necessary because our ride leader totally misread his 
own cue sheet at Bunker Hill rd. Near Catholic University, we do a 
quick regroup and stick closer together making the last turns up and 
into Columbus Circle, Constitution ave to Madison, the Capitol Mall 
and finally the Washington DC Monument.

I haven’t had any need to push the pace of this group. Everyone is 
riding strong. However, I am checking my watch and doing some math and 
thinking that we don’t have the luxury to take much time here. Time 
enough though to get the requisite pictures taken for proof of the 
journey. We gather together again and plow through the tourists over 
to our lunch stop at the Old Post Office food court. Lunch was 
uneventful except for all of us setting off the metal detectors with 
our cleated biking shoes at the security gate. With bellies and 
bottles full, we saddle up for the ride home. Two riders decide that 
they are staying in the city so the group is now a bit smaller. No 
issues on the way out of town except one nasty intersection at 1st and 
Florida. The new MetBranch bike trail should bypass that for next 
year’s ride. Thank god.

No remarkable new views on the way home since this is an out/back 
route, but more of the same was just fine with me. Again, lots of 
great people watching through the parks near College Park. At one of 
them, we stopped for a potty break. Boson went in search of water. A 
few moments later he comes back from where a couple of teenagers were 
selling drinks out of a cooler. He’s got water and bright orange fruit 
in a baggie. Mangoes, fresh and cold. Charlie and I both head over and 
all of a sudden there’s a small rush on fresh mango. One dollar per 
bag and damn were they good. That fueled several of us nicely all the 
way to last rest stop in Dorsey.

Jeff had been off the front and out of sight for most of the ride 
back. He was waiting at the last rest stop when we pulled up, but 
after that was pushing the speed again. I was more than happy to team 
up with him and Dave for the last few miles up to Baltimore. After 
loyally sticking together for almost the entire day we began to break 
off into smaller groups going our own separate ways. Charlie and Carl 
headed home from Catonsville area, Joe, Cindy and ?? (sorry, I’m 
forgetting) enjoyed the late day city views coming back into town, 
then headed over to Canton, Rod and Boson cruised back up to Mt. 
Vernon together.

What a great day of riding. Thank you all. I certainly hope to see 
more of these riders in future rambles. Stay in touch.

Boson at the monument

Boson soaks up the DC vibe.

More pics here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/27976837@N00/sets/72157623870661365/

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About randoramble

long distance bike rider
This entry was posted in Monument to Monument and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Monument to Monument 2010

  1. Harry says:

    Nice report GB. I did this route last June solo with full camping gear. Once in DC I headed over to Georgetown and the C&O. As you mention “where are we”. It’s quite amazing, the adventures starting right from our doorstep. I’ll join you next time.

  2. jeff says:

    Oh now the truth comes out! poor Jeff waiting along side the dusty road wondering where the rest of the group was, wondering if they decided to take a different route. Nope the group was enjoying mangoes, oranges and probably relaxing with their feet in the lake. 🙂 Thanks for great ride, look forward to some more.

  3. Joe says:

    Such a great ride. Who would have thought those back roads through not so well kempt areas would offer such pleasant views and environment. I’d highly encourage anyone to do one of Bob’s rides. A definite change from the standard routes and well worth the extra time and effort. Thanks for the ride Bob.

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