It’s been 3 years since I’ve been out on the Chesapeake Beach route Bob designed for us. After our experiences going through the south side of Baltimore last month I’m kind of over those routes right now but the urge to get out with the group was enough to overcome that. I was having problems deciding how to approach the day. I need a long ride to prep for Gettysburg on one hand. On the other hand, a shorter ride from the airport would save me riding through the rough roads on Baltimore’s south side but then there’d be no hope of intersecting for a beer anywhere. I sat on the couch Saturday evening looking at routes and crunching the numbers to try and make a decision about what to do. With an early start and a bit of luck I figured I could time it just right to have a drink when all was said and done. After much deliberation I decided to stash the truck in Hampden and roll out from central Baltimore.
I was up and out of bed at the ungodly hour of 4:30. I had all my stuff laid out for a quick exit from the house. With good preparation, I was on the road, through the Dunkin’ Donuts drive through, and on 95 before 5. Weather looked great with no rain and only a little wind out of the south. I thought I was running behind schedule but hit all the green lights and ended up leaving at 5:45 on the nose. Coming Down Monroe St. I had my point and shoot at the ready and the sun was just coming over the horizon but all the great views I had seen on previous trips that I wanted to capture eluded me for some reason. Past Carroll Park, down and out of the city on Hollins Ferry and other standard roads south to the airport I went. After going around the loop and stopping at the observation area for a quick 2 minute bathroom break I started off on the official route, still in “keeping ahead of the day” mode.
The morning was beautiful and the ‘track conditions’ were excellent. Just a few miles shy of the first rest stop I was coming down the hill on S. River Clubhouse Rd. when I saw some kids with a lemonade stand set up. One of Hoss and my rules of the ramble is if you see a lemonade stand you have to stop and buy a glass. I locked up the brakes and pulled over for a few minutes. Given my stop just 5 minutes earler the gas station was kind of redundant at mile 45. I made my 1st Control by 8:53, texted home and headed out.
Along the next stretch I saw a guy on a Disc Trucker with a Burly trailer. Didn’t look like he was loaded up to go too far, but he might have been going on an overnight. We exchanged hellos and I kept going. A little while later there were turkey buzzards on side of the road in the weeds getting breakfast. I didn’t see them and they didn’t see me until the last second. When they tried to take off I got my scare of the week when they flew right into my path. Let’s just say they have a bigger wingspan than it looks from far off. Just before I rode into North Beach along Franklin Gibson Rd. I passed a group out for their morning ride descending while I was climbing. “Good Job” the lead rider called out as they passed. It was a long time anyone had said that to me and probably the most appropriate moment for it in my entire riding career. After a little more pre-lunch climbing it was a short coast into town.
[Subway Control: 10:11 mile 65] I Brought my sub and sat at the table stretching and eating. Didn’t lollygag but also didn’t rush. Finishing up, I refilled my bottles, more than a little amazed that I still hadn’t seen anyone. I haven’t been in this situation before. I had 2 choices–hang around and hope to keep pace on the way home or start out and dial it back a bit on the return trip. Given that the group might be at the other rest stop right now for all I know it made sense to ride and let myself get caught. I’d run the first half of the day at a 15.2 moving average so there was plenty of time to back off and still make it home in one piece. “Maybe I should send a text or an email out” I thought… No, they’ll catch me. And even if they get the message, I’ll be on the bike and I won’t get it.
There is the one steep climb riding inland from Chesapeake Beach on Summer City Blvd. It was steep, but nothing like what I’ve been dealing with for the past 6 months around here so I put it in low-low and spun it out nice and slow. I stopped for photos here and there–most of which did not come out, some which did…
[Royal Farms Rest Stop Control: 12:19 mile 91] Got my gallon of water and ice cream – sitting outside on the curb stretching I watched a group of 3 round the corner and up the road without stopping. Lead group? No clue. All afternoon I saw riders out and wondered if they were part of the group who maybe took the 70 mile shortcut only to have them make a left ahead of me where the cue called for a right. I wanted to wait around a little longer but my legs had other ideas. I kept getting little twitching cramps and my hamstrings were basically saying “if you’re not done, keep moving.” Oh well. I loaded up my bottles, put a note on the remainder of the gallon of water I brought and headed out.
Back on the bike I kept spinning a little easier. The tailwinds I was catching here and there seemed to be making up the difference. Around mile 115 my bottles were getting low and I knew there wasn’t any water at the airport so I stopped again and picked up a pepsi at a gas station on WB&A Rd. It was cold and tasted really good. Only a few minutes from the airport I didn’t stop for long. The next miles went without incident and I was back at the observation area 15 minutes later. [Airport Control: 2:32 mile 119] Like the last rest stop I tried waiting around a little bit–walking this time instead of sitting. I recognized a few cars in the parking lot and was starting to think “I could just take a nap here and beg someone for a ride.” No dice–legs say gotta keep moving.
Trip north from the airport was the same as it always is. Only point-of-interest was that they finally paved over those damn tracks on Warner…
I cut across to Light St. for some reason and ended up stuck in traffic because of a street festival that was happening, then getting held up again trying to navigate through the Harborplace area. Charles St. and the Jones Falls were smooth sailing. I was back at the truck finished at 3:59. Just can’t seem to get my timing right. Even though I didn’t sync up with the guys I still feel like I earned the beer so I drove home, stretched, got a shower and took the missus out for dinner instead.
Distance: 135mi | moving time: 9h4m | total time: 10h15m | avg: 13.1 | mv avg: 14.9 | elev: 7592′