To Taneytown

How ’bout that rain? I’m getting vicarious pleasure checking out the dry roads in these pics of 2013’s Taneytown ride. Well, rain or not, the calendar tells me it’s time to start pushing for bigger rides. To Taneytown it is.

I changed a few things about this route since WE LAST RODE IT. It’s a pretty ride through woods and farms, over hill and dale– a classic Carroll county route. We’ll be on a few unpaved roads (~5mi) and there will be a lot more climbing than M2M.

I’ll hope for dry weather, but I’m not holding my breath.

DETAILS:
To Taneytown: 109 mi., 6100ft.
Date/Time: Sunday June 5th, 7:50AM meet-up. 8:05 exit
Start: Rawlings Conservatory Druid Park STARTMAP
Route Map (click EXPORT for GPS files): ROUTEMAP
Cue Sheet (print one, or ask me to bring an extra): CUESHEET

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Old Frederick rd bridge in 2013

 

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Summit of unpaved Jasontown rd.

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Stone Chapel rd? Warfieldsburg rd?

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The 2016 Monument to Monument ride

It was about what I expected: cold riding and a steady light rain as I rode from Hampden down to the start of this year’s M2M. Not comfortable, but it could’ve been colder… and, wetter. When I got to the start no one was there. I envisioned riding to DC alone. Through the rain, John and Marcia rode up. Then Tom, Che, and Dan. PJ and Dave finally swung around the corner. Everyone looked well-prepared for the weather and the ride. As we rolled out down Cathedral st, Dan and Rod joined us. And, that was it: a small and dedicated group of ten. We would ride the entire 97 miles, staying almost entirely within sight of one another.

All of us rode strong and steady. I didn’t hear a single complaint about the weather. The roads were slick and we had two slips that were thankfully not serious. I wound up being the unlucky one to get a flat (through a kevlar belted tire no less). Every one waited patiently while I wrestled with a tire which hadn’t been off it’s rim in ages. The group calmly negotiated a closed section of Metropolitan Branch Trail due to a train derailment on Sunday. We quipped, we told stories, we rode quietly and we enjoyed each other’s company. Thanks all.

 

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Would I be riding alone?

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Marcia, Che and John at the start.

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Dave, riding strong on River rd.

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The group on beautiful Race rd.

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The distinctive mud stripe.

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Dan, along the Anacostia trail

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train derailment along the Met Branch Trail

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PJ, Dan, Rod and Marcia on 3rd st. approaching the DC monument.

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Smiles all around. Dan, Dan, PJ, Marcia, Che and Rod.

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Rod northbound on the NW Branch Trail

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After ride beers taste so good.

More pics of mine (click to enlarge):

 

Check out Dave’s blog post and pics here: Bikes n’Coffee
Couple of nice #bikem2m shots I found HERE

 

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the Rain Game

M2M is no different than any of the other Rambles: it is a day-long adventure. Tomorrow’s ride will be approximately equal parts: rainy road riding, easy trail riding, standing around talking to your friends. Not too bad. I’ve been happy in the rain and miserable in nice weather. Which you want is up to you.

Bob’s brief thoughts on rain and tomorrow’s ride:

  • You WILL get wet, don’t worry about it. Dress warm esp. wool.
  • Put your cue in a ziplock bag and don’t use it. (unless you’re lost)
  • Lights, lights, lights. And, good batteries and bright clothes.
  • Flat-proof tires are VERY nice. You don’t want to fix a flat in the rain.
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Brock Bridge rd on the 2008 Monument ride

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Barry C. and Josh (?) watching a car ford Brock Bridge

 

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M2M starts HERE

 

Check out those pics of the M2M bike pile in 2009 and then the one in 2015. I bet the number of M2M riders has increased ten-fold in 6 years. That wouldn’t have been possible without us challenging our friends and riding buddies to come on out and ride it. I love that.  It also wouldn’t have been possible without this blog.
Why? 
  1. This blog links M2M to the numerous other super-awesome Ramble rides:
    Check them out. Ever ridden Frederick road all the way to Frederick? Ever ridden to Chesapeake BeachGettysburgHavre de Grace? How about a different route to DC?
  2. This blog gives you info for completing those other rides: Most of the other Rambles are more adventurous than M2M and you’ll appreciate the advice.
  3. This blog archives our ride reports: These are the stories that inspired most of us to start riding self-supported century rides in the first place.
So, tell your buddies about the Ramble blog. Stay in touch by signing up for email updates here, or liking RambleFB. Then scroll through the posts to find another route you’d ride this year.
Share your experience riding M2M 2016 using #bikem2m or send me pics or links to your blog.
Details on the ride HERE.  See ya on Sunday, May 1st!      -Bob
2009

Bikes at 2009 lunch stop.

 

2015

Bikes at 2015 lunch stop. (with a lot more around the corner)

 

 

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It’s Monument Time

Ramblers,

Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again: Monument to Monument time.
This year’s ride will be on Sunday May 1st.

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Full of smiles: riders on River rd from May 2015

M2M is a 97 mile round-trip single day ride from Baltimore to Washington on lightly trafficked roads. We keep it slow and steady, enjoying the company of fellow riders and the excitement of arriving in another city by bike.

  • Date/Time: Sunday, May 1st 2016. Meet at 7:45AM. Leave PROMPTLY at 8:10AM
  • Start Location: Baltimore Washington Monument
  • Map/GPS: M2M Map/GPS  (click “export” in upper right for GPS)
  • Cue Sheets: M2M CueSheet
  • Cost:  None. Bring $ for lunch and snacks at local businesses
  • Assistance/Sag:  None. (except help from fellow riders)
  • YOU RIDE AT YOUR OWN RISK

WHAT’S THE RIDE LIKE? M2M is a little of everything. There will be fast and slow riders, skinny and fat tire bikes, racers and bike party people. Last year there were over 75 riders. We ride a steady average pace of about 13MPH. There are some hills, but none more strenuous than a long ride through Baltimore. The roads to DC are as safe as riding in Baltimore. Most of the route is surprisingly scenic and the DC trail system is very relaxing. We’ll stop 3 times: a break at the 25 mile point, a lunch at Union Station in DC and a break at the 75 mile point. I will bring cue sheets, but mostly you will be following ride leaders. The main reasons why riders are unable to finish M2M are: crashes due to inattention, not having the fitness and experience for riding a century, and bike mechanical breakdowns. Be prepared.  IMPORTANT! READ THIS BEFORE RIDING M2M

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Tough Decision. Great Ride.

At 8AM, PJ, Tom and I, hadn’t quite decided on whether to ride. The winds were fierce, but predicted to ease up by 10AM. The beautiful blue skies hinted at the possibility of great weather. Each of us, individually, decided to ride.

I was concerned, but reminded myself that the first few miles of the route wound through protected neighborhoods. We had several safe miles of riding before we got out of town. It was hard riding, concentrated riding, but not out of control or dangerous. By the time we crossed Loch Raven Reservoir without issue, it was obvious we were committed for the full day, as difficult as it may be.

The geography was hilly which was taxing on the legs. It also protected us somewhat from the hard wind. 2500 ft. of climbing in the first 30 miles, but with a lot of beautiful distractions. Green rd with it’s fantastic curving drops and lovely tree-lined properties, breaking out in spring blooms. This was what I had been wanting.

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Forsythia and blue flowered Vinca vine breaking out on Moore’s rd.

The roads were peppered with downed tree limbs. I was thankful that the wind had already brought down the loose stuff many hours before. Curtains of leaves would shoot across the road ahead of us showing us it was time to brace for an oncoming gust. The small amount of vehicle traffic we encountered seemed to give us a nice wide berth. As we rolled in to Jarrettsville around 10:30 we were noticing that the wind had gone from unpredictably gusty at the start, to steady and strong.

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Tom, climbing in the early miles

The next stretch was a pretty one and mostly downhill. Using the unpaved forest-lined Knopp rd, we dropped down to Rocks State Park, along and over Deer Creek. Bounding down Street rd and through Pylesville, we were running downwind on Ridge rd, getting beautiful views of the landscape to the south. I stopped to snap some pics on Walters Mill rd. Tom and PJ were beyond my view up ahead. Deer Creek Church rd is a beautiful one, but I think it took some years off my legs. I was feeling good knowing that lunch in Bel Air was getting close.

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Walters Mill rd.

I expected to be the last rider as I entered Bel Air, but by coincidence and a bad cue, the three of us converged a mile away from MaGerks. We had a tasty, much-needed lunch and then suited up for the 30 remaining miles home.

We used the Ma. and Pa. trail to move out of town. It was scenic and nice to see all the afternoon strollers on the trail. What really surprised me was how confusing the route was and how hilly: almost 400ft. in 4 mi of riding. That’s something for an old train line!

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Verdant rye grass was rippling in the wind.

Once out of Bel Air, the three of us got separated during a difficult crossing of Fallston rd. We were probably within a few miles of one another, but each of us rode alone for the last 25 miles. Such is the funny irony of long-distance riding: frequently we’ll be riding alone, but all together. I loved rolling along Laurel Brook rd and smiled as I hit the unpaved woodsy section of Bottom rd. Beautiful. Just before the bridge, there was a fallen tree that was leaning on power lines. BGE had closed the road, but I could see PJ and Tom’s tire tracks in the grass off to the left. I followed them and was quickly past it.

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Sorry, no cars get through.

Thanks to all the reasonable drivers on Manor and Glen Arm rds. Busy, but respectful of cyclists. Next up was Cub Hill, a real grind, but I knew it was the last tough hill of the day. I made it, and back to the Lake and back to home in Hampden. At 6PM, I was tired and smiling, and the weather was beautiful.

Thanks PJ and Tom for being there. I would not have ridden with out you.

 

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Pylesville (Spring) Warmer

It’s not a Winter warmer any more, but it does look as if it will be chilly (and windy) this Sunday for our ride up into Harford county.

A couple of things you should keep in mind for this ride:

  • There are a few short stretches that are dirt. Deal.
  • The ride is hilly. Not super hilly, but be ready for climbing.
  • This route has 30mi between stops. We’ll take a quick stop in Jarrettsville and then a full lunch in Bel Air at MaGerks Pub (take a look at their menu for quicker ordering)
  • You might want to bring a lock for lunch

DETAILS:
Pylesville Warmer: 91 mi., 5600ft.
Date/Time: Sunday April 3rd 7:50AM meet-up. 8:05 exit
Start: Lake Montebello STARTMAP
Route Map (click EXPORT for GPS files): ROUTEMAP
Cue Sheet (print one, or ask me to bring an extra): CUESHEET (updated 4.4.2016)

I’m stoked to get out on a long one. See ya Sunday.

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