Or as they say, “every day, the same again.” Bob is starting to repeat himself a bit with the rambles, but when you’re having this much fun you have to ask yourself “Does it really matter?” Spoiler alert: the answer is no. We all met up at the Common Ground around 7 for morning snacks. Dave #1 had offered to give as many of us as he could fit a ride to the start (thanks Dave!). Bob, Justin, PJ, and myself all took him up on it. That cut about 28 miles off the total for the day, but It was nice to all end up at the bar after the ride so easily. Isaias showed up a few minutes after us in Cockeysville — kudos for keeping the ‘ride-to-the-start’ ethos alive! Charlie showed up a few minutes after that. From a ride standpoint I really could copy off most of the post from last year. Only a few subtleties in the second half changed from last year right down to the weather conditions (It was slightly drier and warmed up slightly more this year.). The trail had some runners on it in the morning at the start, but nowhere near as many as other times I’ve been out this spring.
I started out thinking that Bob had reversed the figure-8’s from last year and sent us on the loop in the opposite direction because I didn’t recognize the roads at first. Then I hit the sharp little hills on Wesley Chapel Rd. and all of a sudden I remembered the route in perfect clarity as I struggled to keep moving forward in an oh-so-inappropriately chosen gear for the grade.
Charlie & Dave #1 on the trail
Most of the morning went smooth. I’d ride for a bit, stop to take some photos, then catch up. Roads were low traffic for the most part, and we just enjoyed the view as we rolled along. We caught up with Andy and Rita at the Rutters in New Freedom and they joined us for the trip up to York. Again, everything was smooth aside from a wrong turn along the way (which I’d SWEAR we made last year too) and some aggressive drivers once we approached York. Coming into the lunch stop I got distracted by cars behind, cars in front, and bikers all ’round enough to pull past Rita just as she was turning into Genovas. Her bar hit my thigh as I passed, and she went down in the middle of the intersection (sorry)_ Luckily no one was really hurt, but from now on I’m just hanging back whenever we’re riding in a pack. Lunch was fine and I split a stupid-huge cheesesteak stromboli with Dave. Unlike last year I tore through my half, some fries & a few glasses of Yuengling to boot with no afternoon lunch-lag to speak of.
Dave #1 in the far back, me & Bob roll into our impromptu afternoon rest stop. [pic by PJ, thanks!]
We faced a headwind most of the way south from York. The long, slightly uphill stretch of the trail north of New Freedom was especially annoying for me. When we got close to the New Freedom Rutters again, Dave announced he was going to keep rolling and just take the trail back. He was having a rough time most of the day and didn’t want to hold up Bob, who had someplace to be that evening. I had been hanging out with him from the start and enjoying the day but I really had no idea where I stood as far as strength went. I made the decision to quickly get some snacks and peel out ahead of everyone else. I didn’t want to hold everyone up, but also didn’t want to bail on the trail like last year.
Bob, Isaias, Charlie & Justin take a load off while I hit the pavement early. [pic by PJ, thanks!]
There was traffic on the trail that slowed me down in parts, but I ended up riding the last third in style and making it back to the start without being caught by the lead pack. The Trucker really shined today — more-so than any other long-distance ride I’ve been on in the last year. It’s a great bike for the mashup of terrains that Bob threw at us. The fattish tires pumped up to around 70 smoothed out the trail without killing me on the hills too much. I’m getting better at not bringing the kitchen sink along when packing for rides which helps on the climbs too.
Bob rigs up Isaias’ bike to the sag wagon for the return trip [pic by PJ, thanks!]
Squashed in the back seat of Dave’s wagon like teenagers, we all had small involuntary reflexes to turn around and look each time we hit a bump and someones wheel or helmet shifted in the trunk to check and see if the bikes were still attached to the back. We dropped Bob off in Rodgers Forge just-in-time and then stopped for a quick pitcher at Alonzo’s. We weren’t quite as loud as usual — most likely because our fearless leader was missing from the conversation, but we still had a good time for a few minutes before Dave shuttled us home.
Thanks again as always for another great day out! I see DC is already on the calendar for next month. GOOD STUFF!
Numbers: 7:22:47’ | miles – 98.2 | average – 13.3 | elev gain – ≈5k’
(miles/time/avg/elev from etrex)
Ride Data: Garmin connect ( Aside: I’ve mentioned this before, but gps elevation accuracy is sort of laughable. My unit proclaims 5700′, Garmin uncorrected is 6400′ (I don’t even remember what corrected was, but it was another wild swing I assure you.), Ride with gps says 4500′. I like having the unit for turns and cues, but it’s a joke for reliable elevation metrics. I’m starting to get old-fashioned. “How were the hills?” “Legs say they were big, but not ‘4 reservoirs’ big.”)