Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sandy Point

A short workout to Sandy Point then down St Margarets to USNA bridge then back home. It felt good to open up without worrying about ice or dark.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Bagel Ride

Set out at 6:00 am from the Ranger Station with Clint, Chip, Chris and Bryan. Snow flurries made the trail a little dicey but the roads were fine, just wet. We headed out College Parkway then down St. Margarets to the river then back north to intercept the 7:30 group.

After a quick flat repair we met the other group at Rt 2 and McKinsey. With the sun up and the flurries done, we went back over to the trail. Clint left to start his family day and the rest of us went to downtown Annapolis for breakfast. 9 in all enjoyed a great breakfast at the Italian café next on City Dock. It was a great morning with friends.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Windy and cold! Five of us made it out for the early ride, but we cut the Friday routine short and opted not to cross the Naval Academy bridge over Severn River in this wind.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sailing Down to Solomons

I teamed up with Chris Lane again for another great ride. This is a 200K permanent route that starts at the 7-11 on Davidsonville Rd in Crofton, MD. Follows MD424 to pick up MD 2 south and follows the MD 2 - 4 corridor to Solomons Island where we turn and come back north. The Northbound leg spends considerably less time on the MD 2 - 4 and weaves through the communities of St Leonard, Prince Frederick, Chesapeake Beach and North Beach before returning to Crofton.

We started out at 4:30 am in order to afford Chris the chance to make a date with his fiance that evening for a concert. That also let us ride in the dark early when were fresh and ensured we'd finish in daylight.

There was some minor ice along 424 and Rt 2 early where melting snow re-froze, but none of it was really problematic. I'm glad I took the studded tires off for this one, as we rode mostly on clear pavement and the extra weight and rolling resistance would have been rough.

At the 25 mile point we stopped at a convenience store to refill our water bottles and eat a small snack. The sun was getting up by then and we could look forward to it warming up.

For the rest of ride to Solomons we enjoyed bright sun, very little traffic and a slight tail wind. We made great time and arrived in Solomons just before 9 am. 6 other riders from the SPP were to follow at a 7:30 start. So we thought we'd leave them a couple of surprises along the route. We put up a group picture of the SPP on the "Solomons Town Center" sign just after crossing under the Patuxent River Bridge. Unfortunately the group reported later that didn't see this one. But there would be more.

We stopped at Roy Rogers for a quick breakfast and to get our control cards signed at mile 57. A 20 minute stop. We felt refreshed, and were glad to keep the stop a quick one. Back on the road, we had turned north so our tailwind was now a bit of a head wind. But it was still a great day and were looking forward to more back roads and less time on the MD 2 - 4 highway.

The big loops through communities east of the highway still left us with a few short stretches on the main highway north bound before we reached Prince Fredrick and left the highway for good. We kept an eye out for the other group southbound, but never saw them. Apparently we passed each other while Chris and I were off the main road.

At about mile 70 I got a flat. A small staple punctured the rear tire and the tube went slowly but steadily softer. It was fortunate that this happened in daylight. The thing was so small, I would never have seen it in the dark and certainly ruined another tube almost instantly after reinstalling the tire. While we worked a driver stopped to check on us and make sure we had what we needed. Very nice of him. The NASCAR pit crews don't need to worry, their jobs are safe, at least from Chris and I. The total change took almost 20 minutes ugh, but then we were back on the road.

Mile 75, we stopped at a small convenience store to refill water and adjust our clothing as it warmed up a bit. Really enjoying the scenery and light traffic on the rural roads.

Mile 92, stop at Sweet Sue's coffee shop in North Beach, to get our control cards signed and have another snack. What a pretty town, right on the Bay. We met three other bikers there who set out for a short day ride from Galesville to North Beach and back and visited with them for a few minutes. All five of us set out at the same time headed north, but they were much fresher than we were and had less distance remaining so we let them go. This part of the ride was just beautiful, right on the Bay with bright sun on the water and the snow.

At the information control, mile 100, we left another small surprise for the other SPP crew following us. The information control is a trivia question you have to answer to prove you were there and could find the information. In this case a mail box number. We put up a picture of Chris and I with a caption suggesting we changed the question: "Who are the best looking guys in the SPP?" They did see this one and got a nice kick out of it.

The next 23 miles continued through nice rolling countryside on rural roads. A few hills were enough to leave me winded but it was a fun ride and we were pushing to make sure this ride finished with a better time than Ashland last month.

The last 3 miles on 424 were just a quick sprint to the finish. We made it in 11:34 total time, shaving 23 minutes off of our Ashland time, and the other SPP group didn't lap us! A successful day.

At this writing my Garmin is not playing nice and I can't get the history file off of it to import. :-( I'll be in touch with Garmin Tech support and hopefully can re-post this once it's sorted out. In the interim, here's a map I produced ahead of time using the cue sheet. Sailing to Solomons Map. I'll also add any pictures I receive from Chris or the others later.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Breakfast In Annapolis

Eight of us met at the Rangers’ Station for a ride to Annapolis. By unanimous consent we skipped the ice on Old Country Rd. Most of us will also be riding tomorrow on the Sailing to Solomons Island 200K permanent course.

To prep for the perm ride I put the Panaracer tires back on. I’ll have to dodge some ice during the early part of the morning but things should soften up well with plenty of sun and temps in the 40s forecast tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friendly Friday 05:45

A nice ride this AM with the SPP 05:45 club to downtown Annapolis for breakfast.

The studded tires are growing on me. Yes they are heavy and slow, but some of my compadres are finding the conditions on Old County and other ice prone roads challenging before sun up. The studs definitely help me keep the rider up and the wheels down. Dan slipped on Old County, this AM, but he was fine and we rode on.

I got too close behind Chip on his fixie later on a descent on B&A. He kept his speed in check as we started down, which was prudent. I let it go and didn't react fast enough as I came up behind him. Fortunately he stayed up and my tumble was relatively slow speed. New handle bar tape is now in order.

I guess I need more operator training on the Garmin. I had been playing with route settings last night, getting ready for Sunday's ride to Solomons Is. and back. Inside the house, the widget couldn't get a satellite signal. I turned the GPS off while I played with the route settings. Forgot to turn it on this morning so my speed distance data is based on just the cadence and wheel sensor. Oops.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday 05:45

I put a new chain on the LHT last night, it seemed to run well, shifted smoothly no skipping. The 5:45 crew met at the rusty bridge this morning: Dave, Dan, Clint, Chris and I were in attendance. Everyone is excited about plans to ride the Solomon’s permanent ride on Sunday. Nice morning, the temp was just above freezing, I was borderline over dressed.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Broken Chain!!

Set out to meet the SPP 5:45ers. I broke my chain less than a half mile out from home. The handy all in one bike tool and those "how to" videos at paid off. I caught up Clint and Dan coming down Truckhouse Rd. I feel so much better, even after a short ride. I have to get back in the rhythm or riding 5 - 6 days each week.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sandy Pt and Thomas Pt

Met with Chris L at 6:30, to get an early start before traffic. We started from the Jones Station Park and Ride, took B & A south to the end, then crossed Ritchie Hwy at Arnold Station and rode out to Sandy Pt. St. Margret's down to Annapolis and enjoyed breakfast at Hard Bean. Then out Bay Ridge towards Thomas Pt as far as road conditions allowed, we turned back about a mile short of Thomas Pt. Park, headed back through downtown Annapolis and then back up Ritchie Hwy to Jones Station. What a beautiful, sunny morning. The views over the Severn River and Spa Creek bridges were just spectacular.

The verdict is still out on these studded tires. They are certainly more sure footed on solid ice. There are many small patches of ice where melting snow freezes overnight. The ice patches are frequent, but small. On simply wet or dry pavement, the rolling resistance the studded tires offer is significant. So the trade off is the slower ride vs. extra traction. If the ice sheet were more extensive it would be obvious, but much of the ice I've encountered the last two days could be simply avoided by riding around it. I'm gonna try a couple of early morning rides this week, but I may switch back sooner than I had planned.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Just Say No to Trainers

I mounted new Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires size 700x35, with carbide steel studs. The idea is to provide some traction on the ice that now pops out everywhere on the roads here as 4ft of recent snow melts by day and freezes again by night. This was the maiden voyage to break them in.

They're heavy and offer more rolling resistance than regular tires, but they definitely do the job re. traction. Either that or they have a great placebo effect. They are not a panacea but the studs grab a bit where normal road rubber would just slide. Peter White has a pretty good write up about how they work; just scroll down to the paragraph titled "How effective are the studs?" They cost less than an indoor trainer and I know I'll enjoy them more. With 4ft of snow on the ground, and likely more to come, the snow will last well in to spring. Which means we'll now enjoy a daily freeze / thaw cycle until it starts to warm up, leaving little rivers of ice across every road in the county. Hopefully only another 4 or 5 weeks. But until then, the ice will be a constant.

Here's a close up of the tire with the studs.

Here's the Surly with the new Schwalbes, thermos bottles and otherwise ready for winter riding close to home.

Only two things scare me on a bike: falling on ice and riding too close to traffic. The tires help with ice. I'm probably more comfortable in traffic I than should be. Give me a wide shoulder and I'm fine sharing the road with 50 mph traffic. But right now those wide shoulders are buried under 6 foot piles of dirty icy plowed snow. Also the side roads with no traffic were never plowed well and are now rutted and lumpy with ice and packed snow. So this morning I rode early to beat the traffic.

It felt very good to get back on the bike after a week. Hopefully as I learn the new tires' handling I can improve on a 12.4 mph average, or it will take forever to get my mileage in. But it's better than falling down and certainly better than riding a stationary trainer with no scenery.

A few notes on road conditions:
  • The entire route was susceptible to small patches of ice where melting snow flows on to the road and re-freezes, "dry" in the descriptions below refer to the general trend of the road pavement, small patches of ice can be found everywhere
  • College Parkway - dry with 2 - 3ft of clear shoulder
  • East College Parkway - has no shoulder anyway, but it's clear and wet
  • Jones Station Rd to Baydale - Clear pavement, but the plowed snow blocks the shoulders and in some spots the travel lanes
  • Old County Road - a disaster, needs a few days of sun before I try that again
  • Evergreen - fresh plow work left a half inch of road snow, should improve quickly
  • Benfield Blvd - passable, mostly dry, shoulders are still a little more narrow than normal. Watch traffic turning on to Benfield from your right, many driveways and smaller intersections are blind with plowed snow blocking drivers' view as they turn on to Benfield.
  • EW Blvd - travel lane was passable on a bike, but there was no room for traffic to pass, I had to pull over to let them by periodically
  • Light St Ave - clear and mostly dry
  • Truck House Rd - clear and mostly dry
  • B & A Blvd - wet pavement, no shoulders

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Breakfast Ride

9 riders set out from the RB for breakfast this morning. Chris double flatted at the south end of B & A just as we turned on to Ritchie Hwy, big pot hole. Fortunately he had two tubes and we got going again in about 15 min. In Annapolis I split from the group. They all headed to Big Bean, I met my father, Ken, and friends, David, Doug, and Rodney at Chick n Ruth's. Most important, I made it up Ritchie Hwy solo, without tangling with any automobiles!! Working from home today and ready for Snomageddon. Hopefully we can get back on the bikes next week.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

Thoughtful Thursday with the 05:45 crew. 8 Riders! Still amazed we get such turnout on a cold weekday morning. All of us were glad to get the miles in today and hopefully tomorrow AM before the next storm closes things down again for a few days.

The right hip and right wrist are still mildly nagging from the accident. Tomorrow is three weeks. I'll give it four then go see the doc. Doug C reports a hairline fracture in his upper arm from his tangle with the post last week (or the week before?).

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

SPP 05:45

The trail is still covered in snow. 6 of us set out from E/W Blvd and Light Street Rd. Followed the road route to the south end of B & A Blvd. and back.