the group leans against gusting winds on Defense Hwy
I don’t know about you, but I had a great day riding my bike on Sunday. The reconstructed 3 Glens Ride is a great route and the diverse group of friendly riders made for a wonderful day of bike riding. Eight riders showed up at the Baltimore start. Five more joined us at the 2nd start at Dixon/BWI.
We set a quick pace on the first leg down to Crownsville along the WB&A rd, Burns Crossing and Generals hwy. The morning traffic was light. After a quick break we turned right along Defense hwy, tree-lined, but with a bit more traffic, more hills and headwinds. I was a bit apprehensive having chosen to ride my Surly fixed-gear bike, but at the this point I was riding easy and efficiently. I wondered how I’d feel at the 75 mile rest stop.
While rolling along nearly traffic-free Beaver Dam and completely traffic-free Research rd, I managed to chat with Carl who I hadn’t ridden with for quite a while. Jeff, Ben, Peter, Carl and I rolled into Greenbelt for lunch at the New Deal Cafe and the rest of the group, moments later. Kudos to Charlie for suggesting this wonderful cafe in Greenbelt. They had ample room for our big group as well as our bikes outside. They had quick, friendly service and great food. Charlie had mentioned to me in an email that they also had a great beer selection. Since we’d gotten there so early, they weren’t serving yet however, it was afternoon (barely) by the time we finished up our meals. Dessert was Loose Cannon served in pint glasses- tasty, fresh and hydrating.
Still digesting lunch, we were were back out into the sunlight and rolling down the largely unmarked Greenbelt Lake park trail. This beautiful path is unpaved, occasionally muddy and technical for a rider on skinny tires. Ben led out fast and I did my best to keep him in sight. I worried I might hear some grumbling from some of our riders, but none came. In fact, I noticed only smiles as I snapped pics when the trail widened north of the lake. This group had the right temperament for the Rando Rambles. We crossed rt. 193 into Berwyn Heights and up to the crossover at the MARC train tracks. There were a couple small sections of this ride that I was not familiar with and this was one of them. I was assuming that the crossing was okay based on Charlie’s word and google’s maps. Hoping not to make an ass of myself I slowed as I neared the overpass. Whoa! Up we went onto three inclined levels with tight switchback turns, difficult but rideable. It was too much for me to be able to get my camera out. As I rolled upward on one level, I could glance over at the tail of the group riding in the opposite direction coming up the lower level. Crazy fun. Here’s a pic of the structure from googlemaps.
From here we moved north on Rhode Island and crossed rt. 1 onto Montgomery road. Rather than taking trafficky Montgomery all the way north, we detoured down Selman catching the Little Paint Branch trail north. It was short but well worth it with lovely forest on both sides. This was another Charlie suggestion- thanks Charlie. The diversion was nice because soon we were bucking the worst of the headwinds and climbing for ten miles of Briggs Chaney and New Hampshire rds. Jeff and I traded pulls at the front of the group. I studied the patterns of splatter on the back of his bike and remembered the mud back at Greenbelt Lake. Finally we pulled out of the wind and onto hilly Haviland Mill rd. Jeff and Jack slowly pulled away from me on the steep hills. I could tell I was slowing. My legs couldn’t take the high cadences that they were capable of earlier in the day and I was also losing some of the slow cadence power for climbing. Jeff and Jack eased and I caught them again just as we pulled into Glenelg.
We re-fueled, watered and re-grouped here. Everyone looked tired from that stretch, but were still upbeat knowing that the last 20 miles would be mostly downhill. Off we went, down Triadelphia and then down Frederick and into Ellicott City. I waved goodbye to Jeff, Jack, Nigel and Carl, then Harry and I began the long slog up Trolley Trail #9. This trail is a super nice way to climb out of Ellicott City, but it’s a long climb nonetheless. The grade forced me to get out of the saddle every few strokes. I just couldn’t maintain my speed on the fixie while seated. Harry and I chatted at the top for a couple minutes and watched as the last of the group caught up. We said goodbyes to Charlie and Justin as we rolled into town on busy Frederick rd.
Dave, Dave, Peter, Harry and I couldn’t get enough. We locked up our bikes outside the Golden West bar in Hampden and went inside for some more- ahem, dessert.
Thank you all for a great day in the saddle. Hope to see you again soon. -Bob
Many more pics from the day here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/27976837@N00/sets/72157629155733128/with/6810430…