Sunday was Rando Ramble day! I’ve been all over the place lately with just about everything, so I really needed a long ride to reset. The Gettysburg Campaign is a big route – 130+ miles with the ride to/from the start and over 8k of climbing. The destination and the terrain made it all worth it. As usual, I was out of bed early and we met up with the guys at the Common Ground for foodstuffs.
We started out from Druid Hill Park, and rode straight out Park Heights & Hanover Pike. A real easy route for people like me who hadn’t woke up enough to handle complex turns. Most of the pack pulled ahead, and I rode the early miles to the first rest stop alongside Ken. I made the first stop short and just ate a few hash browns before pulling out ahead of the group. Most everyone left right behind me and passed me before I got to the PA line.
As mentioned in the caption above, PJ & Wenjian turned back at the MD line, and I stopped to bid them farewell. I’d clearly let the entire pack get a huge lead, so I just took my time and worked at chipping away the miles into the wind. I stopped for photos here and there. I rode strong, but felt no desire to try and catch up. It was relieving to not feel pressure to keep a pace but at the same time despairing to be out there riding under the assumption that the lead pack sat down to lunch 1 hour ago. Whatever initiative I had to ride hard was pushed back by the wind which really kicked up after the route pointed west past Hanover. I had shades of my 3 Glens ride 2 years ago when everyone pulled out of the first rest stop and that was pretty much the last I saw of them. I kept at it and before I knew it I was in Gettysburg.
After riding through the West side of the battlefields past the 20th Maine monument and up the back side of Little Round top. I came into town for lunch at the Garryowen Pub. No real surprises here. Kind of wanted a cold sandwich, but they didn’t have anything on the menu, so I settled for a grilled chicken sandwich with some sort of spicy mayo. It was pretty good. Conversation from the group mirrored the riding preferences — spirited, and I wasn’t sure I had the energy to keep up so I just munched on my fries and stretched my legs.
The one cool thing about this route is the lunch stop was strategically placed on the north side of town. We traversed both the east and west sides of the park getting a view which was 100 times better than what I saw on the Civil War Century route. I pulled out from lunch behind Bob & Justin, but ahead of everyone else as a middle-group of 1. The back pack passed me when I stopped to take a photo of the westernmost point on our journey. I snapped a photo of them instead.
As Dave #1 would say “The natural order of the ride has been restored.” I assumed my sweep and rolled on in silence. Everything up to the mile 90 rest stop was just chipping away at the route through beautiful countryside. The only diversion was my stop at the tractor show and pull along the Maryland line. I rolled around for a few minutes enduring strange looks while browsing the vintage farm equipment on display. I love this stuff.
Cross-winds were prevalent, but the westerlies had lost their teeth by this point. There were a few occasions where I thought to myself “When exactly DOES this route turn east?!?” Finally it did and I was in for a treat with a HUGE tailwind. There aren’t too many occasions where I get to ride along uphill, one-handed, fiddling with a camera at close to 18mph. I figured I’d get some evidence of that too.
I arrived at the last rest stop where everyone else had pulled in safely ahead of me. I’d dispensed with questions of how far behind I was at this point partially because I stopped caring, and partially because repetition bruises the soul.
Justin was hurting from a mis-match in saddle and short choices before the ride, so he hung back a bit with me at an even pace for the final 40. We rode nearly the whole route back to Baltimore before we pulled through an intersection and saw Bob waiting in a parking lot for us on the other side with a smile on his face and an ice-cream bar wrapper under his foot. We chat for a few secs about our options for the final approach and where we’d end up for beer and set out to get home. I snapped this pic of us all in the window…
From that point we ditched the official route and cut across Mt. Washington as the winds blew a freak storm in. We climbed Bellemore and ducked into Alonzo’s for a pitcher of Resurrection Ale and some nachos just a hair before the rain set in. We celebrated our triumphant return and wished Justin luck as he’s leaving us for the Carolinas where he’s starting a satellite ramble group.
Numbers: 9:20’ | miles – 130 | average – 13.9 | elev gain – 8500′ (which threw consistent data for the first time in like 10 rides.)
I rode the whole day strong, and at my own pace. From the way I felt for the next few days, It’s apparent that I’ve become a master of balancing effort in every muscle group over the course of long rides for sustained output. Nothing was injured, but I definitely pushed pretty much everything from my arms, legs, and core to the limit and felt pretty whipped on my commute Monday and Tuesday. Equipment stuff’ll have to be a separate writeup. Some real good, some bad. Only point of interest here is that I’ve been debating picking up a small waterproof point-n-shoot camera to bring on rides. Instead I decided to steal wifeys’ and I’m glad I did. It came out of the bag much more than my g11 would so I actually had some fun with it this month. If I drop it, I’ll get you a new one.
Final word: I think I’ve got a new favorite route. If not, the Gettysburg Campaign is definitely a strong contender.
My Pics for the day here…
<update> Jack’s report from the lead pack perspective here…
Hope to catch you all next month!