Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Harbor 100K!!

That was fast!! For road racers and the carbon frame set, an 18 mph average for 77 miles might be a routine event. For this reformed fat man on a steel frame it was quite a workout. No the route is not that hilly, and no I didn't spend a lot of time in front pulling. But it was an exciting ride just the same.

Twelve riders set out from Severna Park at 6:00 sharp. Our destination was the Happy Harbor Restaurant and Bar in Deale, MD. Deale is the home port of a large fleet of fishing, crabbing and oyster boats that work The Bay. The Happy Harbor is right on the water in middle of it all. Between SP and Deale we rode through some of the nicest parts of southern Anne Arundel County, mostly farms and some neighborhoods with very nice looking homes. In addition to the nice countryside we saw several deer in the fields along the way and at least one pair that seemed to be trying to race us as they ran parallel to the road for a small stretch.

I've been a member of the SPP since September of last year. It's no secret many of these guys are strong riders. But the weekend and holiday rides sometimes attract a large participation including some members who don't get out for near daily workouts. These rides tend to be as much social events as workouts. Today, everyone was ready for a crisp pace and it caught me a little by surprise.

With such a large group, the aerodynamics favor a tight formation moving quickly. That's exactly what we did and the countryside was whizzing buy. But after 15 miles or so I was feeling very fatigued, and wondering if I would need to back off. I ate a pack of gel and a fig newton. That did the trick and I got right back in to the rhythm. Remember the mantra from Solomon's a few weeks back: eat a little, drink a little, keep pedaling.

We added two more riders at the Davidsonville Park and Ride and the 14 of us flew down to Deale. We would have reached the Happy Harbor before 8:00 am but I picked up a piece of glass in my rear tire about 5 miles from Deale. That many hands made a quick repair and we rolled in for breakfast just a few minutes after 8:00.

The Happy Harbor sits right on a creek and it's docks held several work boats. Clint had called ahead and the outside dining area was reserved for us with place settings already out. The breakfast menu offered a nice selection. I had a Cream Chipped Beef omelet, coffee and orange juice, very tasty.

The ride home set a similar pace to the ride down. We went up Muddy Creek Rd and Riva Rd through Annapolis rather than retracing our steps so we saw more neighborhoods and less farm land on this leg. But we set a similar pace and with such a large pace line, the miles flew by. It was heating up as the sun got higher in the sky and the open sunny stretches felt hot. But the shade felt great and we had plenty of both.

Brandon actually cut a small tear in his tire on some road debris along Muddy Creek Rd. All of us heard the sudden loud hiss as the tire deflated instantly. Fortunately someone had a large patch that was applied to the inside of the tire along with a new tube and he finished the ride without incident.

I thoroughly enjoyed the ride, it was a great way to spend the holiday. Many thanks to Chip and Clint for organizing it.

I also feel great about how much stronger I feel on the bike these days. I've been frustrated that my weight has plateaued. I know it's a matter of adjusting my diet (Creamed Chip Beef for breakfast!). But static body weight does not mean my fitness has been static. A fast ride to Solomon's a couple of weeks ago, and an even faster ride today are just part of the evidence.

The Garmin Connect web site analyzes the track for every ride and gives lots of statistical reports and feedback. My average riding speed is up almost 2 mph since the beginning of the year!

Avg Speed
May 201024759.2815.9
Apr 201030775.2414.9
Mar 201022634.9214.8
Feb 201013432.8413.7
Jan 201013410.3614.1

Today was a great end to a great month on the bike. Thanks again to my friends in the SPP end especially to my family for all of the great support to make this possible.

From the album: Happy Harbor 100K

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sandy Point - Annapolis - Crofton

Met Chris at 6 at the Benfield Nursery. It was about 70 deg F, sunny, slightly muggy and winds were flat calm. We headed out to Sandy Point first, then down through St. Margaret's to downtown Annapolis. There a nice gentleman pulled up next to us by the Market House and complemented me on how well he could see my tail light. It's Dinotte 140 Lumen tail light, and it is bright. Think light house beacon. I got it after my accident in January when I was rear-ended. See the blog entry "CRASH" under the January, 2010 archive for details of the accident. Anyway I've become very conscious of a rider visibility as a factor in safety and it was reassuring to hear a driver offer unsolicited feedback that the light is providing exactly that.

After a quick stop downtown we headed up Main Street and out Rowe Blvd to Bestgate to General's Hwy and then made our way to Crofton. I'd never ridden down Waterbury Rd, Millersville Rd and St. Stephen's Church Rd to Crofton before. Beautiful farm country tucked in between General's Hwy, Defense Hwy and Route 3. Nice big homes. I'm still discovering local treasures on my bike even though I've lived in this area most of my life.

We had coffee at Caribou Coffee in the Shops at Waugh Chapel shopping center. Neat place, the whole thing looks like a country lodge on the inside. Good coffee and snacks. We lingered there a while on their outdoor patio and then finally made our way back to Severna Park.

A nice morning on the bike.

Look at those skinny riders, they must really be
putting in the miles and loosing some weight!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ice Cream Ride

4 Servings of Flavored Ice and Custard from Rita's - $15. An evening ride with Dad to get ice cream - PRICELESS!

Zach and Erik on a bike ride with Dad for ice cream.

Sudley Rd, Annapolis and Bay Ridge - a great morning.

It was a great morning riding with friends.

I started at 6:00 with 5 others. This ride usually sets a brisk pace and tries to get a good workout before the more popular and more social 7:30 ride. Most of these are the same guys who ride the 5:45 weekday rides. This group rides hard to get fit and is great at reinforcing each other towards that goal. The pace is challenging but still respects the SPP "no drop" policy. We had a great time, just over 25 miles at a 17+ mph average pace. We stopped at Java Diva's for coffee and a gawk then met the larger 7:30 ride at the Rusty Bridge.

Commuting to work with Chris or alone is great for me. Getting my heart rate up twice per day is refreshing and mentally cleansing but at the cost of missing this ride most of the week. I always catch it on Friday's when we head to Annapolis but that's not as focused on a workout. A hard workout with a group of like minded friends is simply fun. I'm riding stronger and faster these days specifically because I ride with the SPP club so much and have learned so much from them.

At 7:30 we mustered with nearly 20 others for the ride to Annapolis. Also FUN! Parice was just back from her tour of Italy and reported she had a great time on a supported tour through the Alps and some lower countryside. I hope she publishes lots of pics and a detailed narrative, it sounds like a wonderful trip. Everyone has holiday weekend plans, visiting relatives, or going to visit relatives or projects at home. But first we all took time to ride a few miles and share breakfast in Annapolis. It's a fun group tradition that I enjoy every week when I'm able to participate.

Some riders headed straight home after breakfast, and the rest of us rode the loop around Bay Ridge first. I've noted before how much I like this neighborhood and enjoy riding through there, simply beautiful waterfront homes.

The last bonus was running in to Chris again at the Farmers' Market with his fiance Bev. It's only a mile from home. Chris had left after breakfast but instead of going straight home he went to the Market with Bev and was actually watching for me when I came by. We had a nice visit over coffee and a scone.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fixie FLAT Friday - ride map added

I met the usual suspects at 5:45 this AM at the Rusty Bridge for the Friday ride to Annapolis for breakfast. I think there were nine of us total. The storm last night left the trail a bit scattered with leaves, sticks, and other natural debris. Not a thick covering but enough to warrant a little attention as we rode. The temp was in the mid sixties and it was a bit humid.

Clint's rear wheel on his fixie was the first casualty at the intersection of the trail and Riggs Ave (1 block north of Evergreen). He's always well prepared and several sets of hands had it resolved in a few minutes. Then Jim K flatted the rear wheel on his fixie on Old County Rd just south of Round Bay Rd. Another few minutes' delay and we were underway again.

We reached Annapolis without further incident. Most of the group opted for Hard Bean for b'fast expecting faster service while I went to Chick N Ruth's to meet Doug, Dave, Charlie and Doug's brother-in-law. I was almost 20 min late by now and they had ordered but not been served. I got my omelet in record time, then me the others coming Main St just as I was walking out. No way to plan it that well, some things just out right so I got ride home with the group again, a bonus.

I also learned while at HB Clint had to change his front tube and managed to recruit a lady runner to complete the 3rd SPP team for upcoming Iron Man on the Eastern Shore this fall. Earl calls him an ambassador for SPP. That's an apt description, always encouraging others to join us for any and all types of biking activity.

We enjoyed a nice ride home and everyone is looking forward to a nice holiday weekend with lots of biking miles and family time. I left the Garmin at the house this morning. I'll add the map and stats this evening.

As promised, here is the ride map...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

We're Still in First Place!!

After on 2 races in 5 weeks, Diamond in the Rough is still tied for first place in the Wednesday Night Race series for PHRF 3!

The first two weeks of the Annapolis Yacht Club's Wednesday night races were great. Good winds and clear skies made for pleasant and very competitive racing. Then two weeks in a row resulted in no races due to weather, one too rough, the other flat calm with no wind.

That brings us to week 5 on Wednesday 5/26/2010. The race committee was anxious to get another race in after the lost opportunities the last two weeks. But again the wind was very light, almost none at all.

They sent us off anyway and did everything they could to get another night of racing in to the series. They set very short courses. Our fleet was assigned the shortest course in the book, A1, about 3.5 miles. We started in a very light Southeast breeze, 3 - 5 knots at best. Capt Jim maneuvered Diamond to a conservative start, maybe 3 or 4 boat lengths from the line. Ideally the boat is at full speed just a few feet from the line, but if you cross early, you have to turn around and restart. That would be the kiss of death on a short course in light winds. So hanging back slightly was the conservative approach.

We drifted ever so slowly towards the first turning mark and prepared to take the jib down and set the spinnaker after gybing around the mark. Unfortunately we got pinned outside of several other boats and rounded on the outside of a big pinwheel as all the boats between us and the turning buoy navigated the turn. This put us in a very unfavorable position to get our spinnaker up and flying and took several precious minutes to sort itself out in these slow conditions.

Finally we had the spinnaker up and could begin making some way back to the next turning mark at Red Nun 8 outside of Annapolis Harbor. But progress was slow and we began to worry we wouldn't make it to the finish before the time limit of 20:40 hours.

The race committee announced they would shorten the course even further and finish us at the Nun 8 turning mark. If only we could get there. The light breeze faded even further and now we were trying to go downwind, running away from what little breeze we still had. We put a strip of toilet tissue up on the back stay just to give a visual reference for a breeze that was now so light we couldn't feel it on our skin.

The race committee put in a good effort to conduct a complete race and some classes will be scored for racing, as they finished on time. As it turned out even with the very short course, no one in our class, PHRF 3, finished before the time limit. For Diamond, this was probably for the best. If one or more boats in our class finished and we didn't, the finishing boat(s) would gain a significant advantage in the overall standings. But with no finishers in our class, we are still tied for first place based only on the first two weeks. Clear as mud?

So the short version is very light wind, we tried to have a race anyway, but the time expired and no one in our class finished. We're still tied for first place! We enjoyed great company, a beautiful sunset, a spectacular moon rise, and we got to spend the evening sailing, even if we did it a bit slowly.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Zippy Ride to Work, Detour on the way Home

Chris and I enjoyed a zippy ride to work. The humidity was oppressively thick but otherwise the ride was pleasant and it felt great to get be getting back in to a rhythm or near daily riding.

On the ride home I took a planned detour to Severna Park High School to watch Jessi and Morgan, my twin daughters, sing in their spring choral concert. But I fumbled that play by arriving late. I knew it was an hour long ride, but departure from the office was delayed while dealing with a work issue. Ugh.

Morning Ride Track

Evening Ride Track

Monday, May 24, 2010

Commuting to Work

I met Chris this morning for the ride in. The weather kept threatening to open up and pour on us, but it never did. A little mist and quite muggy.

The work day was such I was also able to meet Chris for the ride home. The clouds had cleared a bit. It was a nice ride back home. The bonus came when I got have dinner with all six kids at once. That's pretty rare these days with ages from 6 to 20 years old, their schedules don't synchronize very well.

Here's the track for the ride to work.

Here's the track for the ride home.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sandy Point, Bay Ridge, and Millersville

The weather forecast called for steady rain but I wanted to get a good long ride in this weekend after being out of town all week. It was too warm to wear rain gear, it would feel like a sauna inside. So I put on my wool jersey and nickers which would be a little warm for the low 60s on a clear day but I expected to ride wet. I was overdressed. The rain never came.

I rode out to Sandy Point, then down through Annapolis and around Bay Ridge. I really like neighborhood of Bay Ridge. The folks there have magnificent water front views of the Bay. Most clearly set their lawn and patio furnishings up to take advantage of that. With Adirondack chairs and brass fire pits adorning many yards on water side. The road around the perimeter of the point, leaves a bit of lawn between the road and the beach. The residents also take advantage of this arrangement with their boats pulled up on the beach and in front of their homes. It looks like a dream set up.

I took the shots below trying to capture how nice the Bay looks even on a gray day. But I'm not sure they really do it justice.

The Bay Bridge from Bay Ridge on a gray day.
Click the picture to see a slide show. | Click here to view the album.

After the ride I re-hydrated and then got on the scale. I wasn't surprised to see my weight up a couple of pounds. I ate like a pig while traveling. I think it's time to change my strategy for the weight loss. Clearly I've plateaued after the March and April miles didn't really take any weight off. I've lost 70 lbs just by riding a lot and just avoiding the most egregious eating habits. But nothing's really changed now for several months. I think I'll need to adopt a better diet that cuts the sweets and carbs to better complement the miles.

Late addendum.... Clint just posted his ride report from the 400K yesterday. Dan, Clint and Clif all three completed the 400K in under 20 hours vs a 27 hr time limit. They encountered showers yesterday evening before finishing but did not have to confront any gale winds or extreme temps. Congratulations guys!


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday Bagel Ride

Back on the bike at last. My trip was productive for business, but I still find such travel a nuisance.

This morning's short ride to Annapolis and back felt great.

Best of luck to the SPPer's riding today's 400K brevet in Frederick: Clint, Clif and Dan.

Finally, this shot made the front of the The Capital newspaper from yesterday's Bike to Work rally, which of course I missed while traveling. All of these riders are fellow SPP members.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I miss my family, and my bike...

Still in Los Angeles on business. I'm not a big fan of business travel, but I am a big fan of my paycheck, so I do what's required. The trip is going well in that the client and I are meeting our own expectations for work accomplished during the meetings.

My wife Tivy is keeping everyone at home on track, as she always does. I'm looking forwarding to getting back home tomorrow evening to see them. I'm also way overdue to get back on the bike and start pedaling again.

Looks like this month won't come close to my 700+ miles in April. Chris and I are enjoying a friendly rivalry with our monthly totals. When one of us travels or takes time off for other reasons, you'd think it would open the door for the other to ride away, but it doesn't seem to happen that much with both of us posting remarkably similar totals so far this year. You can see the entire SPP's mileage challenge at

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sailing to Solomons - my best performance yet!

Author's note: This post will be all about self indulgence and thumping my chest. You're free to close your browser now if you're not interested. (okay, that's true about most of my biking posts, but it's my blog).

This was by far my best long ride to date. Everything just came together correctly to make this one work and I feel great about it. A year ago I couldn't go 30 minutes on a bike without huffing and puffing and feeling worn out. I rode to Solomons Island and back on Sunday in a record time for me personally, and for the first time, felt like I could have kept going.

Chris, Shane and I set out at 6 am from the Crofton 7-11 to start the Sailing to Solomons RUSA permanent. It's a 200K ride with approximately 5000 feet of hill climbing. I chose it this month because May was getting jammed with family and work schedule commitments and it starts so close to home, so it's easy to get to the start and back home. It also represented a change after two much more hilly rides around MD, PA and VA farm land in March and April.

Chris and I ride together routinely. But we'd never had the pleasure of Shane's company before. Turns out he worked as a bike messenger in Pittsburgh, PA for a couple of years. He's a strong rider and good company. I hope it works out that he'll join us more often.

At the start the temps were around 60 deg F, the wind was calm and the clouds looked threatening. gave it only a 10% chance of rain but it looked much more likely than that. But the weather dudes got it right, we saw only a few sprinkles around mile 20 and were dry the rest of the day.

We set a steady pace from the outset and after 5 miles or so of warm up picked it up a notch. We frequently reminded each other to eat and drink. We ate and drank, we chatted with Shane getting to know one another, and the miles were ticking by much more quickly than I'd ever experienced before on such a long ride. Were we over doing it, showing off for the new guy?, Would we pay the price later and bonk or cramp up? Eat some more, drink some more, have another e-cap. Keep pedaling. Everyone reports they're feeling fine.

We hit the convenience store at mile 25 to refill the bottles, send a text back home to let 'em know it's going well and back on the bikes. An 8 minute stop!

Back on Route 2 the wind is starting to pick up a bit. At first it's confused but then begins to settle from the north. We're getting a push the last 20 miles to Solomons. The pace is really cracking now. Keep eating, keep drinking, don't worry about the north wind we'll deal with that after we turnaround at Solomons. The sky is clearing as well, just like the forecast. So any worry about rain is gone.

We get to Solomons and my 'puter show's a rolling pace of 17.7 mph!! How strong WAS that tail wind? What are we in for now that we have to start riding north again? We all agree the food we're eating on the bike is working and none of us wants to stop for a sit down meal. So we hit the 7-11 to get our control cards signed. We each grab a small snack, I had a banana. We stay long enough to munch them down. Put on sun screen, adjust wardrobe, etc. Maybe 15 minutes, then we're off to see what the north wind will be like.

Riding south with no wind or following wind, we rode side by side much of way and enjoyed the chance to talk as we rode. Now we rode in a tight pace line and agreed to rotate the lead in 5 minute intervals. Team riding at it's best and we made great time to the last turn off of Rt 2 at Prince Frederick. But the performance in to the wind wasn't free we were definitely burning more energy. As soon as we got off of Rt 2 the trees close in and the wind is blocked a bit, but the hills start. Shane paid the price with some leg cramps, but he felt he could continue a couple of miles to the next convenience store. We hit the country store at mile 78 and took a more extended rest. Food, water and e-caps seemed to work.

The next stretch begins the really fun part of the ride with several views of The Bay and rural roads with little or no traffic until we got to North Beach and the control at Sweet Sue's coffee shop. The food there is awesome and we always look forward to riding there either on the permanent route or just an extended weekend ride directly from home.

Shane selected the biggest eclair I have ever seen. I would have exploded, or puked, on that much sugar. But he's a bit younger and his body apparently more forgiving of excess.

Leaving Sweet Sue's we were still on the curvy flats along the Bay when we came up on a motorcycle accident. At first seeing the bike on it's side in the grass I thought it had just fallen off of it's kickstand. But a second look showed one rider laying down, two others standing over him and lot's of broken green plastic scattered about. The plastic used to be the wind screen and front structure of the bike which shattered. All three riders appeared to be wearing the right gear with leather's that included the skid pads and sturdy helmets. The hurt rider had no externally visible injury though he had clearly hurt his shoulder either by dislocation or perhaps a collar bone fracture. The other two riders had their cell phones out and others were stopping to help with more resources available to offer than we had on the bikes so we opted to continue on.

The rest of the ride in to the finish went as well as things had started. This is the hilliest section of the whole ride so the pace slacked off slightly as a result. But we all finished riding strong and feeling good.

For the first time I finished a long ride feeling like I could continue on for a further distance. I've toned down how much gear I carry and adjusted the menu and fluid in take to where it feels right. I ate something every half hour whether I felt "hungry" or not and took several swigs of water every other mile. I've found that alternating fig newtons and Hammer Gel products I can eat while rolling and stick to that 30 minute schedule very well. At the stops I added in bananas and juice from the convenience stores, peanut butter crackers and granola bars. I take an e-cap with every bottle and try consume a bottle of plain water every hour by drinking two or three mouth fulls every couple of miles.

When we finished, our total elapsed time was 9 hrs 14 minutes. This is a personal best and shatters my time of 10:30+ in March going Over to Dover and the time of 11:04 the last time I did this same course in February. It feels GREAT!!

Chris and I have begun scheming for a 300K ride, probably in September and I'm now quite confident I'm ready to try it.

Shane about to dive in to the biggest eclair I've ever seen.
Click the picture to view slideshow | Click here to view album

P.S. besides our feats of speed and endurance on this ride, Chris also gets kudos for the classic "changing of clothes while riding" trick. I watched from behind as he reached back to fetch his wind vest from the top of the trunk bag. He managed to free it from the bungie cord, don it and zip it without stopping or falling. It was all very entertaining to watch as he timed each move for the next flat spot between rollers. But I don't yet have a helmet cam suitable to catch such moments underway.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Congratulations to Jessica Watson

Jessica Watson age 16 of Australia, has completed a solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the globe in a 34 foot sloop. Congratulations Jessica!!

On several occasions I have completed sailing races and return voyages from the US East Coast to Bermuda or along the East Coast of North America from Annapolis to Newport and also from Marblehead to Halifax. These voyages were on boats of 36 to 50 feet in length, with crews of 6 - 12 people and typically lasted 4 - 7 days. The idea of a 16 year old girl sailing the entire globe alone is almost incomprehensible. But she DID it. There is probably no limit to what this young woman can accomplish.

There is a bit of controversy in sailing community about recognizing her, or not, as the youngest person ever to complete this voyage. The quibbling over the distance sailed and whether she ever went far enough North of the equator is silly. But the sports bodies that recognize such feats have stopped recognizing a category of the "youngest" to complete the circumnavigation so as not to encourage ever younger children to attempt this. I agree with their decision on this point. VERY few 16 years olds are mature enough for something like this. I'd hate to read of a 13 or 14 year old lost at sea trying this just to win such a title, when the same youngster might well be prepared for it at 17 or 18.

But for Jessica, nothing but kudos. Remarkable.

Saturday Bagel Ride

A nice leisurely ride downtown to Annapolis for coffee and gnash. Friend and neighbor Katie Phillips came out for the club ride. She's recently upgraded from a hybrid to a road bike while training for her next triathlon. While getting used to the new ride she's been asking for ideas and "how to" questions on use and maintenance of the new bike. I'm glad to "pay it forward" after so many in the SPP helped me through the same learning curve not that long ago.

I'm looking forward to the 200K tomorrow with Chris. We'll be Sailing Down to Solomon's from Crofton, RUSA permanent number 780. In February we rode this same route, our second 200K ride for each of us at the time. It took just a shade over 11 hrs then. Since then we've each tackled courses with significantly more climbing and we've each done at least one alone. The forecast looks very good and I'm hopeful we'll come in at 10 hrs or less.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Seagull Century 2010

The annual Seagull Century Ride is a neat charity ride on the Eastern Shore of MD every year. It is HUGELY popular with almost 8000 riders last year. It is also remarkably well organized and supports the crowd well.

Seagull 2009 was my first ever century ride. Prior to that, my longest day on a bike had been 50 miles on Labor Day of 2009.

I just signed up for the 2010 ride, rider number 349. I'm looking forward to seeing if I can beat last year's time of 7+ hrs.

This is Dave Mumford and I on last year's ride.
Yes, that's me on the hybrid, flat bars, fat tires, helmet crooked, looking like Fred.
The photo is number 22 on the official gallery at

This one is Dave and I at Assateague Island,
a little past half way through the ride.

Too many days off!

I'm a bit hacked with myself. There was no good reason NOT to ride to work yesterday. I let tight deadlines on the job convince me I didn't have time to ride in, had to jump in the truck and rush in so that extra hour could solve all of the project time pressures. It didn't. A clear head from the pedal in would have contributed at least as much if not more than the extra hour did.

Today's ride was delightful. 9 of us set out for the Friday breakfast ride. 7 rode all the way to Annapolis and 5 stayed for breakfast, plus Doug and Dave who met us there. Felt great to get the legs and heart pumping again.

Next week I'm traveling quite a bit and will lose more riding days while I'm on the road, ugh. But that's the job and business is picking up. So I'll enjoy my weekend rides, including a 200K planned for Sunday, then of to California for a few days.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ride Home and Girls Win Lax Game!!

I rode home by way of Severna Park High School.

There I met my wife Tivy and we watched our twin daughters Jessica and Morgan (age 13) play a fantastic lacrosse game. They each played 1/2 the game in goal and the other half on defense and kept a tight lid on it, as they always do.

The offense is also starting to come together nicely. Passes were connected, everyone seemed to have brought their fast legs and the ball handling was very good.

Final Score: Severna Park wins 14 - 11!!! Great job girls, I'm proud of you.

Monday Commute to Work

It was very chilly for the ride in this morning, 41 deg F when I set out. It felt like March except the sun rose much earlier. The winds were calm and the sky is crystal clear. The pollen also seems much lower. A nice morning ride in.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Weekend Rides

Wow, the weekend just flew by. Now it's over, just in time for Monday!

I did manage to get on the bike for a few miles. Saturday I opted to sleep in and did not make the 6:00 ride. On the way to the 7:30 rendezvous I stopped after only a mile to pull a piece of glass out of the front tire and replace the tube. Bennie stopped to help and visit for a minute. I caught the 7:30 riders at Robinson Rd.

Attendance we lower than usual. Several riders were out of town participating in brevets and the forecast called for showers Saturday morning. The wind was strong, right in our faces as we crossed Naval Academy Bridge towards Annapolis. But we never did see the rain.

We opted for a quick bite at Hard Bean, then Chris and I left the group downtown to return to family. I was off to Zach's lacrosse game and Chris was planning to meet his fiance at the farmer's market.


After sports, camping with the Cub Scouts (I'll post a separate entry on that one) and church for Mom's Day, I got another short ride in Sunday afternoon. I went out to Sandy Point in much stronger winds than we saw Saturday.

With the wind at my back I flew down the service road on the way to Sandy Point State Park. It was invigorating to hold 20+ mph for such a long stretch. Then the work out started as I crossed over Rt 50 and reversed course towards St. Margaret's Rd.

After I turned out of the breeze at St. Margaret's Rd. the rest of the route was sheltered enough that I never encountered the strong gusts again.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Ride to Breakfast In Annapolis

What a beautiful morning. Temps in the 60s low humidity and crystal clear. 8 riders met at the rusty bridge for the breakfast ride this morning. 6 of us continued on to Annapolis and 5 stayed for breakfast. Rod, Charlie and Doug joined us there. I really enjoy these Friday mornings, getting together with friends, some I've only met the last few months, others I've known since our teenage years and enjoying the time to catch up on life and give each other a hard time about anything we choose.

After breakfast we rode down to the dock to take a quick look at the Pride II docked in Annapolis. A beautiful ship. This shot caught the sun rays nicely. I would have loved nothing better to continue from there out to Bay Ridge and then around the river, but duty calls and I had to return home then to work.

BD Arnold really came through with the rear derailleur the other night. The primary problem was cable stretch, but they also adjusted the ratchet in the shifter. It seemed as smooth as silk this morning. All covered under the free tuneups policy for bikes purchased there.

I'm looking forward to the weekend. Should be able to fit in a bike ride, and some kids sports tomorrow before I take Zach and Erik camping with the Cub Scouts. In a weak moment I volunteered to coordinate dinner. I thought I'd be cooking for 20. Guess again! We have 71 people RSVPed for dinner Saturday night. Should be a blast.

Then we'll come home early Sunday for Mom's Day!! Lots of fun planned.

Pride of Baltimore II Docked in Annapolis

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wendesday Night Races - Race 2 for Diamond in the Rough

Team Diamond enjoyed another successful outing last night in Race 2 of the Wednesday night series. After two races, we're tied for first place in the series with Spaceman Spiff. Last night the wind was from the south, about 12 kts where it funnels in to the mouth of Severn River, a little less in the open Bay. The sky was clear, humidity was low, a very pleasant evening.

The race committee set course A3R for our fleet, a total distance of about 5.5 miles. You can see the course definitions here. This meant a conventional upwind start for the first leg of the race. As the last class in the fleet to start, we have the benefit of watching the other classes that sail ahead of us to see if they make any mistakes or make any smart choices we can learn from. We watched the J105 "Crash" (that's the name of the boat) execute a brilliant start by holding slightly behind the rest of the fleet. As the competitors bunched up a little too early at the boat end of the starting line many of them stalled. Crash zoomed in to weather of the fleet just inside the committee boat and blasted right by them. He had clear air and great speed as he crossed the line 5 - 10 seconds after the starting gun sounded.

15 minutes later Jim steered Diamond to a nearly identical maneuver in our own start, it was great. We led our class all the way up the first windward leg. This leg was also the first chance for Diamond to fly the new number 1 head sail Jim purchased over the winter. The sail looked very good. We'll have a little bit of experimenting to do as we learn how to really dial in all of the settings for lead position, halyard tension, head stay sag, and other adjustments. But we made good use of it the first time out. The good start, new sail and nice breeze meant we were first to the mark in our class.

Rounding mark E to starboard we had to tack around the mark then immediately bear off and set a spinnaker for the downwind leg. Juliette and the foredeck team had the spin ready and our set was clean. Changing from jib to spinnaker and back again are the most complex maneuvers we routinely do. Diamond enjoys a very stable crew roster. We've all sailed together now for several seasons. We've done this same maneuver many, many times and we know what to do. But this was the first time we'd actually done it for nearly 6 months. The set was clean and the jib came down on deck without incident.

The downwind leg on a night like this is quite a sight. By the mid point of the race the 100 odd boats in 5 different fleets are strung out all over the course. The colorful spinnakers stretch in a parade from one end of the race area to the other. It was quite a sight. And I forgot to bring my camera!!!! Bob D did bring his and I'll post an addendum when I receive them.

Sailing is a very social sport and once the spinnaker is set and ship is stable on it's new course, half of the crew really has nothing to do for a few minutes until the next turn or sail change. Two or three must remain attentive to the sail trim to maintain optimal speed as conditions change, but that leaves half the crew with idle hands. It's a good time to grab a refreshing beverage, then we reminisce about another race we did or share details of getting another boat ready for the season. "MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE...." Capt Jim reminded us that the two or three who should remain attentive need to get back to work. As we entered the mouth of the river the wind angle changes slightly and the sails must be adjusted accordingly. So the chatter quieted back down as we concentrated on racing again.

At the next mark, we must hang a sharp left and head in to Spa Creek. The sail change is now reversed, the jib goes up and the spinnaker comes back down. Everyone has a job to do in this one. Another successful maneuver and we're close reaching towards Eastport Yacht Club at the mouth of the creek.

Inside the creek the maneuvering room is tight and the winds tend to be shifty. We had to perform a couple of close quarters tacks with other large boats as we approached the finish, but we kept the boat speed up throughout and crossed the finish line first in our class. BUT.. that's not the end of the story. We still had to wait for the final handicap results to be applied. We crossed 85 seconds ahead of Spiff and the next boat in our class was far enough back in traffic that I couldn't see them. So I thought it was down to just us and Spiff again this week.

WRONG! - When the results were up we did beat Spiff, by 2 seconds! But we were still only in 2nd place. The Cal 25 White Cap had corrected over us by just over a minute. We've got a very competitive class, even if we can't see them behind us in the traffic, we need to be alert to squeeze every second out of the race that we can. You can see the final results for race 2 here. Two second place finishes in two weeks puts us in a tie for first place in the series. A very satisfying start to the season.

View WNR 5/5/2010 Approximate Course for Diamond in the Rough in a larger map

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


A steady tailwind, temps in 70's, bright sun, clear sky, low humidity, riding with a friend. Priceless.

Well it was almost perfect. Despite our speedy ride home, I've been having shifting problems on the rear derailleur for several days now. I popped in to the BD Arnold instead of going home (I live a mile from the shop). I had an overhaul about a month ago and assumed it was just cable stretch. I was hoping for quick adjustment by the duty mechanic. They had one in the stand and two in line ahead of so I left it and walked home, still hoping to retrieve it before closing time. Well they called and said it might be the shifter, they want the lead mechanic to look at it in the morning. Here's hoping it something simple or at least something under warranty....

Ride to Work w/Chris

I was a weather wimp and didn't ride yesterday with showers forecast. Frequent riding partner Chris shamed me and went for it anyway. He got drenched, but he earned some miles on a day I'll never get back. He documented his soaking here, and noted his satisfaction with the effort after he'd dried out.

This morning, with a dry day forecast, I met Chris at the Park-n-Ride at 5:15. It was a little muggy but otherwise a nice ride in. It always goes more quickly when I'm riding with someone.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pasadena, Thomas Pt, Bay Ridge, and Ice Cream

I had a very full Sunday of biking. I set out at 7:00 am from home and met up as planned with my good friend Rod Luck on the B & A Trail. Rod was riding his mountain bike and this would be his first time on a bike this year, so we set a leisurely pace north up to the marsh at Jumpers' Hole. Along the way we saw several members of the SPP out on various rides by themselves or in small groups including Janet B, Clint and Sheri on their tandem, and Bennie.

At Jumpers' Hole we ignored the yellow security tape and actually went up the edge of the washed out section of trail. In six or so months since it occurred, I'd never gotten close enough to really see it. The damage is much deeper and more extensive than I had realized, probably at least 20 ft across and 6 feet deep. The county has piled some large stone rip rap in the cut, apparently to stabilize it and prevent further erosion. But it looks like it will be quite a project to properly repair it. The location affords an easy detour, so trail users aren't really inconvenienced. This coupled with the county's budget woes probably mean it will be a while before the repair is implemented.

After a couple of photos at the washout we turned back south and headed to the Big Bean for coffee and snacks. It's a great shop that backs right up to the trail. Rod and I had made a regular weekend habit of this last summer and fall. It was good to get out and do it again. Doug Corby rode by while we were sitting by the trail and stopped to visit.

Rod at the washout
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After coffee, I rode home with Rod to say "hi" to his inlaws and other family in town for cousin Myles' confirmation at church. Then I set out to get some more miles in for the day. I headed to downtown Annapolis first to see if any SPP riders might be lingering over a late snack at Aromi d'Italia or Hard Bean. Annapolis was teaming with people on the sunny day but I didn't find anyone I recognized and headed over the Spa Creek Bridge for Thomas Pt. Park.

At the park entrance I ran in to Jim Rupple. Jim was just coming out of the park as we stopped to say "hi". I'd never actually ridden in the park before, always turning back at the cul-de-sac that marks the park entrance. Jim agreed to come in with me and show me the ropes. I made it 50 yards on the hard pack path in the park and got a rear flat. With Jim's help we made fairly quick work of it and got a nice view of the Bay. I could see the sailing fleets mustered off of Thomas Point for the National Offshore One Design regatta (NOOD). I have a few sailing friends participating and at that hour it looked like they had good southerly winds.

Jim and I continued around Bay Ridge and more nice waterfront views. I took Jim up on his offer to follow him home and use his floor pump to firm up that tire before heading north for home. The short cut across the PALS ball fields and Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis included a few hundred yards of single track dirt trails, the LHT handled it well. Jim lives in the same Hunt Meadow neighborhood my folks live in so I headed over from Jim's house to say "hi" to Mom and Dad. They weren't expecting me and I wasn't even sure if they'd be home. Dad had already left for a business trip, and Mom was on her way out so it was a quick visit. Then I headed back home via downtown Annapolis once more.

53 miles on a warm sunny Sunday. I felt a little like a tourist with the leisurely pace, I got to enjoy some sightseeing in my own home town. It was fun.

Ice Cream
Later in the afternoon I headed back out with sons Zach (age 8) and Erik (age 6) to ride up the trail for ice cream. The boys really enjoy these short rides and so do I. I shot the video with my handheld while following Erik before the ice cream stop. His little legs just kept going and going. Looking at the fit, I think he's due for a new bike soon. On the way back after the ice cream, Zach took a small tumble and scraped his palm and elbow, but nothing serious.

Late Breaking News: As I was typing this up Sunday evening I got an email from fellow SPPer Dan Oldale. He set out to complete a 400K brevet with the PA Rand on Saturday. He reports that he suffered medical complications related to the heat about 175 mi in and was not able to finish, and that he is now home safe and sound. I'm very disappointed for him that he wasn't able to complete the ride and so glad to hear he is ok. He's a very strong rider and I know this will frustrate him terribly. His summary was brief and I'm sure he'll share more detail when he can. But it's disappointing to learn a friend experienced a set back.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saturday Bagel Ride with the SPP

I slept in and missed the workout ride at 6:00. But I met the SPP for the bagel ride at 7:30. There was a great turnout, 15 or more riders at least. You couldn't ask for nicer morning. Since there is more to life than bicycles and sailboats (shocking I know), I couldn't linger with the club. I skipped breakfast once we arrived downtown and headed back home to take Erik to his baseball game.

The SPP gathering for weekly Saturday Bagel ride to Annapolis.
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