Sunday was my 10th century for the year. This month Bob took us on another ride to D.C.. This time we didn’t see any monuments, we just went on a big loop and back for Beer, Fish and Chips.
I woke up on time, but lazed around the house for a little too long and nearly missed the start. Dave #1 was there and he hung behind while I got my act together so we rode the first leg of the trip solo. The day started out going west through Catonsville and across a few local trails into Ellicott City. There we picked off our largest climb for the day up Old Columbia Rd. Moving west and south on Clarksville Pike, we caught up with Justin, John, and Edward who had stopped along the way for a sec. We all rolled on together to the Dunkin’ Donuts rest stop.
The next section was the busy approach to D.C. Lots of roads with fast traffic. The route was broken up by many trails so we got a chance to relax between all the fast sections. The first was in Matthew Henson State Park, which led us in to Rock Creek park and some beautiful low-traffic and closed road/trails. There were lots of local roadies out doing training loops. We met up with Bob and part of the lead group who waited up for us here to roll into D.C. together. This was probably my favorite section for the day. Leaving the park and moving towards Mount Pleasant (I thought D.C. was flat…) the roads got busier, but traffic was fairly considerate. By this point we were all getting pretty hungry and the trip down 7th st. to lunch where we kept hitting all the lights was kind of maddening. I was out of gas, but kept going ok.
Lunch at Fado was great. We all sat around for a while and took our time. Food was good, only prob was that the tables were split up so there wasn’t as much cross-talk as usual.
Pulling my light before lunch I noticed that the left side of the bracket cracked, so I had to move it to the bars and stash the cue sheet for the second half of the day. The question du-jour was ‘how much further’? and I had no idea because I set up my garmin with just the next street name so I’d rely on the cue for distances and to maximize my map area. Coming out of D.C., the group took an unexpected turn and I got caught up enough with watching a turning car and avoiding Isaias’s wheel to roll sideways into a 1/2″ tall curb, pick my front wheel and bowl over on the sidewalk. Lucky for me my now torn up bar-wrap and brake lever caught the worst of it and all I suffered was ripped pants at the knee and a sore right palm/shoulder for the rest of the day.
On the way home we wandered through a few more parks, first Chillum, then Northwest Branch looking for an open porta-john for 10 minutes, then back to the main road through College Park. From there we aimed our bikes for the last rest stop of the day in Annapolis Junction where we bid farewell to Maxine who had left her car just up the road. Racing darkness home for the remainder of the afternoon, we plodded along at the same methodical pace the sweeps were running all day. We gave it our best shot…
…but lost. It wasn’t long after the rest stop before it was pitch black out. I had quite a few miles out of my comfort zone in the areas south of Baltimore, especially along the on-ramps to the Arundel Expressway where I found myself thinking “WOW I’d really rather not be right-here-right-now” in traffic. As usual, I used the IXON as a daytime running light on low and switched to high at dusk. With technology advancing the way it does, my beam is dimmer than everyone else’s now, but it still has a useful pattern and lights up the road plenty for night riding out of city limits. I had “just” enough battery to get me home this time. Usually, I charge up before the ramble and I’m good until next month using the light for commutes on low. This month I didn’t even have enough juice to make it through the Monday ride home from work. Guess I should carry some AA’s till spring. That park section at the end of the ride would have been impossible in the dark. One by one the last of our group headed for their respective cars/homes. Soon it was just Bob, Dave #1 and I riding straight up Charles where we stopped off at ‘The Dizz’ for one round before heading home.
For pictures, you’ll notice there practically are none. There were some sights, but there was always something more pressing to concentrate on than finding a pull-off spot to take out the camera. Reflecting on the tempo, I was truly blown away by the times when I got home and looked at the eTrex. Never would have guessed that I rode the day with a moving average close to 13. Glad we all made it back home with no real incidents or mechanicals. Thanks to everyone for a good ride, have a happy holiday break, and hope to see you all next year!
Numbers: time on bike – 9:08’ | miles – 116.0 | moving avg – 12.7 | overall avg – 10.6 | elev gain – 5427′