Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Another new route today

I continued my experiment today looking for an all road route suitable for day and night and all weather use when the trail might become impassible this winter and will certainly be legally off limits in the dark. Not that I won't ride it in the dark, I just feel I needed to be better familiar with options if the police decide to enforce the rules.

So today I crossed I-97 by way of Brightview Rd and then crossed MD 100 on W B & A rd. This required a short ride on Benfield Blvd then working my way north to Brightview in the morning. Those neighborhoods between Benfield and Brightview are great riding. The road surfaces are good, there's ample room for cars and bikes, and light traffic.

However the choices I made to get across New Cut and Quarterfield roads this morning were poor. On each I made a right turn on to the road in question and then had to worry about traffic from behind as I made a left turn to get off. Had to find a better way. Here's the "bad" route from this morning.

So for the evening ride home I continued a little further south on W B & A then crossed Quarterfield Rd at Thompson Rd. This worked much better. I crossed Quarterfield rather than riding on it, and on New Cut I now made a left turn on to New Cut and right turn off of it. Much better combination. Also this short zig occurs further from I-97 and the associated congestion. This version of the route holds promise. I can push harder on my pace without worrying competing with the pedestrians for pavement space like I have to on the trail The result is a few extra miles in about the same time as taking the trail.

Here's the "good" version of the Brightview Road route.

In the event that the trail around the airport becomes impassable due to ice / snow the roads in the immediate area of the airport will still be problematic but I think I can manage them. So I'll try this Brightview Rd route a few more times at different times of day and may poke around the neighborhoods in question a bit to see if there are better ways around the block, but my first impression is that this is a winner.

Final note for those keeping track of mileage numbers. I forgot to update the tally last night. So the numbers may appear to make a bigger jump than the maps above would justify.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A different route to work

Broke off of the trail at Elvaton and followed Elvaton to Oakwood to Aquaheart to Stewart. Recently I was chastised by AA County PD for riding the trail after dark. Last winter the trail was impassable for nearly 8 weeks due to snow and ice. So I thought it was prudent to use the remaining nice weather and daylight to get more familiar with alternate road routes before the winter dark hours set in.

This one isn't too bad. I still want to try it at different hours of the morning and evening to get a feel for traffic patterns. From Elvaton south I could easily follow Jumpers to Benfield for an all road route. From Dorsey Rd heading north, the ride up Aviation Blvd wouldn't be too pleasant but should be manageable until I get to Andover Rd.

I also want to try crossing I-97 at Brightview and heading north from there.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Evening Ride Home

We had a great weekend trip taking our oldest Taylor to start the next phase of life at Elon University. I'll blog the trip itself and pictures tomorrow. But suffice it to say I think she's made a great choice and will do great things while she's there. Tough to let them go, but I'm confident she's ready to soar.

The drive home went more quickly than I expected. So Tivy took me straight to my office and I rode the bike home, so I have it available to ride tomorrow. I bypassed the rough neighborhood along the trail between Aquahart and Marley Station Mall by riding for a mile on MD Rt2. The shoulder is wide and it's well let. I had not issues there.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

6 kids really can move in 12 directions at once

Life off of the bike is always busy with 6 kids. This week even more so as they all resume school. Taylor, our oldest, departs with my wife Tivy for Elon University in North Carolina today, a bitter sweet milestone. She's transferring in with almost two full years of credit after finishing her AA degree at the Community College.

I'm working today to conserve vacation time and will fly down to Raliegh, NC this evening to meet them. Tomorrow and Saturday have a full agenda of both student and parent orientation programs on campus. We're looking forward to it and expect a fun and exciting weekend. Then Tivy and I will drive home. So one car has to go to NC.

But that leaves 5 kids home with busy schedules of their own. Justin, oldest son and number 2 child is a senior in high school and will also take an advanced calculus class at the community college while finishing high school at the same time. So he needs a car to commute back and forth between home and both schools. (We'll save the discussion of kids and bike commuting for another time).

Dad was going to use a car for work, leave it at the office (1 mile from Airport) and fly out tonight. But one vehicle fell ill and suddenly we're short. So Dad had to give up the keys and bike in. Poor me. Sunny, temps in the 60s. But someone had to sacrifice.

The Puncture Fairy paid a visit as I crossed over the interstate highway on Stewart Ave. Otherwise it really was a delightful ride.

So I've ridden one way to work after a little careful planning to make sure all of right clothing and luggage made it aboard the college bound vehicle for the weekend.

I'll sort out how to fetch the bike after we get back to town. Have a great weekend everybody.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Nice morning, cool weather and good company

I couldn't make the round trip to work this morning because I plan to participate in the Wednesday Night Sailboat Races in Annapolis this evening. There's no way to cover the distance from my office to the start in sufficient time on a bike.

So I reached out to Earl Jensen by email last night and joined him on his morning circuit to the top of the Naval Academy Bridge and back. The weather was very pleasantly cool and riding with a partner is always preferred to riding alone. We enjoyed a moderate pace and caught up on everything and nothing as we pedaled in the dark.

After the turnaround we caught up to Clif. He dropped off of the Wicked Wednesday pack for lighter pace himself. He said he's not been feeling great since the big 1000K early last month. Clif is a very strong rider. A little down time after such a grueling marathon seems quite normal but it's been 5 or 6 weeks now and I sensed he seems a little frustrated by it. Here's hoping it passes soon.

Next we picked up Bryan who also opted to drop the WW crew and wait for Clif. We four continued for a couple of miles until I broke off to return home. Brief, brisk, and a quite pleasant. A good start to the day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Through the Big Woods to Woodsboro

I rode with Theresa Furnari, Gardner Duvall, and Dave Waas (my uncle) "Through the Big Woods to Woodsboro" yesterday, a 200K permanent, RUSA perm #773. It's a hilly route with a lot of rollers and a few short but very steep climbs. The forecast threatened showers all day and the skies looked like that would be the case when we started. We did see a few light showers and the cloud cover kept the temps down the first half of the ride. After lunch in Woodsboro the skies cleared and the temps warmed in to the high 80s.

The route owner Lynn Kristianson, met us at the start to give us revised cue sheets and control cards. She'd made a mistake on the originals and had us stopping at a control that would be closed early on a Sunday morning. So the revision took that control out and added an information control at Sugarloaf Mountain. Four control cards, four different questions from the same information control stop. The volunteers like Lynn who support the Randonneuring program certainly have to put in a lot of homework and attention to detail to prepare and maintain these cue sheets. The cue sheets are remarkably accurate and the routes well researched to identify scenic and challenging routes. I used an auto-generated sheet from BikeRouteToaster.com when I rode to the beach last month and realized how much I missed those nice detailed cues provided by Lynn, Crista and the other volunteers at DC Rand who make this all work. On top of that Lynn got up on a Sunday morning and rode her bike through the misty weather to meet us with the correction. Thanks Lynn.

Leaving Bethesda in the morning, the world was quiet and there was little activity. Once outside the Beltway we passed through the land of McMansions in Potomac, MD and then it became progressively more rural and more scenic. The homes we could see from the road in Potomac were huge, and a few looked very sad, clearly abandoned to foreclosure with the driveways overgrown, fences falling down and otherwise neglected. I can't imagine what the mortgages must be like on these places.

Once we cleared Potomac we entered the scenic farm country. After the first big climb on Old Hundred Rd, Dave was apparently enjoying this stretch immensely. He blew past the turn at Dr. Perry Rd and no amount of shouting by Gardner and I could get his attention. So I got my interval workout, and a bonus mile, for the day chasing him down and yelling myself hoarse. THEN we got start the next climb up Dr. Perry Rd.

Lunch in Woodsboro was nice. It's a small town with only a few places to choose from. The cue sheet recommended Trout's Towne Restaurant. My tuna salad sub with a side of applesauce was very tasty and service was reasonably quick. I also liked that they had pictures of local residents who have served in the military on the walls and a sign offering 25% off of the check for any service member in uniform.

The sun came out and it warmed up considerably after lunch. While the forecast for heavy showers and thunderstorms wasn't very appealing, the reality of cloudy skies and only occasional light showers was actually rather pleasant all morning. Now it was hot and muggy as the ground began to dry out. It's an out and back route so the return trip offered the opposite side of the same hills and essentially the same scenery.

Shortly after the Dickerson Market control, with about 25 miles left, my chain started to give me fits, constantly skipping, and occasionally even jamming in the rear derailleur. This combined with the heat and previous 100 miles of constant up and down climbing and I fell of the pace a little bit the last quarter of the ride. It wasn't until we finished that I found the culprit, one pin had let go on one side of the chain. Remarkable that it didn't separate completely. My ride mates were patient and pulled up for me two or three times to make sure I was okay and I managed to nurse it all the way in. I gotta take a maintenance class this winter and learn how to do a better job cleaning and caring for the machine.

Gardner summarized the day well in an email last night:

Today this permanent was completed by Theresa, Mike Binnix, Uncle Dave and me. Nothing ever goes to plan, so we started in some rain, with the prediction of plenty more to come. The prediction threatened to be pretty accurate until we finished lunch, after which we rode in sunshine, high humidity, and temps above prediction. We handled this unexpected challenge nicely. I've never heard comment about this route, which I highly commend, with a big caveat. The first and last 17 miles are in and out of Bethesda. Apparently those folks all drive luxury cars and sleep late, which makes for a great start but mixed results into the finish. The climbing is mostly jammed into short steep pitches, and I think climbers could really roll this route. Everybody finished whole and happy.

That's 8 down towards the R-12. Next up is the 300K with Chris in NJ on September 18th. We still need a driver to help with the logistics if anyone is interested, please let me know.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friendly Friday

Met the SPP 05:45 crew for a ride to Annapolis. Today there were 12+ riders when we set out before dark. Great fun to ride in a peloton that big.

7 or 8 of us continued from the south end of the trail to Annapolis where we usually split for a couple of different breakfast venues. I went to Chick n Ruth's this morning, as I usually do, to meet some non-biking friends I've known since high school or earlier. Great to see Keith, Franklin, Doug and Rodney.

Earl had eaten with the other bikers at Hard Bean then re-joined me at Chick N Ruth's for the ride to the airport. I learned this evening that Earl turned the day into his second century ride since he started biking this spring: good on him! Unfortunately he also posted a photo showing a nasty bit of road rash on his knee after getting the sequence wrong while stopping the bike and unclipping from the pedals. Ouch!

I worked later than planned and clipped in just before sunset for the ride home. The first sign of trouble was the headlight indicating that I forgot to recharge! I set it to the lowest setting and hoped I'd make it home. Next I encountered the AA County Police reminding everyone on the trail just north of Marley Mall that the trail is closed at sunset. When I explained that I was commuting home and that if they kicked me off the trail I'd be on Ritchie Hwy in the dark, they let me pass.

That section does frequently attract loitering, mostly by teenagers and I often see broken beer bottles and other litter along there. It's the only section where I've felt at all uncomfortable when a pack of teens once looked at me and blatantly ignored me when I indicated I'd like to pass with a simple "excuse me". They stared and then turned their back on me, continuing to hold the center of the path, leaving me only the grass to get around them. There were 10 or 12 of them at the time and I remember worrying if one of the guys, high on his own testosterone might decide I was suddenly a problem. But nothing else came of it.

This evening the police were really trying to discourage similar incidents and I appreciate their effort, even if it means my transgression (using the trail after dark) must also be noted.

I'm taking tomorrow off of the bike to help a friend rebuild her roof. Then Sunday I'm riding a 200K with Theresa, Gardner and my Uncle Dave Waas. A busy weekend to look forward to.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Foggy ride to work, moonlight ride home

Set out a little later than normal this morning. I clipped in about 5:45. It was very humid this morning and a little foggy. Some bozo ripped out the signs along the trail that remind riders to stay right, pass on the left, etc. It was the set just north of Jumper's Hole Rd. Then left them laying in the trail where a biker with inadequate lights might hit them or a jogger trip over them. Otherwise it was uneventful.

The ride home was also a late start. I set out just before sunset and rode home mostly under a moonlit sky. It was cooler, the humidity had dropped significantly, and it was very pleasant.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More Work

Rode with Chris both ways today, always better to have good company than to ride alone. Of course just as I was trying to leave to meet Chris at the train station, the phone rang, and I had to chat with my boss a few minutes. I hate being late to meet a friend like that.

As we rode home we met Carl riding along the trail. He paced us for a while and I shared an SPP card with him and invited him to join us for a weekend ride. I hope we meet again.

We also witnessed a near catastrophe at Robinson Rd. West bound traffic stopped to waive trail riders through. There were several of us stacked on both sides of the road ready to cross. Eastbound traffic was some distance away but apparently the lead car was speeding excessively. As a northbound rider set off, slowly, in to the travel lanes, the driver had to lock her brakes to avoid hitting him. Fortunately it all ended well.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ride to work

Chris didn't join me so I rode solo and started a little later than normal. I paid for it in the evening, that leg started late too. Got home after dark. The route was the usual. Follow the link on the left to Garmin Connect to see it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sandy Point - Bay Ridge and The Wall

Long slow distance today. I rode out to Sandy Point. The wind was blustery and skys gray. But it was also pleasantly cool. At Sandy Point there were a few determined families on the beach playing in surf. I'm sure the water was warm and pleasant to play in, but with no sun the beach was nearly deserted.

Next I rode through downtown Annapolis and then around the Bay Ridge neighborhood. There were several wind surfers and kite boarders off of the Bay Ridge beach enjoying the stiff winds.

Finally on the way home I rode through the Winchester neighborhood and climbed "The Wall" that leads up from the Chase Creek waterfront back to Arnold. If you click the Garmin track and look at the details, check out the elevation change, and my heart rate, around mile 36.

When I got back I cleaned and lubed the chain. I found one chain link nearly separated. I was able to reset the pin with my chain tool, but it looks like I'm due for another new chain soon.

New gadget - Google Latitude

Google Latitude integrates with Google Maps to publish my location via GPS and my blackerry. Google also provides the little widget in the lower left corner of the blog to show where I am right now. My intent is to turn it on from the phone when I'm on the bike so the family and others who care can follow progress during long rides.

It's not ideal. Latitude tracks history of changes which in theory could show a breadcrumb trail of where i've been. But the display gadget only shows the most recent. I can turn this little tracker on and off from my phone by changing the privacy settings. A little experimenting shows the feedback from phone to website is awfully darn close to real time. No I don't intend to leave it on all the time, just on the bike.

If I find a better tool for displaying recent history I'll update it. If anyone else uses this, or similar tools, I'd like to hear what you think.

Oxford Summer Race 2010

The Oxford Summer Races include a race from Annapolis to Oxford on Friday followed by a day of racing around a short course in the Choptank River on Saturday. Work precluded my participation in the Friday leg down to Oxford.


But the crew of Diamond in the Rough reports that Easterly breeze at 18+ kts all day made for an exciting run. It was a close reach to Black Walnut point, then they had to beat in to the wind up the Choptank River and finally a short leg up the Tred Avon river to finish at the Tred Avon Yacht Club in Oxford. They suffered a broken jib halyard shortly after turning upwind which cost them a few minutes' time while they set another jib on the other halyard. The finish was a respectable 5th place only a few minutes out the top 3, and I'm sure that would have been 2nd or 3rd without out the equipment malfunction.

I drove down on Friday evening and traded places with Bob Deyoung who drove my truck back to Annapolis Friday evening so he could meet other commitments he had on Saturday. I got to enjoy the club party Friday evening and slept on deck under the stars Friday night.


Saturday at first light we hoisted skipper Jim Mumper up the mast to replace the broken halyard in case we might need it during the day's races. Then the crew enjoyed a nice breakfast in the park of Oxford. Oxford is a real life version of what I imagine Mayberry was like in the old TV show "The Andy Griffith Show". It's just a lovely small town right on the water. Most homes are modest in size with picket fences, neat gardens, and trim lawns. Many people get around town on foot or by bike. Businesses include many boat yards and maritime related manufacturers or services, several are known throughout the Bay boating community for exceptional craftsmanship and service.


After breakfast we set out for the race course on Choptank river, about an hour's trip under power. The wind was from the East South East 8 - 10 kts with some some puffs up to 12kts or more. It was also oscillating in direction about 20 - 30 degrees throughout the day, making a tactically challenging day of racing. The temperature was in the 80's and the humidity was low. So it was also a gorgeous day to be on the water.

The committee set a windward - leeward course. Each leg was aprox 2 miles long and we had to sail twice around for a total of 8 miles. The axis of the course was due east west, 090 deg mag upwind - 270 deg mag downwind. But the true wind direction was about 110 deg mag with 20 degree oscillations. That offset would prove decisive at the end of the race. This map shows the approximate location of the course and the start-finish line. Note that we didn't start at one end, but rather at a point about 1/3 of the way between the windward and leeward marks. From the start we sailed first to the windward mark (heading East). Then turn downwind to the leeward mark and so on for two full laps around the course.

View Oxford Summer Race 2010 (positions approximate) in a larger map

We got off to a tough start when we were over the line a few seconds early before the horn sounded signaling the official start for our class. That meant we had to turn around and re-cross the line to start legally putting us slightly behind our competition from the beginning. There were only 3 boats in our class and as a result of the miscue at the start we were now playing "catch up" with the other two for almost the entire race. GOOD TIMES took advantage of an excellent start to jump to an early lead over DIAMOND (our boat) and RESTLESS that would prove insurmountable. GOOD TIMES just kept going and going and neither RESTLESS nor DIAMOND had a chance to catch them. But it was a close horse race between us and RESTLESS the whole way.

Playing catchup, we had nothing to loose. So we took more aggressive maneuvers at the turning marks. In particular we opted do a jibe set at the windward mark both times around the course while RESTLESS opted for the more conservative bare away set each time. This meant we had a more complex maneuver for the crew to execute, but put is in better sailing position after it was done if we didn't make any mistakes. There were only 5 of us on the boat for the day, while our ideal for a short course would be 7 or more, but with the moderate winds and the fact that we were now behind we had little choice but to be aggressive. It paid off very well. We completed the maneuvers successfully even with fewer hands, and at each mark ate in to RESTLESS' lead. But on both downwind legs RESTLESS had better boat speed and would pull away again.

By pushing like this throughout the race we kept within reach of RESTLESS. On the final leg we took down the spinnaker and had to tack back upwind approx 3/4 mile to the finish. RESTLESS was round the mark and had their spinnaker down about 1 minute before us. They tacked immediately, heading towards the left or north side of the course. If we made a similar tack we would likely experience identical oscillations in wind speed and direction and continue to follow RESTLESS, finishing a minute or so behind them.

Instead we opted to favor the right or southern side of the course while tacking towards the finish line. This decision paid off in spades. Remember, the wind axis at 110 was a little south of the course axis at 090. The oscillations favored this side of the course during the final 20 minutes or so of the race and we sped past RESTLESS, finishing a full 5 minutes ahead of them after trailing the whole day. Pop the champagne corks, we had pressed hard all day despite an early mistake that put us at a disadvantage. It was really a lot of fun and very gratifying.


After our race was done, we got to watch the log canoes race in the Tred Avon river. These are really fascinating boats. Many were originally built as working boats in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They are narrow and have very low free board, like a canoe. The were used to dredge oysters and crabs in those early days. Today some of these old work boats still survive, others are more modern recreations, but all are limited to recreational racing against each other, to my knowledge none are any longer employed in commercial harvesting of seafood any longer.

The low free board and a large sail area make them inherently unstable. They rely on crews on large planks extended to the windward side of the boat to balance the pressure of the sails and keep the boats upright. Fascinating to watch them racing each other.

From Log Canoes in Oxford, MD Aug 2010


The final treat of the weekend was the ride home. After watching the log canoes and enjoying crab cakes for dinner, we left to take DIAMOND back home to Annapolis. We expected a calm night using the diesel. Instead we got a strong southerly breeze. After exiting Knapps Narrows and turning north we hoisted the mainsail, cut the engine and made it home in only about 5 hours. It was a delightful end to a great day. Many thanks to Jim for another great adventure.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friendly Friday

Headed out the door at 5:00 to join the SPP Friendly Friday ride to Annapolis. I hadn't ridden at all Wed or Thursday. The bike was tuned up Wednesday and Wednesday night is sailing night so I can't commute to work on the bike AND make it to the boat in the evening. Thursday morning I took my folks to the airport to begin their Alaska vacation.

So this was the first ride in two days and the first ride after the tune up. It seemed prudent to check the tire pressure. I connected my floor pump to the front tire and the handle immediately rose up out of the pump and hit me in the chest as I was leaning over it attaching the hose to the stem of inner tube. It appears the check valve in the pump has gone faulty and the whole time I'm messing with it I managed to deflate, not top off, my front tire. Now I'm pressed for time. So I burned a CO2 cartridge and took of for the RB. I met 4 others there, including Jerry who rode all the way down from Catonsville.

Jerry and I were the only ones from usual Chick n Ruth club so we opted for breakfast with the other riders at Hard Bean. It was nice to eat outdoors. The breeze was up and the sky looked threatening but we never actually got rained on. A nice start to the day.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hi Ho Hi Ho to work I go

A pleasant ride in and home. Managed to synch schedules so Chris and I could ride ride together both ways. We're planning our big 300K ride in September and used the time to go over some of the details.

That's six straight days I've ridden since last Thursday. Tomorrow is sailing so I'll take the day off of the bike. I turned the bike in to BD Arnold for a tune up and new bar tape.

Monday, August 9, 2010

5000 Miles This Year

Well that was actually a little anti-climactic. I hit 5000 miles for the year just north of Marley Mall as Chris and I rode in to work this morning. There were no balloons or confetti, no one jumped out and asked me if I was going to Disney World. But it is a neat milestone to contemplate. A year and half ago I weighed 300 lbs and 10 miles seemed like a big day on the bike. Today I'm planning my first 300K ride and feeling "slow" because my round drip to work was a mere 14.5 mph average speed.

Congrats to friend Chris. He got the club's High Mileage Award for July for the SPP mileage challenge, with over 1100 miles in July alone. He'll also hit 5000 for the year this week baring unforeseen circumstances.

Politics and Business

I use this blog primarily to share my biking adventures, occasional sailing adventures, and other fun parts of my life.

To support these habits I'm also the Chief Technical Officer of Knowledge Management Solutions, Inc. Our software product helps businesses, non-profits, and governments agencies manage their training and education programs.

In this role I've been very frustrated lately to see the Federal Government continue to implement policies that make it tougher to operate a small business.

This Op-Ed piece in today's Wall Street Journal by the president of a small business in NJ illustrates and quantifies the problem much better than I can. Thank you Mr. Fleisher.

We will now resume our regularly scheduled program of biking and sailing news.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Great Sunday Ride too!

Went to clip in at 7:40 to meet the SPP 8:00 am Sunday ride and found the front tire flat. Dealt with that and figured I still had time to intercept them south bound on the trail. That worked out fine and we had a great ride to Sandy Point then downtown for breakfast and finally home. I counted 9 of us for most of the trip though a couple of others joined and left at various points along the way. Another great morning, low 80s' slight more humidity than yesterday, but nothing like the last couple of weeks in July. A great way to wrap up the weekend.

But when I plugged the Garmin in to upload the ride to Garmin Connect the history file became corrupt. The history read out on the device still shows the summary details: 36.46 miles 16.2 mph average, 3,164 calories, but no way to recover it and read it elsewhere. Strange.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Great Saturdy Riding

I rose at 5 am and knew I should take care of a few maintenance chores. I removed the commuting rack for the weekend. Cleaned and lubed the drive chain and checked the air in the tires. Then I clipped in and headed to meet the early crew at the Ranger Station at 6:00. I was running a few minutes so I set a hard pace and arrived just 2 or 3 minutes late. 5 of us set out there for the Solley Rd loop through Pasadena: Bryan, Clif, Jeff, Me and a new member Mike.

While saying our hellos before heading out Mike shared that he had just returned from a bike tour of the Alps. Sometimes it takes a new member a few miles for him to be comfortable in a tight pace line with the other riders and vice versa. It took Mike maybe a quarter mile to settle in. We held a tight line and set a brisk pace the first 15 miles rotating the lead continuously. The weather was cool and world was just waking up. It was really a lot of fun and a good workout. I started to fade slightly the last few miles. I didn't eat anything due to my rushed departure from the house and I was starting to feel it. Clif also mentioned his legs were tight and still not fully recovered from the 1000K earlier this month. So we dropped back slightly and all regrouped at Java Diva's.

Chris Lane was waiting there for us. Of course we razzed him that he hadn't "earned" his J.D. coffee after missing the 6:00 am start. He had some excuses about alarm clock malfunctions and panty hose caught in his chain ring. We had several minutes to visit and enjoy our java then we headed across to the R.B. to meet the big social ride.

It was a huge turnout, 15+ riders from the Rusty Bridge. But we set out at a much faster pace than normal and for reasons still not clear to me the lead riders left the normal route. Instead of bearing right and picking up Old County Rd. at Evergreen, they hooked left and took B & A Blvd. I thought maybe they were just bypassing the construction on Old County and would turn right at Round Bay rd to resume the normal route. Nope.... kept going.

Okay, we'll grab the trail again at the other end of Old County. Nope... kept going, and still at the crazy hard pace while some of our number were falling back.

So the group was fracturing a bit. Chris and I dropped back at Glen Oban and picked up the trail. The south end of B & A ends at Ritchie Hwy and it made no sense to me to go there with a clear, if crowded trail to bypass it.

Our normally orderly peloton got a bit split up. Some riders followed Chris and I on the trail and some stayed with the pack.

But we all regrouped in Annapolis and enjoyed a great breakfast on city dock. Everyone grabbed their favorite cuppa joe and a snack from Hard Bean, City Dock or the Market House and then ate in the square next to Market House. It was just so nice to be outside with temps in the low 80s and low humidity.

After a long leisurely breakfast Chris and a few others opted to head back up the trail for home. The rest of us took a loop through Bay Ridge and the pack was much more orderly from here on. After Bay Ridge I bid farewell. Janet, Bill and I turned for home. The rest, now about 8 riders were headed for Crownsville to stretch the nice day even further.

Despite the lack of communication about the intended route, it was a great morning riding with good friends.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Getting back to old routines

Met the SPP this morning at the Rusty Bridge at 5:45. Almost a dozen of us set out for Friendly Friday. It was great to see everyone. Most of us continued to Annapolis for B'fast. I enjoyed catching up with Clif, Chris, Earl, Jim and the others. I also met Ed for the first time, he's the girls Cross Country coach at SPHS.

I had breakfast with friends Rod, Charlie and Charlie's son Noah at Chick N Ruth's while most of the other biker's went to Hard Bean for quicker service. Earl rejoined me at CnR and rode with me to the Airport after breakfast. Most of the SPP group was scattered by then. But Earl often makes Fridays his big mileage day and after accompanying me to the airport, he went to log over 70 miles before the day was done. I enjoyed the company on what would otherwise have been a solo leg to the office. You can read about Earl's day here.

After work I set a very leisurely pace home. The humidity had broken and it was a very pleasant evening. I stopped for an ice cream from the truck that happened to be at the Dixon plane observation park along the trail and otherwise enjoyed a slow, lazy bike ride.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Chris Lane and I rode to work together Tuesday and again on the way home. It was fun to ride together. One or the other of us has been out of town most of the month of July so this was the first time on the bikes together in quite some time. Nothing really remarkable about the ride itself. It was a bit hot and muggy.

Wednesday I took the day off of the bike

Today I rode in by myself. I got a very late start and the pace was leisurely in both directions. The ride home included a light drizzle, but I dodged the thunderstorms, tornado warnings and other dire weather bashing around the region this evening. The picture of the day shows one man's solution to riding in the rain. The garmin tracks are available on the Garmin Connect link on the left but since the route doesn't change much, I didn't embed them here this this time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Return to Work

As Monday's go, this one could have been a lot worse. First day back from vacation, 10,000 emails waiting, etc. But it actually wasn't that bad. I think I struck a pretty good balance while out, checking in with the office once every other day or so and delegating as needed.

There was a lot to attend to and I worked late today, but no real surprises.

The worst surprise was personal, not professional. I weighed in yesterday morning and packed on almost 10 lbs since my last weigh in mid-June. Too much food and drink certainly played a role. But I'm riding stronger than ever and I'd like to think some of it is muscle not fat. Anyway, the return to civilization hasn't been too bad on balance.

Riding home this evening I passed the carnival in Glen Burnie. Funnel Cakes, Cotton Candy and cheap thrill rides. Lots of people were out enjoying the pleasant evening, including hundreds of young kids. It's fun to see people having fun.

From The Carni in Glen Burnie