Pylesville Winter Shortie

This month’s ramble is a repeat of the Pylesville ride from January. I was watching the weather last month and was a little bummed out when I woke up to icy roads and temps in the high 20’s. I don’t have studs and even if I did I don’t have the legs to push them for 80-100 miles. February rolled around and the weather looked much more promising. A week or 2 before, Ken and I had tossed around the idea of riding out from his house as a group, but he sounded like he wanted a slightly later start than me so I made the executive decision to go my own way and map a loop from my front door.

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 7.53.16 PMThe plan…

The plan was to leave close to dawn, get a head start on the rest of the gang and maybe have a chance to hang out at lunch with them for a few minutes. Not committing to the full route or a meetup at Ken’s house meant I had the luxury of hitting the snooze button once AND brewing a cup of coffee while getting my stuff ready in the morning. 7:40 was early enough for me to get out the door.

As I rode the first miles, I kept scanning for signs of ice. It was definitely cold enough, but I think most areas were pretty well treated and there were even dry spots here and there. Lots of melt from the sides re-froze overnight so caution was definitely in order for the day. No bombing the twisty descents for me…

My ride started out around the back of Harford Glen, climbing up Stockton towards 152, then west to Carrs Mill Road where I picked up Bob’s route. The morning was uneventful in the best way riding along in solitude for a few hours. Cloud cover was near 100% which cast the entire landscape in monotone grays. I kept seeing vistas and old barns which I could imagine would make a magnificent photo with the right lighting but today it was all flat. It was just as well because I left my good camera at home and I really needed to focus more on riding.

When I got to the Exxon rest stop I was only about 14 miles in so I quick ate a Clif bar and kept moving. The next 22 miles were more of the same — only a little quieter the further I got from Bel Air proper. I’d churn up a hill, and pray for a straight run-out on the downhill to enjoy some speed. Sometimes I’d get lucky, more often than not I was trimming the brakes the whole way down.

I approached the lunch stop at Amaroso’s around 11:20 still feeling strong. My reward for the morning’s riding was a good one…

IMG_0386first bread I’ve had in 40 days

A toasted chicken parm sub really hit the spot. I stretched while I ate and relaxed for a few minutes. Checking my phone I saw an email from P.J. he sent an hour before from the Exxon. They shouldn’t be that far behind. About the same time I was finishing up the Baltimore crew pulled in and started stacking up their bikes. Still no word from Ken. I had been sitting for about 40 minutes and was starting to get itchy to ride again when Ken pulled up. He had a late start and had been trailing the group since he left his house. We talked about paces and he told me he was going kind of slow. I didn’t believe he was as slow as me, but said if he didn’t mind matching speed I’d be glad to hang around for another 20 minutes or so and ride the afternoon together. Turned out to be the best decision because Ken was really great company for the afternoon.

About 5 miles out of lunch while discussing our routes I suggested that he follow me back to my house rather than splitting for home at the tail end of the loop. Then we could go out for a beer and some apps at Duclaw and I’d give him a ride home in time to catch the SuperBowl. Conversations ranged from the scenery, nutrition, and Ken pitching me on quantifying my training effort by picking up a heart rate monitor so I can stay at my aerobic threshold. We looked to be fairly well matched for the afternoon and chipped away at the northwest part of the loop together. Somewhere around Old York Rd. he pulled me off course to show me a really nice diversion – Hutchins Mill Rd. – and we went about a mile out of our way just to see the sights.

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 2.08.17 PMHutchins Mill starts to the right of the track around 52 and put us out on Hess rd. at the bottom

We got back on-route and looped around to Bel Air again along Manor, Sweet Air, and Patterson Rd. before connecting with Bob’s route for a few miles and entering Bel Air from the south along Connelly Rd. The reward for the afternoon’s riding was equally as good…

IMG_0388First Beer I’ve had in nearly as many days…

6:26 we pulled into his driveway so I got him home with 4 minutes to spare. Thanks to all for the great day on the bike!

Distance: 74.1mi | time: 6:31 | mv avg: 11.3 | elev: 6541′

Link to PJ’s photos from the lead pack…

Link to Bob’s photos for the day… and his writeup!


One thought on “Pylesville Winter Shortie

  1. Pingback: Deep into Harford County | The Rando Ramble

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