Monument to Monument 2k16

Another quickie photo bomb post. Sunday turned out to be a totally new experience for a ride I’ve done 1,000,000 times before (more like 8 or 9…). Morning greeted us with a steady rain that thinned out the normal crowd of 70-90 Monument riders to an intrepid group of 10 or so crazies. It was sad to see a low turnout, but the upside was that the D.C. approach was a breeze with low traffic both on and off the trails. We all had to keep our wits about us as the roads were slippery from the rain. A few minor wipeouts, but no injuries to speak of so all was good. I rode strong most of the day and my only incident was bending the cage of my front derailleur on a bad shift 5 miles out of D.C. I had to ride in my small ring for 20 miles or so until I could bend it back at the final rest stop. Great riding and company with all and we rode the entire day as one of the most compact groups I can ever remember. After we said hi to the Baltimore monument 1 last time we did a victory lap up Charles and had a round of beers at One World. A great day and I hope to see you all again soon!

** UPDATE >> Bob’s writeup & pics HERE Thanks Again! **

Point-to-Point 2015

Yeah, I know this is a month late, but it’s been a busy one. Bob’s ride for December was a reworked version of the Point to Point route and we had a great time with it. Details elude me and sometimes I wonder why I even bother trying to write stuff down but I should have at least made time to put some photos up.

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Near the start @ Fort McHenry.

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As far as words go, all the descriptions really start to blend together after a while…in a good way…catch up with friends…meet new ones…set out by bike to distant lands…get 2/3 the way there and wonder how you’ll get back…take a break to eat something and feel better…get your second wind…power through and have a drink when all is said and done.

Unlike all the other ones, the points in Point-to-Point give this ride a staccato rhythm which is hard for me to grapple with. Everyone makes each destination and we hang out for a few minutes–then ride hard (for me anyway) to the next destination. That described the morning. We sat down to lunch and I was cramping up in the back of my leg (bicep femoris or vastus lateralis). I started moving around the restaurant, ate some food and was feeling better about life by the time we were ready to move. The afternoon went at a much more typical pace. Most everyone else raced off. Andrew, Charlie, and I swept the route clean. We met up in Fells Point to hang out for a few minutes just around sunset. A great day and I feel guilty for not calling attention to it sooner. Side note that it was great to see Isaias, Maxine and Charlie again!

Permalink to all the pics for the day is here

I’d say see-y’all next month, but that’s already happened.

Pancake Interception 11-2k15

Another run on my fave route. First time with the Salsa! Andrew and I met up about an hour ahead of the rest and took off. We made good time and only stopped for about 5 minutes at the Sykesville Convenience store rest stop.

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We stopped a bit later and took some photos at Andrew’s request. (He was running the route in reverse at this point)

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And then breakfast. Everyone else showed up about 20 min later:

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With relying on my phone for a camera, I haven’t been taking too many shots while on the go lately. Here’s one I had to stop for…

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The long stretch went pretty well this time around. I’m noticing that each time we ride this a little bit more of the gravel is disappearing… We had a bit of a headwind for the morning and we turned out of it at just the right time. Before I knew it I was catching up to the rest of the group.

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I really need to start making better food decisions:

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We ripped through the last 20 miles or so with just a bit of a tailwind to help us along and had plenty of time to meet up at the taphouse in Mt. Washington for oysters, fries and a few beers. Always a good time, but this one was especially good.

Numbers: miles – 100 | moving avg – 13.2 | overall avg – 11.8 | elev gain – 7664′ | Here’s the rest of the photos: flickr

Monument to Monument 2015

Given everything that happened in Baltimore this past week, the Monument ride was touch-and-go. In the end it looked ok. My 5th trip was with a great group and everyone rode strong! Quick rundown: Ride to D.C. Trails, Say hi to the monument, Sandwich, Trails, Ride back, Say hi to the monument in Baltimore, Beer.

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IMG_3256The camera was rattling around inside my bag and changing its settings for some reason this month so most of my pictures were blown out. The remainder is HERE. I made spoke cards again this month. They turned out ok too…

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96 miles – same average as always – great time. I was a little more wiped out than normal by the experience. We met up at Joe Squared afterwards and shared a few pitchers of that aforementioned beer – forgot what. It wasn’t until I was sitting at home that I remembered to take a pic and notes so i can start my ‘brewvet 2015’ challenge. Oh well.

Thanks Bob for keeping a great tradition going!

Pancake Intercept 2015

Bob held a ramble ride out to Union Bridge yesterday. If you missed it, you missed out. 5th trip around the pancake loop for me. Fantastic weather, good company and the best roads in the Baltimore area made for a great day of riding after what seemed like an endless winter.

IMG_3121We met up at Starbucks.

IMG_3134Andrew, John and I made a great sweep team for the beginning half of the ride.

IMG_3138We made it to Union Bridge in time for some breakfast…

IMG_3138 - Version 2Closeup of the last shot. I produced a set of spoke cards for this ride and had a great time with it! Here’s a full size shot of the art…
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IMG_3140Then we rode some more. John peeled off for Westminster…

IMG_3144Andrew bumped into some wildlife…

We made it back to Baltimore in one piece. Beer and a bit of dinner with Andrew and Bob – new NEW best day ever. Only 1 complication–before the ride I noticed a bent/torn tooth on my big ring. I bent it straight and it bent back within 25 miles. I had to trim my shifts differently and it clicky-clicked all afternnoon, but the ride wasn’t ruined by it. I swapped it out for the 48 tooth ring I stripped off the trucker a few months back today and it’s rolling again. Not shifting the greatest–works for now. Time to get geared up for Monument to Monument!

Permalink to my photos HERE. Bob’s photos can be seen HERE.
Bob’s Writeup HERE.
100 miles even – 7744′ elevation – 12.4 moving average

Winter Wrap

Been a while. I haven’t been riding that much and am pretty much forever finished building bikes. Gotta have something to talk about before I write something… Took a vacation over Christmas break from work and did some drawing for the first time in about 15 years. My degree is in illustration. Did you know that? Maybe. I’ve mentioned it here and there to folks, but other than that it hasn’t been a focus since I fell in with advertising agencies and started doing production–before I started doing i.t. support–before I started doing web development… You get the idea. Anyway, 2014 was the first year since graduation where I wasn’t overwhelmed with 1 thing or another. It was supposed to be ‘the year’ to do great things and work on some side projects with the intent of going back and taking stock of some of the stuff that I’ve learned along the way and let go. Good intentions, but it kind of fell flat with a bit of injury, illness, work stress and other junk. Normally I work a bit over the holiday and catch up while nobody is in. This year I stopped everything for 12 days and just drew. Nothing good, nothing important, just did. Even on the days I didn’t want to. When I was burnt out I’d practice the guitar or go for quick spins on the trainer.

IMG_2990January 1 sunrise for y’all — here’s to new beginnings…

We were at the beach with friends over New Years. The one afternoon I was doodling in a sketchbook and a friend of about 10 years looked over my shoulder and said “oh, I didn’t know you could draw… That’s pretty good.” Yeh. Gonna do more of that. I stole my wife’s folder and went for 1 ride ‘downey ocean’.

IMG_3021Big wheels and little wheels

I’ve been commuting since I fixed up the trucker with new brakes and some Schwalbe Studs but that has mostly been it. This time last year I was part of a weight loss challenge at work, down about 15 pounds from my current weight and training just about every evening in one way or another. My little art experiment worked well and I’ve been productive again. The other edge of that blade is that I’ve been sitting at a desk with all the time I’d normally be riding. IRONY. What additional riding has been done is described below with 4000 words worth of pictures…

IMG_3061Velo Rando on my shortie ramble ride 2/1

Started out at about 23-25°. My toes were blue by the time I got back to the house after 20ish miles. Totally worth it. After 30 minutes of walking around to jump-start the circulation in my feet, I got back on the bike, rolled over to the Bob Evans 1/2 mile away and had a cup of coffee while the guys finished their pancakes. Went on Amazon that afternoon and brought a box of toe warmers.

IMG_3074Pugsley on a snow day

We got–what–6-10 inches of snow last week? Noice. After the first round of snow shoveling I took some time to roam around on the unplowed roads near home. Good times.

IMG_0579Andrew stops for a break with me on the March Ramble

Even with the snow it was 50 degrees on Sunday and we rode a March ramble with Bob and the guys. I chose not to ride studs. The first 15 miles in the pre-dawn thaw were nail-biters but with a little caution all was well. Starting with coffee in Hampden and stopping afterwards at the Dizz for 1.5 beers I ended up with about 74 miles for the day. We ate lunch in Mt Airy. I rode most of the day with Andrew who suffered from cramps a bit. Still a really good pacer for me. I was finally able to put words to what has bothered me so much about the Frederick route. It’s hilly, but none of the hills are real beasts, it’s just 40 miles of little inclines which chip away at my soul. There’s a net elevation loss on the way home, but by then the damage is done. I kept it together ok and the huge tailwind was a perk. The only problem I had was with my bike…

IMG_3079The Damage

Just over the newly constructed Frederick Rd. bridge at 695, something got lodged in my back fender causing it to crumple up like a soda can. I popped the back wheel off and after a few minutes of tweaking the fender with some pliers we were ready to go. It’ll never be purdy again. Seeing the way this self destructed, my horror at ruining a set of flared Honjos is tempered by the fact that…

  1. this happened at low speed
  2. it was the back wheel.

I got off easy. A sensible purchase of a set of SKS longboards with break-away mounts is in my future.

More commentary on the March ramble available at Bob’s blog HERE.

I took a few photos along the way and you can see them here with better-than-normal commentary.

Till next time…