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My First 200k of March

by on March 12, 2014

Yeah, it is going to be one of those months where I do more than 1 200k in a month.  This winter has made it tough to get the miles in outside, and it is 45 days until the Fleche and 118 days to Lap around the Lake.

I received an invitation to ride on Tuesday and the weather forecast was 45-65 degrees.  Perfect!  Four of us rode Pastries & Coffee Clockwise, the same route I rode on President’s Day last month with Steve H.

We pushed off as daylight was trying to make its presence felt and quickly slipped into a comfortable pace.  It wasn’t fast, but it was comfortable as we meandered along the rural roads of central and southern Anne Arundel County.  We caught snatches of the sunrise, but only snatches as there was a heavy cloud cover that lingered all day.  I am always amazed at the ebb and flow of conversation in these “group rides” and also the dynamics of who rides together and when.

I kept looking for signs of spring and only found residue of winter in the occasional dirty snow piles and some ice remaining on ponds tucked into the woods along the sides the road.  I found myself longing for the sounds of the “peepers” as the first real harbingers of spring.  It shouldn’t be long now.

Hours of steady riding were punctuated by moments of beauty, wonder, amazement, and grinding up one hill or another.  About 30 miles into the ride, one instant had Janet and I laughing hard as a squirrel attempted a “flying drop kick” on Ravi.  It bolted from the side of the road, launched itself at Ravi, and after making contact with his bike frame ahead of the pedals, re-launched itself back toward the safety of the woods on the right hand side of the road.  Ravi only saw the blur of motion.  Janet and I had front row seats to the spectacle.

We arrived at Honey Haven, about 40 miles into the ride and decided to eat a light meal and rest a bit.  It was there we encountered John Z who was riding a solo 100k that day.  He found a duck head from a decoy along his route and decided to decorate his helmet with the trophy.

John with Duck Head

I’ve learned to eat lightly at these “meal” stops, and so I had a cup of turkey chili and an 8 oz bottle of Coke.  It really hit the spot!  I don’t see many 8 oz bottles any more.  It was just the right amount.

Lunch

Soon enough we were on our way again.  The terrain seemed to flatten out some over the next 40 miles of the route.  I know I appreciated that.  We took a short detour to see where Lynn K and Maile were hit by a car a couple weeks ago.  As we resumed our route, John Z showed up and we rode with him for a time where our routes overlapped.  Soon another 40 miles had rolled by and it was time for another stop for “fuel”.

We stopped at Caribou Coffee in Crofton where I had a tasty Blueberry Almond Oatmeal and a Chocolate Chip Cookie.  I neglected a beverage and suffered for that later.  Leaving Crofton, we also knew that some of the most significant climbing of the day lay about an hour ahead.  The day had warmed up enough that I went to short fingered gloves and had no hat under my helmet.  That was  a nice departure from all of the cold weather we’ve experienced this year.

I noted significant differences on this ride compared to three weeks ago.  Around the airport we were able to use the trail on this ride.  Three weeks ago the trail was snow covered.  Climbing Landing Road toward Ellicott City took me 2/3 of the time it did 3 weeks ago, and I rode it without stopping.  That was a nice accomplishment.  This ride we didn’t have to worry about ice on the roads.  Three weeks ago, there was ice everywhere.  Mostly, we were able to take the planned route rather than having to find an alternative 3 weeks ago because snowpack prevented traversing through Patapsco State Park.  That meant that there was a stretch of about 3 miles that was completely new to me and I loved every second of it.  That part that was new was a wonderful descent where we let the bikes run a bit, braking only for debris on the curves.  We glided through Patapsco, and because of some road construction had to negotiate through some very sloppy and muddy sections at the end of the park section.  We picked up more mud than we expected.

About 10 miles from home, with both of my water bottles empty, I was regretting the no beverage at Caribou Coffee.  Still we pressed on.  On Brookwood, with about 2 miles left, Janet and I saw 5 deer run at full speed in front of us, requiring a hard braking stop to avoid hitting them.  A 6th deer veered around us to cross the road behind us.  Had we not hit the brakes, there would have been cyclists and deer all competing for the same identical space.

Janet had noted that it might be possible to finish the ride in under 10 hours and pulled hard to make that happen.  We rolled into the 7-11 at the finish, bought our chocolate milk, and got the receipt with 4:56 p.m. time stamped.  A 9 hour 56 minute ride!

We adjourned to Severna Park Taphouse to rehash the ride and get some well appreciated food and drink.

 

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