I fretted over clothing choices for this ride more than any other ride this year and I got it wrong.
I arrived at the Washington Monument last Sunday while still in the dawn light to ride my first century of the new year. “to Frederick on Frederick” is a ride that could be reduced to just a few turns, but I did my best to complicate it by using Frederick rd on parts and Old Frederick on other parts as well as by using the Ellicott City Trolley trail and Edmondson ave as a nice approach back into Baltimore.
Ben, Isaias and I were dressed for the morning weather- high forties, with a 20% chance of rain. We managed to catch almost every red light on our way our of town. The rain began as occasional sprinkles by the time we got to Ellicott City and built up to a steady light, but very cold rain all the way to Mt. Airy. I suspect it was my fault as I hadn’t brought a rain jacket or water-proof bootties. My feet were complaining loudly about the cold wet weather. We stopped in Mt. Airy for hot coffee. In the bathroom I squeezed water out of my socks and stuffed towels into my shoes, then sat near the fake fire. It helped… until we went back out. Into the cold. Into the wet. My white socks became gray with road filth. This was not fun. But hey, long distance biking is more than just fun. Right?
None of us had fendered bikes so we were forced to keep several bike lengths apart or get a face full of road spray. It could have been worse- it was never a real soaking rain. And, by the time we rolled into Frederick for lunch the rain had peetered out to almost nothing. We had a nice meal and hot tea at “Beans and Bagels” on Patrick st. I squeezed the socks out again and got some plastic bags from the counter. I wrapped up my feet well in plastic before stuffing them back into my soggy shoes. This system has limited effectiveness. Your feet will not stay dry because of sweat build up, but It will slow the chilly evaporation from wind during the downhills. It worked out fairly well for the ride home.
Isaias was running 40mm tires and had not given himself a day off before the ride (surprised?) so he was a bit power starved on the hills. He would drop back on the upsides and have to play catch-up on the downs. This route doesn’t offer much flat ground- it is just big long rollers that give you no choice but to power up and over or fall back.
The skies begain clearing and cooling as we neared our return visit to Mt. Airy. Ben, a very strong rider with great stamina dropped behind me. Wha?, I thought to myself. Did he do that on purpose? Then I looked back and he was behind Isaias. At the top of the next climb all three of us realized the source of his slowdown- a gradual flat. So, we gave the bikes a rest while Ben changed a tube and pulled a sliver of brown glass from his tire. Then we were off for the last leg.
Rolling down the long hill into Ellicott City is always welcome. We took the lane out of safety from all the pedestrians and cross traffic. EC was charming, as usual. We veered off of Frederick up to the Trolley Car trail. Isaias and I had ridden this once before with our friend Charlie and Ben had never heard of it. The trail is a meandering paved path up a gradual climb eventually dropping you out at the western end of Edmondson ave. A much nicer approach into Baltimore than climbing the steep and trafficky Frederick ave at dusk.
Ben peeled off at Rolling rd to continue back home to Wheaton. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention? Ben had ridden to the start from home, adding at least 75 miles to a 98 mile ride! You can guess where his stamina comes from. Isaias and I bounced our way through west Baltimore’s road hazards and arrived into the cluster jam of Ravens fan traffic. I was a friendly ride leader and stuck with Isaias for a few very slow blocks, then shot north back to Hampden.
Another great Ramble. Thanks guys.
more pics here: to Fred on Fred