Last year’s run of this route brought out a big group and with perfect cycling weather and a date deep into the season, this year was no different.
A group of 7 started from Carroll Park to get their 200k credentials for the day and the pace was quick. We got to Dixon Observatory at about 7:35- fine for me since there were ride sheets to get signed and socializing to be done. 25 total riders at the start. I guess I’ve been offering up these club century rides for long enough that most everyone there was familiar to me, but most I hadn’t ridden with since last year. There were a lot of big quads and ultralight bikes so I figured the speeds would be on the high side. They were.
Janet G. was too eager to wait for the official start and blew out a few minutes early with Renee and Tiffany. The rest of us snaked our way down the BWI trail passing the morning’s joggers and dodging the tots on tiny bikes. A few turns later brought us down Crain Hwy- not so bad on a Sunday morning, but you wouldn’t want to ride it during the week. Crain bridges over to the smaller shady rollers. This route is so nice because it’s a great combo of fast/flat/sunny roads and shady/twisty/rolling roads. I “pride” myself on riding at an average speed no faster than 15 mph. For this first stretch (a long one at 31 miles) I was finding myself frequently riding hard at the front of the pack. Some of this was voluntary. Some was from a natural inclination of riders to follow the leader, and I was the leader. I admit it was fun, but I knew it couldn’t last. As the group made it’s right turn onto Muddy Creek rd, four miles from the rest stop, a break away group formed. They had seen Janet G. and were game to catch her. I pushed to catch up and couldn’t do it- too fast for this randonneur.
We made a quick break, knowing that lunch in Chesapeake Beach was less than 20 miles ahead. I knew there were many other riders behind us, but I figured we’d fully re-group at lunch. Off we went. Within a few miles we were catching glimpses of the water. We twisted around along the shoreline and into North Beach. My friend Maxine yells to me from a corner. She’d intercepted the group and was planning on riding the 2nd half. What a treat.
Lunch was long and leisurely for me and there was much mugging amongst friends on the sidewalk in front of the sub shop. Most riders finished a quick meal and were off to manage their own way back. We waited until the “lanterne rouge” riders arrived and got themselves a quick bite. With ample time to finish the ride, our slowish group rolled south out of town, made a right at Summer City blvd and began the steepest climb of the day. We rolled, climbed and ground out the miles as we moved west and north. I mostly rode with John F., and Alex, both new ramble riders. David caught up to us not long before the 75 mile break. I made a bee line for the shaved ice across the street. Isaias, Maxine and Dave2 quickly arrived with a drop-in rider, Jack. After a little rest we headed off to knock out the final miles.
John and Alex pulled ahead, Max peeled off early near her home, Dave, Dave and I traded places with Isaias and Jack until the end of WB&A rd and the end of the official ride at BWI. The two Daves and I headed back to Baltimore- a nice and uneventful ride home. The real kicker was Dave’s sneaky plan for those of us in the caboose- a trip to the pool and some beers from the fridge. Ah… riding bicycles doesn’t get much better than this. Thanks all.
(the pics below taken with Dave2’s camera were snapped by me and Dave)
The big group along Crain Hwy
Dave1 near the start, but probably already thinking about the pool and beers at the end.
There is a lot of vast farmland in AA county
Mugging at the lunch break.
Isaias, Dave2 and Jack at the 3/4 break.
Why so serious guys? Back at BWI start.
The jerk in this car nearly brushed a couple of us along Dalrymple rd. I noticed the car at the next intersection and snapped a pic of the license plate.