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Severna Park to Ellicott City

by on August 14, 2010

This Ride: 56.7 miles (2,618 feet of climbing)
Kona Distance: 2,729.2 miles
Month to date: 390.3 miles
2010 Total: 3,195.6 miles
Pace to 5,254.8 mile goal in 2010: (120.3 miles ahead of goal pace)

I’ve heard about the Ellicott City rides for quite some time.  There are hills, I’m told, and when the names of those hills are spoken, certain awe and reverence fills the air.  Some who lead these rides make sure that it’s not just Lawyer hill, but Hilltop and others that are ridden.  I wondered how tough it really could be.  I got spanked.  At least I never had to get off the bike and walk, but that’s because some of the big hills were skipped.

I knew I was in trouble early in the ride.  Not only did I barely get out the door in time, but the pace that was set early was at the top end of my range.  My heart rate hit 166 within the first 5 miles of the ride.  That kind of heart rate severely depletes my reserves later.  But that wouldn’t be the last time on the ride I spiked those kinds of heart rates.  Our speeds on the flats sometimes were around 27 mph in the paceline (when Jeff was pulling).  At those speeds, if you don’t hang on to the wheel ahead of you, the same effort might generate 22 mph, meaning they are leaving you behind quite rapidly.  I experienced that several times.  Catching up, if the group doesn’t slow down, is nearly impossible.  Not knowing the route makes it even more of a challenge.  I did miss one turn for a few seconds until I saw one blink of a taillight nearly half a mile down a different route.

Lawyer hill was a killer.  “It is only .6 miles in length”, I was told.  They didn’t tell me that it ranges between 8-10% grade for that more than 1/2 mile.  I don’t have the “granny gear” working properly, so that made it even more interesting.  I wasn’t the last one up the hill, but of the 8 riders I think I was 6th … a long way back.  We stopped for a while to watch both the start and finish of a time trial that was all up hill.  Remind me to never race someone who lives in Ellicott City.  They climb hills for fun.

We had a nice stop in Ellicott City for a civilized cup of coffee and banana.  The group split leaving Ellicott City 2 groups of 4 riders each, mostly because my group was slower getting off the benches.  We traveled through Patapsco park which was quite lovely.  We crossed two bridges that were about 4 feet wide and 60-80 feet above the water.  I’m not afraid of heights, but this was a little unnerving being clipped in on a bicycle over those bridges.

We met up with the other half of the group shortly after the trip through the park.  I don’t know how they got behind us, because we even stopped at a restroom in the park.  We were together again for a few miles.  Somewhere after the long fast pace south of the airport (that’s a place I noticed Jeff pulling us at 27 mph) it was harder and harder to keep the group together.  Three of us were constantly off the back.  The leaders waited for us a couple of times, but I’m sure grew quite frustrated with that.  As we came to Burns Crossing Road, Dave and I waited a bit for a rider we knew was behind us somewhere.  When he didn’t show, we rode back down the hill from where we had come for over a mile, but couldn’t locate him.  We abandoned the search, climbed the hill again, and the two of us kept each other company for the last stretch back home.  At least Dave knew the route, because I was completely unfamiliar with the area.

This ride has me doubting my ability to stay with the Ocean City ride at the end of October.  That is 2 1/2 months away, but still, this ride was a killer without the hills.  Unless I can seriously increase my fitness level and my speed, I’m afraid that ride won’t be fun at all.

Jeff told me this would be a fun ride.  I’ll let you know next week whether it was fun or not.  Right now, it doesn’t register fun on the meter.

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From → Cycling

2 Comments
  1. The O.C. ride is FLAT. Last year it drew a very large, diverse group (18 riders I think) and held a fairly disciplined peloton most of the way. One group did break away for a while and they wound up putting in some bonus miles when they missed a turn, since the Navigator in Chief stayed stayed with the pack.

    Don’t set your expectations for O.C. based on Lawyer’s Hill, though I’m disappointed to read of another example where the “no drop” rules were stretched a bit.

  2. Chris permalink

    I have never done the OC ride, but I have FULL intentions of doing it in October. I expect that there is more of a “peloton” mentality with many of those riders. If not, you can ride at the back with me.

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