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Patuxent River Views

by on September 18, 2011

This Ride: 128.2 miles
Month: 498.2 miles
2011: 5,615.6 miles
Total since 1/1/2010: 11,735.3 miles

Clint and I worked out a plan to ride a relatively new 200k permanent route on Friday (September 16th).  It is called Patuxent River Views and it shares some of the Sailing Down to Solomon route in southern Anne Arundel County and Calvert County.  Clint and I were ready to go at 7:00 am, with the coldest weather since early May.  Our start was at 48° F and it was very long before we got much above 60.  Even so, Clint wore arm warmers the entire ride, while I stripped down to short sleeve Jersey and bike shorts once the temps hit 60.

Less than 3 miles into the ride, I flatted.  This was the first flat I had since February.  I couldn’t find the sharpie, and worried about the tire the whole ride.  It held.

As we started, we watched a fantastic sunrise, and the quality of the morning light really was spectacular in the cool air.  The route was quite familiar at first, but soon we turned off the well-worn roads to get a view of the Patuxent.  We traveled along some beautiful country roads, and saw spectacular homes.  At one point, Clint commented about how this road felt like a road to a castle, and soon, a home as grand as a castle was in view.  A four car detatched garage was bigger than my house.  Eventually that road petered out to nothing, we crossed a path next to a gate, and we continued on a narrow road that eventually widened and led us to our first view of the water.  As soon as we saw the water, Clint wanted a photo, but was willing to wait the 1/2 mile to the deck on the water for the first information control.

Maybe one day I'll look like a cyclist.

There were a lot of information controls on this ride, and some of the SPP folks counted that against this ride.  It may make it harder to do this ride fast, but the information controls are mostly worth it, as the views from the controls are pretty nice ones.

As Clint and I pedaled along, there were stretches where we talked a great deal.  In fact, we went right past Control #4 and had to back track because we were engaged in a lively conversation and completely missed the cemetery on our left.  We both contributed well to the navigation of this unfamiliar route with frequent turns.

We encountered quite a bit of storm damage along the route.  Chainsaws were a constant hum.  We saw many trees uprooted, and no small number of homes with blue tarp roofs.  The hurricane and then heavy rains a week later really impacted roads and homes.  We did not encounter any closed roads on this ride, but there were stacks of brush/tree debris at nearly every home.

At Broomes Island, we encountered a driveway with a traffic light at a couple of homes, and this parking meter that was one of the controls. (You can’t read the answer to the information control from this angle.)

Luckily "expired" applies to neither of the riders, although invisible would describe Clint.

At mile 72 we stopped in Dowell, MD for a quick lunch at Burger King.  The manager couldn’t get over these guys who were in a “bicycle race” that decided to stop to eat at his establishment.  He was telling the employees all about the race.  We only said we were on a bike ride, and I don’t know where he got the rest of the story.  I did catch one guy giving Clint the once-over from head to toe and a scornful look of disapproval.  Spandex seems to have that power, especially if you are off the bike.

Coming up out of Dowell we were once again on very familiar roads as this route uses Sailing Down to Solomons route.  Before we got to Chesapeake Beach, we slipped over to Breezy Point for a view of the Chesapeake Bay and quite a climb out of town.  Both Clint and I got phone calls at the same time.  He took his … I skipped mine.  It wasn’t a number I recognized.

On our way to North Beach, I commented to Clint about the need to watch for deer in the fenced-in area outside of town.  I’ve often seen deer there.  We saw 2 bucks.  Clint managed this photo.

Soon we were at North Beach and just had to stop at Sweet Sue’s.  We are accustomed to Sweet Sue’s being mile 95 on the Sailing Down to Solomons route, but here it was at mile 107.  We had a fresh from the oven muffin and I bought a gluten-free eclair for my daughter.  It mostly survived the last 20 miles of the ride intact.

Regular riders of Sailing Down to Solomons would be surprised at how close some other towns are near the bay.  Most of that ride is in rural settings.  Here we dip into the small towns a little more frequently.  We made our way to Deale, then had a quick 10 mile dash to the finish.

After a quick chocolate milk, I loaded up the bike and headed home.  Clint and I met with spouses later for happy hour at The Back Room and had a nice extension to a great day.

We set no speed records, and in fact, this was an average ride for me.  I know Clint could have gone much faster, but it was nice to simply spend a day on the bike with a good friend.

I’d recommend this ride to any Randonneur, but I’d also suggest planning ahead more than for Crista’s rides.  The route owner took several days to coordinate our registrations and get us the control cards.  Plan ahead!

As far as I know, we are the first SPP Randonneurs to ride this route.  I’m sure we won’t be the last, since the start is only 30 minutes from home, and there are some very nice views of water and homes.  The first half of the ride could be called Southern Maryland Home Tour.

My Garmin device malfunctioned during part of this ride.  It showed me stopped while I was riding (for about a mile) and at one stop, showed me going between 1 & 2 mph off and on during the break.  That’s why some of the numbers don’t jive.

Next 200 k I’m planning is Wallops Island (Reversed) overnight on October 14-15 as a warm-up to the Seagull Century on October 15th.  If all goes well, I’ll ride 225 miles between 7:00 pm & 2:00 pm the next day.

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