We all knew it’d be a hot, long bike ride and I’m happy to report we were all up for the challenge. Seven riders left Druid Park in Baltimore, all looking sharp. These days, I feel like I’m in “average” shape. I’ve been putting in miles, but not a whole lot of hard training. So, I was a little apprehensive about how I’d respond to the high humidity, high temps and high altitudes.
On our way out of town on Hollofield rd, we crossed the Patapsco100 MTB race. Now, some people may think the seven of us were nuts, but many of the Patapsco100 racers had started at dawn having until 9PM to finish climbing 16,000ft. of dirt trails in 100 miles. Wow.
I felt the first full wave of heat when we stopped in Sykesville. You can really appreciate the natural air conditioning of riding a bicycle when you finally stop and feel the heat in dead air. Here we hooked up with Tom, who’d just pulled up as well. I vacated some fluids and added a large ice coffee and a few tabs of salt to stave off cramps. Mike and Tiffany took off and the rest of us a few moments later. It felt good to get the air conditioning going again.
The next stretch was a long one, but perhaps the most lovely. We used Obrecht road to continue west, then a slow climb up Fannie Dorsey. I recalled a previous Ramble which took this road in the opposite direction. Dave Hos. and I were able to coast the entire 2 1/2 miles east to Old Washington. Today, however, was the day to climb up it. A nice long roll on Gillis road and then a previously unknown stretch along Roop rd. I loved Roop rd. It was cooler in the shade, full of curves, and full of surprises as well. In fact, when Roop changed over to an unpaved section it was very hard to see the HUGE pothole in the center of the road. Tom must’ve done an acrobatic jump at the last second to avoid doing an endo on that one. The approach to Union Bridge was less tree lined, but we were treated to beautiful farmland, booming with crops. Just before Union Bridge we caught up to Tiffany and Mike, but Pedro had disappeared ahead of us. We didn’t catch him until reaching Taneytown a few miles later. All of us pulled up to Gunners Grill for lunch.
Tiffany and Mike decided to grab a quick bite at a convenience store back in town and continue on. We didn’t see them and I suspect they made the return home safely. The six of us stowed our bikes and took a big table at Gunners. We enjoyed a couple beers (each), some good foods, and many carafes of ice water. The food was brought quickly, the service was friendly and the prices quite reasonable. A good lunch stop for sure. Fueled up, we headed out for the return.
Oops- not so fast. Pedro noticed a flat as we exited the parking lot, spurring lots of comments that Mike had let the air out of his tire to slow him down. A tube fix and we were off again through T’town and south on a long stretch of Trevanian road. Our lunch stop was surely refreshing, but the heat and humidity were at their highest now and the next rest stop was 32 miles away. Somewhere along the beautiful climb of unpaved Jasontown road, I realized that the fun was ebbing. I tried to concentrate on what it might feel like if I were still at home mowing the lawn or weeding, and the climb seemed a little more pleasant. Soon enough we were on Deer Park rd with a little tail wind. Down to the reservoir and another grind up to Reisterstown for the ice cream stop. One scoop of cherries jubilee and a large ice coffee and all that uncomfortableness was gone. Amazing.
It was nice that all six of us were still together as a group. The slowpokes were not too slow and the and quick-pokes were keeping a nice steady pace so we all enjoyed each other’s riding company. The approach into town was using a different route than usual. There are always a limited number of ways into and out of the city, but I like to change it up when I can. We came down trafficky, but tolerable Greenspring road and over Broadway to set us up for the toboggan ride down Falls rd. Very fun. (what was your top speed Pedro? Tom?). Tom, Pedro and Jeff peeled off saying their goodbyes. Mike, PJ and I headed for beer.
Thanks all. A very nice day on the bike.
I’ve got a few more pics here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/27976837@N00/sets/72157634549413141/