It never ceases to amaze me how many different ways Bob has found to criss-cross the counties outside of Baltimore putting together great routes to keep us entertained all day. This month we get treated to two. Our first and most difficult one (4 Reservoirs) was Sunday to start the month off right! Dave #1, Bob and I made plans to meet ahead of time for bagels at a place on Cold Spring Lane since our usual spot was out of commission. I got my wires crossed reading emails the night before and ended up setting my alarm for 5:45am. Rather than hitting snooze or resetting it, I just got up and milled around for a few extra minutes making coffee at home. I finally stepped out the door about an hour later to realize that summer 2.0 is officially over. With the temperature hovering around 39-40°, I raced back inside for wardrobe modifications, grabbed my long pants and a windbreaker to layer over the 2 layers I already had. Looking at the weather archives for outside Baltimore, the warmest it appeared to get was in the vicinity of 45°. It felt a LOT colder.
I was late to breakfast, but had enough time to grab something before we bolted to the start and first reservoir – Druid Hill. Bob described the ride before-hand as a “benevolent beast” and I can’t argue with his assessment. With 7500′ + of advertised climbing, we sort of knew what we were getting into. From the start we broke into our predictable groups. The twin Daves ran sweep while everyone else cruised ahead. We started getting our work out of the way early with Dogwood – the steepest incline. First we climbed the large hills, then the petite hills, then the large hills again… To quote Bob once more, “By lunch time, Dogwood was a distant memory”. Our trip around #2 – Liberty, up to #3 – Prettyboy and the lunch stop knocked off over 4500′ plus 90% of the WNW headwinds we saw all day.
no mountains, but LOTS of little spikes…
Pavement was wet and I had 2 spots in the first 3o miles where I hit a turn and the back end broke loose a little bit. I was lucky enough to lay off the brakes and steer into it for a recovery both times, but it was a sober reminder that I had to cool it on the descents and just enjoy the view rather than trying to carry all my momentum into the dreaded uphills. Ride smooth was my motto for the day from then on.
(Click on any photo for larger)
I originally wanted to grab a picture of each reservoir as we passed it, but I was at cruising speed every time we came to a bridge and I had a nice vista. I’ve found that most of my photos come at intervals half-way up hills when I need to take a break or out in front of a mini-mart. I also kept waiting for the sky to clear up and be a nice backdrop for the scenery, but it was just flat gray from dawn to dusk. So where was I… holding together pretty good, but when we left the lunch rest stop – I was frozen to the bone on the first descent – teeth chattering and all. I’ve never been so happy to see a climb on the second half of a ride in my life. 10 minutes of chugging up the hill on the south side of Prettyboy and I was back up to normal operating temperature. Second half went smooth, and aside from a headwind crossing back over Loch Raven Reservoir, the wind was at our back when we needed it most.
Another nice thing about the route is that by mile 85 or 90 we were back in my familiar territory. The ride always goes a little easier for me when I know my surroundings and have a frame of reference larger than the next line on the cue sheet as to where I am. Dave #1 and I finished the day strong together and we met with Bob and Peter back at the start to congratulate each other for our mildly efficient riding by blissfully wasting an hour or 2 over beer and nachos before heading home.
Numbers: 7:46’ | miles – 98.6 | moving avg – 12.7 | overall avg – 10.5 | elev gain – 7602′ (everything from the etrex. I’m sick of putting batteries in both the transmitter and computer for the cateye wireless. If you want one I’ll trade it for a mug o’ beer. Actual distance was about 102, but the gps didn’t get a satellite lock from the coffee shop where we started out.)
Check out the virtual recording of the route with the garmin connect data here.
Bob’s writeup here…
Final Word: ≈500 feet more climbing than the Civil War Century, no free foodstuffs every 25 miles, Cold/Wet weather and I still finished averaging nearly 1mph faster. The day after, my legs feel a little cooked, but not too bad. The commute was bearable this morning. As raw as it was outside, I haven’t had a more perfect ride on the bike in many months. Thanks for a great day guys! Hope to see you all later this month…