Smiles at the start of the ride.
The eight riders who took off from Druid Hill last Sunday, knew the weather forecast was for cooler temps and precipitation. The question was, how cold and how wet.This was the third year I’ve scheduled the Four Reservoirs ride. It’s a good ride, a scenic ride, but also a tough ride. Last year we rode the route in the middle of summer. I remember sweating my way up the long slog on Corbett rd near the last quarter of the ride, my legs twingeing with cramps. I thought to myself then that the ride would be much better later in the season. Well, the sweat was not pouring off of me this last Sunday like August 2010. It was replaced with shivering. During the descent to Pretty Boy dam, I was shivering so badly in the cold wet wind that the bike was shaking.
The first third of the ride was the worst of it. The air was cool and dry at 8AM as we headed west through the city and down onto the tree-lined Franklintown rd. The head wind wasn’t bad, but rain sprinkles began wetting my arms as we made our way down Dogwood rd. All of us made it up the 20% climb on Dogwood with difficulty. The road was both wet and recently roughed up (perhaps for future re-paving?) which made the climb a delicate balance of bike skills. Brian and John rolled up the hill efficiently. Peter claimed he was out of shape, but all I ever saw of him was his rear tire. Close behind, I could hear Tiffany, Dave and Dave.The light rain became steady as we crossed Lake Liberty. I was getting soggy and cold. After the bridge I just put my head down and cranked my way to the 1st rest stop at Arby’s. It was nice to warm up with some french fries and fresh coffee. I sensed in our faces some reluctance to continue riding in this weather, however, we decided to keep up the fight and continue on to Pretty Boy and the lunch stop only 23 miles away. The rollers kept coming and we kept climbing. None of them are too brutal, but they are unrelenting on this ride. The roads are pretty and mostly car free. Beautiful Baltimore county farms showed the beginnings of autumn brown. I was leading out the front group with Brian close behind. Nearing lunch, Brian pulled out in front of me and I uncharacteristically grabbed his wheel all the way to lunch. I was getting tired. Brian, Peter and I enjoyed a quick lunch. Dave and Dave showed not long after. John had short-cutted the ride earlier and I assumed Tiffany was ahead of us all. Riding after lunch included the aforementioned shivering downhills. Although the temps were in the 40’s, the streets were drying and the rain had stopped thank goodness. At the back of our group, Dave and Dave were (apparently) tossing the gags back and forth. Brian moved further off the front as I moved ahead of Peter. When Brian, Peter and I regrouped in Jarrettsville, I decided to ride back to town with Dave and Dave. Brian took off alone on the last few miles toward our last reservoir- Loch Raven. The rest of us dragged ourselves up the few remaining hills and into Baltimore. Peter, Dave, Dave and I made good on our plan to refuel on beer and nachos at Alonzos. Great riding with everyone of you. This was a tough day of randonneuring. I hope you all enjoyed the route. Next up: Point to Point on October 23rd
(check out Dave’s write up of the day with much better pics here: http://bikesncoffee.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/4_reservoirs_tour/ )