Michaux Gravel Grinder

Andrew had the good idea to ride some gravel today…

38 miles¬†|¬†4520′ | maybe more words later. I gotta sleep now…

…While riding we joked about how these things happen. He’s been excited about riding out in Michaux for a while now. On Thursday or Friday he emailed our regular group and tossed the idea of driving out there a go. I was a little sketched out about the elevations but didn’t want to squash his enthusiasm so I “checked YES” and sent a reply. I went back to look at the RWGPS track and immediately started to regret my decision. These mixed feelings of excitement and regret continued straight up through the moment when we started to pedal away from the car. Andrew told me he was going through a similar process of hesitation and unwillingness to back out after he sent his original invite. Shout out to great friends with crazy ideas because if it wasn’t for that I’d probably never get to the trailhead by myself. Once on the bike we were greeted with some of the most gorgeous (and brutal) terrain I’ve ever ridden through. The mystery person who designed this 80/20% unpaved/paved route really had us off the beaten path…

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We’d be rolling along on some beautiful well-maintained back road and the gps would ding. Off to the left there would be a barrier with a muddy double track fire road. This happened more times than I could count. The one road was muddy-fresh from the rain and barely passable (documented in photos 8 & 9 above). The crushed rocky section I took a picture of was actually the EASIEST part. For most of it I was caught in a muddy tire rut pedaling for my life. I said to my self “Self, you can take a picture if you have to clip out but until then keep pedaling.” Somehow I made it through in one piece without stopping.

Around mile 22 we were on a screaming descent for what felt like forever. Half-way down I started to think “This is going to hurt.” Lucky for us the worst of the pain was on the rutted paths and 11% grades behind us. At the bottom, I looked at my map screen and realized that we were basically going to climb straight back up the same mountain on another pass. Going was much smoother here and when we finished descending a second time we were nearly home. There was an on-road stretch at the bottom of the loop that was flat/rolling. Knowing we were about 5 miles from the car I hit it as hard as I could. I wish I had left a little gas in the tank because at the very end there was about 2 miles and 300 feet of climbing–just enough to completely finish me for the day. We changed out of the muddiest of our clothes and hit the road with time to grab lunch/dinner in Frederick and be home long before sundown.

Thanks again Andrew for making me work for my Saturday. It was a blast!

Monument to Monument 2k16

Another quickie photo bomb post. Sunday turned out to be a totally new experience for a ride I’ve done 1,000,000 times before (more like 8 or 9…). Morning greeted us with a steady rain that thinned out the normal crowd of 70-90 Monument riders to an intrepid group of 10 or so crazies. It was sad to see a low turnout, but the upside was that the D.C. approach was a breeze with low traffic both on and off the trails. We all had to keep our wits about us as the roads were slippery from the rain. A few minor wipeouts, but no injuries to speak of so all was good. I rode strong most of the day and my only incident was bending the cage of my front derailleur on a bad shift 5 miles out of D.C. I had to ride in my small ring for 20 miles or so until I could bend it back at the final rest stop. Great riding and company with all and we rode the entire day as one of the most compact groups I can ever remember. After we said hi to the Baltimore monument 1 last time we did a victory lap up Charles and had a round of beers at One World. A great day and I hope to see you all again soon!

** UPDATE >> Bob’s writeup & pics HERE Thanks Again! **

Codorus s30o

We got out for a bit this weekend and rode. I know I’m not going to have time to write stories so I’m just linking to the photos and supplying the metrics. Good time and beautiful weather for a weekend out in the woods! I’d write more but I have to choose between that and getting stuff done around the house so I’m free the next time an opportunity to get out presents itself (which I hope is real soon).

Photos: click for the flickr || (update: gallery 2 here)
Metrics:
129miles, 8849′ of climbing, more gravel roads than I could count.

Short ride for the cold days

Finally feeling a bit better. I’ve been riding the trainer a bit over the past week but haven’t had the desire to get outside beyond my commute. Andrew had planned for a longer ride out in the county on Monday. Given the wind chills I had no real interest but didn’t want to leave him stranded because I had previously committed to do it. We went back and forth a bit, finally settling on some ’round the city riding followed by a quick pint of beer and sandwiches at the Dizz.

From the start I wasn’t feeling it at all. By the time we got to Mt. Washington I had warmed up both figuratively and literally. I asked Andrew if he wanted to tack on 1 or 2 extra loops but I think he was getting cold about the same time I reached peak operating temperature. I have to work harder for the hills so that makes perfect sense.

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15ish miles, 1200′ climbing and 1 wrong turn. It was the perfect amount given the weather. It would have been a bad day to venture out in uncharted territory as my Garmin kept cutting out.

p.s. Don’t know if it was the cold or what but my Coffeeneuring patch started to peel off. Going to have to break out the needle and thread…

p.p.s. Finally switched out the studded winter tires on the trucker today.

I’m 0 for 1 this year.

This post is about precisely the reason I think New Years resolutions are total b.s..

For a while I’ve been thinking it’d be neat to do the ramble equivalent of an r-12 and ride every month. I’ve done 8 or 9 but never a sweep. In rolled 2016 and with it a mania of goals so why not make this year the year?!? Bob had On-Again-Off-Again scheduled for the 10th so I could get it started in style. It is one of my top 3 and I haven’t caught it for at least a year.

We traveled for New Years and I brought home a cold virus as a lovely parting gift from the festivities. I took it easy during the week but didn’t give it much thought because I normally shake off bugs pretty easily.

By Wednesday evening I knew this one was different.

The rest of the work week was not an improvement. I went home from work early on Friday to try and rest up. I NEVER call out sick. All Saturday was spent trying to let the cold run its course. I was still holding out hope that I’d get some riding in and did most of my usual prep that evening. Even if I didn’t do the whole thing I was thinking I could park at the NCR trailhead and shove off from there. Maybe get some hills in on the way there or back. Of all the routes Bob has, this is the easiest one to short and still make a good day of.

Overnight my head cleared out and I actually woke up around 5:30 or 6–awake but definitely not 100%. I was still thinking really hard about going out to Paper Mill or even Monkton and riding up to New Freedom. I set about doing some dishes left in the sink from the night before. If I can handle sanitation duties then I should be good for 40-60 hilly miles of riding right? Looking out the window at the fog, I started to daydream about the views I’d miss. Vistas obscured through a thick veil. I’d seen it all before, but it’s always fun to revisit. It was all mine for the small entrance fee of a little effort. I wasn’t sure I had it in the bank this time. There was a tiny angel on 1 shoulder telling me “It’s ok to take a break every now and then” and a devil on the other reminding me that I’d have no good stories to remember on my deathbed if I didn’t take a little risk now and then. Lucky for me they were both shouting at exactly the same volume and canceled each other out. By 9am, the moment passed when I knew I didn’t have time to grab my stuff, drive out to the trail, ride (slowly) to New Freedom, and catch the guys for part of lunch.

I definitely made the right (non)choice to bail. 1 hour on the trainer yesterday afternoon at 1/2 power was enough to make my lungs burn and give me a light-headed feeling that I never get from even my hardest efforts on a normal day. Couch surfing for a few hours was a much more appropriate use of my time for once and my trainer ride was STILL more than the average mall-dweller manages.

I hear it was super warm. I didn’t go outside so I don’t know. Looked sunny and bright for a while around noon. It was super windy at points. The sky opened up again in the afternoon a few times. There was epic to be had for sure but this time I’ll just daydream about what might have been and hope for some entertaining ride reports. Maybe next month’ll work out better. I’m definitely not going to wait for next January and the tacky party hats to start over.

Point-to-Point 2015

Yeah, I know this is a month late, but it’s been a busy one. Bob’s ride for December was a reworked version of the Point to Point route and we had a great time with it. Details elude me and sometimes I wonder why I even bother trying to write stuff down but I should have at least made time to put some photos up.

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Near the start @ Fort McHenry.

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As far as words go, all the descriptions really start to blend together after a while…in a good way…catch up with friends…meet new ones…set out by bike to distant lands…get 2/3 the way there and wonder how you’ll get back…take a break to eat something and feel better…get your second wind…power through and have a drink when all is said and done.

Unlike all the other ones, the points in Point-to-Point give this ride a staccato rhythm which is hard for me to grapple with. Everyone makes each destination and we hang out for a few minutes–then ride hard (for me anyway) to the next destination. That described the morning. We sat down to lunch and I was cramping up in the back of my leg (bicep femoris or vastus lateralis). I started moving around the restaurant, ate some food and was feeling better about life by the time we were ready to move. The afternoon went at a much more typical pace. Most everyone else raced off. Andrew, Charlie, and I swept the route clean. We met up in Fells Point to hang out for a few minutes just around sunset. A great day and I feel guilty for not calling attention to it sooner. Side note that it was great to see Isaias, Maxine and Charlie again!

Permalink to all the pics for the day is here

I’d say see-y’all next month, but that’s already happened.