Another great Ramble in the bag. Last sunday’s weather was very kind to the more than twenty riders who showed up for this ride. That’s right, I did write “twenty”- a record number for the Rando Ramble series.
As you can see above, the corn has grown a bit since I gave this route a pre-ride back in May. This is a newly routed version that is almost identical to this ride on the back end, but very different on the front end. I brought the ride along the western side of the Severn river leaving out the trafficky slowdown of Annapolis. There are a surprising number of rollers throughout the entire ride, but all of them are pretty tame for a rider who’s cut their teeth on Baltimore Co. hills. I remember seeing a lot of corn on the route and usually that means it will be a hot and sunny ride. Somehow, it was not. The farmland was regularly interrupted by cool runs down wandering roads flanked by forest on both sides. The first available rest stop was at the thirty mile point, close to Galesville. When I got there, the facade of the convenience store was almost entirely lined with bikes. The remaining morning stragglers filled in the rest of the spaces.
We pushed off and soon were barrelling along the Bay front and into Chesapeake City. My previously tender Achilles was surprisingly pain free and I cranked up the watts getting into town. Isaias was waiting across from the first lunch option, a bar, and he looked a bit disappointed. I looked in the window and saw no lights on. Damn, there goes our beer at lunch tradition. We reluctantly rode down to the Subway sandwiches, the (yawn) traditional (boring) lunch of many a bike ride. It was great to regroup and chat during lunch and if half of us had been at the bar that wouldn’t have happened. First riders in to lunch were first out and that was good because we were hogging every seat in the place. Once lunch had settled in a bit we were off again.
There are some bigger rollers out of town to the south and the second group quickly broke in two. The air was heating up in the afternoon making us thankful for the numerous shady runs through the countryside around Owings, MD. We made our way back north along several miles of heavier traffic roads with big wide shoulders. With some drafting in a group these roads can be a nice way of getting through some miles quickly and for bringing slower riders along quickly. Isaias held up the middle group at the Bayard rd. traffic circle long enough for us, in the last group, to catch up. For a few miles the two groups rode together, but not for long. As the remaining miles got fewer the pace picked up. We stopped for a very nice and very leisurely break in Crofton, chilling out and chatting outside of a convenience store while the World Cup match played on the TV inside. Back on the bikes, we nudged up our pace just a little more and made it back to BWI in 8 1/2 hours for 102 miles. A great ride and a really nice route, but that wasn’t the best of the day.
The best part of the day for me was seeing all of those riders. I admit it, I’m a bit of a sap. Think what you will, but signing in over 20 riders for the Rando Ramble was really special for me. And it wasn’t just any 20 riders- these were people who wanted to enjoy the day on a bike, to see something new, to be somewhere new, to challenge themselves with the physical terrain rather than with a competitor, to ride at a pace that allows two people to say hello and exchange ideas or at other times, for a rider to ride alone and think about how nice it is to be able to ride a bicycle all day through the countryside.
Thanks Isaias, David, Carl, Janet, Renee, Jon, Joe, Cindy, Ben, Tim, Mike, Jeff, Erica, Martin, Ali, Tiffany, Tom, Gary, Scott, etc.
I had a great time riding with you. Hope we can do it again. -Bob
click picture for captions and larger images within flickrhttp://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649