Loved this ride.
As often happens with the Rambles, the fun began before the ride began. Andrew rode with me to the Carroll Park start. Andrew seemed unfazed that he was going after a ride of over 130 miles after having finished his first century only a few weeks before. No problem, right?
Nearing the park, I began seeing cars with bikes on racks. I thought, “hmm… this is a lot of riders for the Ramble”. Once into the park I noticed the signs directing riders to the start location. Wow! Wait a minute, the Ramble doesn’t have signs, this is the Tour dem Parks ride starting in the other corner of the park. Andrew and I sit down on bench and wait for more Ramblers.
Several familiar faces, arrived most notably, Dave2 on his new ride, a Specialized Shiv. There is always a breadth of bike styles on our rides and I like that. However, this may be a first for a rider showing up on a aerodynamic carbon time trial bike. He got the new bike for good reason: he’ll be attacking the Lake Placid Iron Man Triathlon in July. Amazing. GO DAVE!
Our little group pushed off to begin the day at 7AM as the ranks of TdP riders began to build. Volunteers waved and wished us a good ride not realizing we’d be putting in a 135 miles on different roads. TdP is a great event, BTW. I’ve ridden and volunteered for it several times in the past. However, I’ve gotten spoiled by riding self-supported routes- I find them more exciting and they’re free. As we pedaled down Washington ave, I glanced back to be sure we didn’t have any TdP riders accidentally following us.
The ride to BWI was quick and uneventful. The sky was beautiful and the temps were still cool. The parking lot at Dixon was filled with bikes: groups of friends, families, other bike clubs and many Ramble riders ready to join us. A still recovering Janet G. buzzed into the lot and shouted “OMG, I’m so late”. She signed the ride sheet and was off with the rest of us, down the trail and south to Crain Hwy. Jeff and Nigel brought some friends along and they increased the pace as we hit New Cut and Gambrills rds. I thought of all the miles yet to ride for the day and knew we’d regret this early pace. I rode behind Isaias and figured he’d slow down soon. He didn’t. Along Muddy Creek rd I saw a young man waiting along the side of the road. As we neared, I realized it was Barry C. We yelled halloo and he quickly hopped on his bike. He’d started early and kept ahead of us until now. When we got to our 1st rest at Galesville I found out that many of the fast riders were not riding past the 50 mark so there was no need to be going so fast. Tiffany, on her fixed single speed caught up and passed us. Janet too, caught up and passed us. Barry pulled up a few minutes later.
There are fewer than 20 miles between Galesville and Chesapeake Beach. It’s always exciting to catch the early glimpses of the water. Andrew, riding strong, was still smiling. Lunch was at Subway and they were busy. I took a long lunch. I didn’t mind chatting with everyone. We left together as a big group towards one of the biggest hills of the ride, Summer City rd. At the top, there’s a nice long meandering roll down Dahlrymple. Love that road. The temp was certainly heating up. Jeff Adler and friends slowly pulled ahead. I remained with the C group still moving at a steady 14mph. I got to chat with Mike H and Dave2. Andrew was still visible behind us. He was smiling, but slowing on the hills. We stopped briefly at a “rest stop before the rest stop” gas station. We’d caught up with Isaias. He and the rest of us looked a bit over heated. I knew what I needed: a snowball from the official rest stop. We met another Baltimore Bike Club group who’d already finished their ride and was carpooling back into town. Great crossing paths with them. It was then I noticed a bottle of water with a note: “Ramble water -D”. Whoa. What could it mean? There was no one with a D initial in our group. The answer, I found out later, is HERE
Our C group stayed together (mostly) for the final miles. As our energies faded, we each took time drafting and more efficiently rolled through the beautiful wooded roads of Anne Arundel county. Jeff and some other riders were packing up their bikes in the parking lot as Nigel, Dave and I rolled into Dixon. I spied another snowball stand and said to myself, “oh, what the hell, I’ll have another”. Andrew rolled up a moment later for another quick rest. Then began the ride back to Baltimore. Andrew was still smiling, but I could see some pain in his eyes too. This had been a long day. He led us through the difficult stretch of city between pigtown and midtown. Finally we were on familiar Falls rd and back to Hampden.
Thanks to all the riders on this route. Another great day in the saddle.