Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - Finding Some Balance

Yes The ChesapeakeSailor has been on hiatus since this summer.  Gone but not forgotten.  This is just a quick New Years Eve note to assure any readers I have left that I have not retired the bike; nor do I intend to retire the blog.

When last I posted I was about to head out on the Many Rivers and Fords 600K.  Like the 400K two weeks prior I wound up with a DNF on that outing.  I completed the first 244 miles of a planned 375.   I did that in a respectable 22 hours.  Conveniently the control for the intermission at mile 244 was the same hotel as the start and finish.

When I lay down I was feeling very good about the whole endeavor, looking forward to taking on the last 200K the next morning.  But when I tried to wake up and get moving again, nothing was working correctly, in particular my fingers and eyesight.  Apparently a 3 hour nap wasn't quite enough, or maybe it was too much.  If I tried to lay down for only one more hour or two I feared missing the next control.  So it was either go then or quit. I chose what I felt was the safe option and stayed put in that hotel, slept about 6 more hours.

I have spent a lot of time since then second guessing the details of that sequence.  Could I have kept riding at 2 am and then napped later in the heat of the day, with many critical miles already behind me? Could I have worked through my fatigue when I woke from my nap at 5 am, with over 14 hours left to finish the last 200K?  I'll go in to those details more in another post.

But it also caused me to take some time to reflect on some bigger questions.  Why was I riding so much?  What did I want to accomplish?  Was the time on my bike worth the time away from other parts of life?

I kept riding but not at quite such frantic pace.  I took my first "tour" on the bike.  I rode solo for two days from home in Severna Park, MD to our family vacation in Lewes, DE where I met my family for a week at the beach.  I camped over night in a state park. 190 miles total.  I loved it:  2 days of solitude, no time limits, no controls, no kids or customers to attend to.  No ride partner to worry if I was holding him up, or stewing he might be holding me up.  But it was REALLY humid in July.  Next time I think I'll find a hotel, or go in October when I can count on a little nicer weather.

After that the riding pace backed off a bit and my focuse shifted to the kids, to work, to the Cub Scouts.  The bike still has a place, but it had become a little too much of a focus.   With less miles came better balance, and I'm afraid a few lbs.  It seems I was still eating for the higher mileage pace.

So that sets the stage for my 2013 goals:  To keep the balance and get more fit.

That means smarter eating and smarter training.  SMARTER not harder.  There won't be a specific mileage goal this year.  Fitness will be measured by weight loss, how my clothes fit, and how I feel.  My left knee REALLY objected to the Thanksgiving day Turkey Bowl I played in with my kids' and neighbors.  It took nearly 3 weeks for swelling to go down.  I'm sure the extra weight contributed to the problem.  Yesterday's perm demonstrated it's healed; 200K with no knee issues.  I don't want to skip next years' Turkey Bowl.  So I'll start learning and doing, exercises to strengthen the knee and lighten the load a bit.  I'll be working on the rest of the bod too.  Off the bike, physical conditioning has gotten much attention.  I realize that needs to change.

Balance means making time for my wife, my kids, the Cub Scouts (I'm committed through February, 2014), work (not really a choice), and the rest of life. This was re-enforced by some friends' personal tragedies this year.  None of us is immune to bad things happening.  If my family should ever face a crisis or a death, I don't want there to be any regrets.  I don't ever want to say "I wish I had...." in that context.  I think my friends offered a tremendous example in this regard.  They put their family first, they did everything right.  When the time came to confront their moment of crisis, they had to deal with terrible grief and loss.  But I never heard regret.  Putting so much energy in to cycling goals, and coming up short on some of those, made me realize I was over-committed. That I might be putting myself in a situation where I'd later regret how I set my priorities.   So I shifted a bit.  Finding that balance is still a work in progress, but I know I'll get it right.

This is all a bit rambling, and if you read along this far, thank you. I don't plan to write too many more ride reports.  I'm just not that impressed with my own narrative skills.  So instead I'll use this forum to share my thoughts on what happens to me and to my life.  I'll post less frequently and only when I have more to say.  Like tonight.

Happy New Year everyone.  I hope you find your balance too.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Many Rivers and Fords 600K - coming up

Despite my challenges on the 400K two weeks ago, I've decided to proceed with the original plan and ride the Many Rives and Fords 600K this weekend sponsored by DCRand.

After posting my thoughts about the aborted 400K attempt two weeks ago I received a lot of condolences, suggestions and advice.  Some of it was even quite constructive.  Perhaps the most striking was a simple reminder about weather norms and the calendar.  It seemed unlikely the 600K weekend would replicate the extreme heat and humidity we saw in Frederick and if I complete the 600K, there was a full schedule of 400K options in the middle Atlantic region this summer and early autumn.  So maybe my SR campaign didn't need to end this year.  Also the 600K includes plenty of rolling terrain but very little in the way of extreme grades or very long climbs.

As it stands now the forecast calls for highs in the 80s with humidity mid day only around 50-60% rather than sauna like conditions we saw two weeks ago. I'm encouraged by that.

I've also concluded that my fueling strategy for 200K distances simply isn't adequate for 300K+ distances. At both the 300K in late April and the 400K late May trouble set in around mile 100. Both were in rural countryside and offered no opportunity to stop for a meal until mile 60+ but on Fleche in early April we stopped at mile 35 for a planned control, at about mile 60 to bandage a team member's hand after a fall, and at mile 90 for another planned control, at mile 125, mile 155, etc... we never went more than 40 miles without a stop of 20+ minutes and in several cases up to an hour.  Our team captain also called a couple of road side stops either immediately before or immediately after particularly tough stretches.

I will need to be my own team captain this weekend and enforce a similar pattern.  I will stop approx every 40 miles to eat, stretch and cool down.  Since this route is similarly rural.. some of these increments will mean finding some shade and stopping to take my shoes off and cool down.  I'll adjust the menu to include a bit more sodium after reviewing the latest science on electrolyte replacement.  A bag of salty chips at each control and more gatorade and perpetuem to supplement plain water.

Here's the course. 378 miles.  I have 40 hours to complete it, 4:00 am Saturday until 8:00 pm Sunday.  The route is a double loop and we check back in at the start, a hotel, at 242 miles in.  With a little luck I'll have sufficient time to stop and take a couple hours nap at the hotel and perhaps a shower and fresh kit.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pay It Forward

I rode the bike to work this morning and then left the office at 4 to ride to Annapolis for the Wednesday Night Sailboat Races.  I've never done that before, but wanted to try it to see how tight the schedule would be.  Sailing will continue every Wednesday until Labor Day. I'd prefer it no longer represent a reason not to ride to work on Wednesdays.  I need to leave the office right at 4 to make it work but it's manageable.  It helps that it's a net descent from the office to the waterfront in Annapolis.

On my way to Annapolis about a half mile south of the Ranger Station on the B&A trail I could see a crowd ahead and as I approached I could see a cyclist sitting on the pavement who was clearly the center of attention.  I slowed to ask if they needed help and didn't receive a firm "no thank you" or "we're fine", so I stopped.  The rider was wiping blood from several scrapes and seemed a little dazed.  The others gathered described him swerving to avoid a turkey vulture or other large bird.  It looked to me like the swerve caused his front wheel to drop of the pavement, probably with some speed on.  There were a lot of gawkers but little was being done to help the poor fellow.

He had several scrapes, the worst on his left elbow.  I didn't see any scrapes on his helmet, and he indicated he did not hit his head.  I asked him to look me in the eye, follow my finger and give me his name and the date. I'm not en EMT, Paramedic or Doctor and these tests are certainly not conclusive but by now he seemed quite alert. No odd dilation nor any evidence he was still disoriented.  I broke out my kit bag and asked the lady standing next to me to treat the cut on his elbow with antibiotic and a bandage.   I encouraged  the rider to see a doctor when he got home in case he had  bumped his head, I was still a little concerned that he initially seemed dazed though he quickly snapped out of it.

I turned my attention to his bike.  He had  flat front tire. He was not carrying a spare tube and the one I had was too big for his skinny tires.  We found two small tears in the tube and patched it with the stick on patches I was carrying.  Re - mounted and inflated the tire. It seemed to be holding.  We shook hands and wished each other a good day. He promised to have his wife check him over and implied she is a medical professional of some sort.  He then resumed his trip north.  I continued south and still made it to Annapolis in time to catch the boat despite the ten minute stop.

Sometimes it feels really good just to help someone who needs a hand.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

DCRand 400K - Had to abandon

Well that certainly wasn't how I wanted the 400K to go.  It was HOT yesterday.  Some riders with thermometers built in to their computers reported temps as high as 100 deg F.  For the first 73 miles from the start to Shippensburg, WV I felt good and was pleased with how the day was going.  I made it up and over the first big climb at Snickers' Gap without incident.  By 10:30 when I rolled in to the control at Shippensburg it was getting hot and I knew I needed to eat and cool down, but I was confident.  I loaded a sock with ice to wrap behind my neck and ate half a sandwich then set out for Hancock, at mile 110.

But things began to steadily deteriorate from there.  As I rode to Hancock I got hotter and hotter and slower and slower. The ice in the sock lasted the first 15 miles but it was a 37 mile leg.  I found some shade around noon to take a short rest, eat the other half of the sandwich, apply fresh sunscreen and take stock of the day.  My pace was slowing even on the flats and descents, and I was feeling more and more fatigued. I ate more snacks, drank more water and even had to stop to relieve myself, a good sign that at least I was staying ahead of dehydration.

When I finally rolled in to Hancock at about 1:30 I felt completely spent.  I stopped at Subway and had a six inch sub and two bottles of gatorade.  Most importantly I cooled down in the air conditioning.  I started to feel a little better.  The next leg leaving Hancock was the most challenging with steady, steep rollers and one big climb before Shippensburg.  The hottest part of the day was just beginning and those who had ridden the check ride a week prior reported little shade.  If I recovered sufficiently to make Shippensburg I'd likely arrive feeling as bad or worse as I did pulling in to Hancock and would still have 90 miles left for a successful finish.  From Hancock I was confident I had another 50 miles in my legs, but I was not confident I had the whole ride left. I decided I was better off using my remaining energy for the day trying to get back to the start at Frederick than proceeding with the ride. Google maps showed that a direct route to Frederick was likely another 50 - 60 miles.  A combination of trails and roads close to the Potomac river should get me close to the start with minimal climbing before I had to break from the river to reach Frederick.

Then Dave S who was also recovering at Subway mentioned that he was considering abandoning the ride as well.  Dave lives near Frederick and his son Matt was available to help.  We hatched a plan to ride the Western Maryland Rail Trail to it's South Eastern terminus. Flat, shaded, smoothly paved,  It would be nothing like the route in front of us if we continued the brevet.  From there we could pick the up C & O canal toe path for a few more miles until Matt could meet us.  He would be coming up I-70 on a parallel track in the opposite direction.  It was simply matter of choosing the exit where we would all arrive at about the same time.  We might have 30 more miles to ride and both felt up to it. So we set out.  It turns out Matt made better time than expected heading our way and we only rode another 10 miles to the rendezvous.

Letting go of this ride means no Super Randonneur series this year and ends my monthly string of 200K+ brevets since last October at 7 and so will reset the clock on the prospects of a second R-12 award. This was also the first big ride I've ever had to abandon.   I'm disappointed to see these goals slip away this year.  I'm confident I made the right decision at the time for the circumstances I was confronted with.  But it also means my training and physical readiness for this event and the subsequent 600K in a few weeks simply weren't as ready as I believed.  So I have to revisit those goals and my training approach to decide how best to reset them.  Stay tuned to this channel for more on that later.

Many thanks to Dave and Matt for the assistance when I needed it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

400 K Brevet This Weekend

The plan: ride 400 kilometers (250 miles) across four states in one day. To get credit for an official finish from RUSA I need to finish the ride in 27 hours though my goal is to finish in 24 hours.  If I can finish rides of 200K, 300K, 400K and 600K in a single calendar year I am eligible for the Super Randonneur award. I hate that name, it sounds silly, but it is a meaningful riding achievement and a goal I've set for myself this year.  I completed the 300K in April.  The 200K is a distance I've completed almost two dozen times. I respect the effort, but it no longer intimidates me.  But I still have to participate in one of a limited number remaining on the schedule this year.

The 400K this weekend is intimidating but only 15 miles longer than my previous personal best, on the Fleche April 15th.  The weather this Saturday will be hot mid day but otherwise well suited to a long day in the saddle.  The 600K (375 miles) is only two weeks away. THAT one is a little scary.  One reason I will push for the 24 hour target this weekend is to test myself for the 600K. The 600K has a 40 hour time limit. I'm quite sure I can't go 40 hours without sleep.  If I finish the first 400K of the 600K in 24 hours I could afford myself a 4 hour nap and still have 12 hours left to finish the last 200K at the same pace I rode the first 400K, makes sense, right?  The 600K route also conveniently returns at the 400K point to the same hotel where it starts to afford riders exactly this option while keeping the logistics easy.

To do all of this I have to up my game a bit from the 300K in April.  I started out the 300K low on sleep, low on fuel and slightly dehydrated. I bonked 100 miles in.  I can't make the same mistake this weekend.  I've focused this week on sleep and hydration.  I've backed off my recent riding mileage a bit to rest my legs and I've tried to eat a healthy balance of carbs, protein and vegies every day.  I don't plan to have any more alcohol until after the ride is finished.   I will force myself to bed early tonight and again tomorrow night.

I'm also stripping the bike of redundant gear I just haven't needed on Fleche or the 300K.  The forecast temp range from 66 - 92 F means I don't need to carry much in the way of spare clothing.  Leg and arm warmers in case it's a little cooler overnight on some of the hills and a very thin rain vest in case I get caught in a thunder shower.  A sock with a plastic bag inside will hold ice on the back of my neck during the heat of the day.  Lighting, tools and spare parts all got a thorough review this week and the kit trimmed of things I never use or could make do without. For instance CO2 doesn't save the need for a pump so it's staying behind.   The reduced bulk will avoid the need for any sort of rear luggage and associated support fixtures. EVERYTHING will fit in my bar bag.  The tools will ride in a plastic bottle with a wide mouth in one of the bottle cages (I carry a camelback and don't really need two bottles either).  Even the amount of food I carry will be reduced slightly, I've finished every ride so far this year with a couple of granola bars left in the bag from start to finish while I eat other fare purchased along the way.  So I'll keep eating off of the economy and carry a little less.

In all I estimate I've shed 5 lbs of gear from the load I carried on fleche.  That doesn't sound like much for a 250 lb guy riding a 30 lb steel bike.  Bicycling magazine recently published an article on rider body weight. A coach quoted in the article estimated the cost of excess weight at 15-20 secs / mile / lb. while climbing.  I realize I'm stretching to apply a racing performance metric like that to static bike and gear weight. A lb of body weight is more than just the energy required to lift it, but also the cardio vascular efficiency and other variables in athletic performance. And I'm no racer, not evening an aspiring one.  But lets assume our apples and oranges weigh about the same for a minute.  I'll be on an uphill slope at least 1/4 of this ride if not more.  At the conservative end 15s/mile/lb x 5 lbs x 62 miles = 1 hour 17 min of time saved. If it buys me half of that, without leaving me feel stranded without something I needed, it will have been a worthy exercise.  The route tomorrow is estimated at 15000 feet of climbing.  Not extreme over that distance, but a respectable workout.  Fleche was just over 14000 feet, though it looks like this weekend I'll be spared some of the extreme grades we saw on Fleche.  And don't worry, I'm still carrying two spare inner tubes, my 900 piece multi-tool and spare spokes.

Okay I just let slip the real opportunity here, I weigh 250 lbs.  I'm sure more than one attentive reader is thinking "loose some 20 - 30 - 40 lbs of body weight and you'll really fly up those hills". Of course that's true. But today's post focuses on the here and now preps to complete the 400K this weekend.  Stay tuned for more this summer on my battle with the ballast.

Here are a few links describing the event and route:
  • MG and Ed, the official organizers, rode a check ride over the route last weekend. MG's report is here.
  • The official cue sheet and riding instructions from DC Rand are here
  • A map provided by fellow rider George M from two years ago is here. There have been some minor changes but it gives you a feel for where we're going and has a topographical profile too.
Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

DCRand Warrenton 300K

April has been a busy month and I've ridden a personal record number of miles this month (vs prior years in April). But my writing muse has been AWOL and I've not done a good job documenting the experience.  Work, training for the big rides, riding the big rides, becoming the Cub Master of the local Cub Scout Pack and attending some family events, kids' ball games, etc has me a little stretched and the blog was one of the first things I let slip. I'm afraid I'll regret not documenting some lessons learned and noting key memories from these events so I'm going to try to make this a priority again.

I completed the Fleche with Team Chain Reaction on April 14-15, only two weeks ago.  That stands for now as my longest ever single ride: 235 miles.  It was a five man team event and we had a wonderful time.  Our team captain Earl Jannsen did a great job documenting the experience and since I've let over 2 weeks pass I'll settle for a link to his post and move on to yesterday's 300K.

The weather forecast predicted temps in the 40s and 50s all day with a chance of showers, nearly complete cloud cover all day and calm winds.  That's pretty much what we got. I spent a little too much mental energy in the days before this ride debating the trade off about whether to carry my full cold/wet kit: showers pass jacket, chaps, gaiters and over gloves.  In the end I decided the extra pound or two was better than to risk getting wet and chilled in heavy rain.   It was the right call.  It wasn't worth the fretting I put in to it.  This could have been sorted out when I packed for the trip.  The prior days' angst was pointless and unproductive.

On the other hand food didn't get as much thought in advance and proved to be a problem. Bill and Maile published a good summary by email a few days prior noting that the opportunities to stop and re-fuel were more limited than some of us are accustomed to.  I noted on the cue sheet reminders of where I could expect to find water.  I've found in the cool temps that stopping every 35 - 40 miles to refill the camel back keeps me hydrated and provides a few minutes rest to the legs and my back side.  But several of these were remote country stores not a 7-11 or better with sandwiches and other more substantial food. So while I always had plenty of water, I didn't eat enough.  I planned to replicate my fleche menu with a little trail mix for variety.  So I did carry and eat the same on-the-bike food as I had on fleche.  Equal parts fig newtons and peanut butter crackers sealed 8 pieces to a bag.  A bag of 8 fits nicely in my little top tube box and I can eat them while riding.  A couple of peanut butter granolla bars also make for good rations when you want to make a brief stop to eat without making it a meal.  But on Fleche we stopped for a more substantial meal  every 50 miles or so.  Here the opportunities for such stops were less frequent and it mattered more than I realized.  My first sandwich was at mile 64 at the control in Syria, VA and was only a slice of ham on a biscuit. Had I eaten properly before the start that likely would have been sufficient but as it was I only had a bagel and banana before the start.  The result was that by mile 100 I was falling further behind in the calorie count and was bonking.  I stopped at the Hardees in Gordonsville, ate a hamburger, fries, and a large coke.  Then on the way out of town I spotted an inviting picnic table on the grounds of the little league ball field.  There was a girls softball team having practice, but I wouldn't be in their way and they certainly wouldn't bother me unless they dropped a fly ball on me.  The sun even came out while I napped on the table with my helmet propped under my head for a pillow.  20 minutes of bliss napping in the only sunshine I recall all day, while the burger and fries worked their way in to my blood stream. I woke up refreshed and ready for the next leg to Orange, VA.

Despite the food challenge, and cool, damp weather, the ride was through some gorgeous country side. Central Virginia is very pretty farm country and I didn't realize there was so much cattle farming in this area but there were a lot of pastures with cattle grazing and many cows nursing young calves.  I also encountered one on the wrong side of the fence!!  She was grazing and eating the grass growing beside the shoulder.  She started when she turned and saw me but didn't run or charge and just watched me ride by.  The funny thing is, the same thing happened on the last 300K brevet I rode in May, 2011.    Uber-blogger Mary G posted some great photos of the area.  Page through them carefully and note the one she captured of a much bigger dog in mid-stride, it's very striking.  RBA Bill Beck also posted his photos of the day.

In addition to the cow I also had a very silly dog encounter.  A pair of little teacup poodles with chips on their shoulders decided the home front HAD to protected and I was the threat.  They were surprisingly fast and paced me for nearly a quarter mile one on each side, sometimes as close as a foot away from the rear wheel. I was more concerned for their safety than mine and held a steady pace while trying to sternly encourage them to go back with "NO" and "STAY!!".  Eventually they wore out or lost interest and turned back for home.

At Orange, VA I rolled in to the control at the Daily Korner restaurant and was surprised to see another rider. Ahi had just pulled in a few minutes ahead of me and was still waiting for his order.  I had a milkshake, chicken noodle soup and grilled ham and cheese sandwich.  It was fantastic food and served quickly.  Ahi and I agreed we'd ride together for a while but it was apparent his preferred pace was a bit more relaxed than mine.  I was recovered from my bonk, fueled and ready, especially knowing this last third of the ride was flat with much less terrain than we'd already conquered.  I wanted to head for the barn.  Ahi assured me he was well equipped and comfortable and we parted company.  I made the next 38 miles to Remington feeling good and stopped at the small store there intending it to be very quick.  Water, coffee and fresh batteries for my helmet light. I also ate a granola bar.  Then I installed the fresh batteries in my helmet lamp and the strap broke.  More fiddling with a spare velcro strap and my quick stop was now 20 minutes and counting.  Just as I was about to finally clip in there was a flash of lightning, thunder and the skies opened up with a heavy shower. So I waited a few minutes for it clear which it did.  I was ready to clip in again and Ahi rolled in and said his Garmin wasn't working and he'd been having a hard time navigating.  Without an odometer following a cue sheet on dark country roads is very difficult as you must track every street sign to ensure you don't miss a turn and even then sometimes are forced to guess at unmarked turns.  I wasn't going to leave him again.

We had 20 miles to go and while the heavy downpour had passed, we had several more showers, some stronger than others and it never completely stopped raining the rest of the way, we took over an hour and half to finish. I was grateful for the choice to pack all of my rain gear.  IF I had eaten properly it's likely I would have had a faster ride and might have finished before this period of stronger rain.  Then I wouldn't have needed it.  But as it was I did have the gear and with a working Garmin was in the right place to lend a hand when another rider  needed it.  We took our time, visited a bit and finished a little less than 2 hours after leaving Remington.

Lessons Re-Learned (most of this is not new)...

1) Correct food and water consumption are everything for me on a long ride - this starts the night before and especially in the last hour prior to the start.
2) At 250 lbs of rider weight, a pound of rain gear isn't a big deal.
3) Loose trail mix is nice to snack on while stopped, but is tough to eat while riding.
4) Wearing the camelback inside of the showers pass jacket works quite will while underway, but is a bit of a nuisance at a stop to refill it.
5) Helping a friend always feels good.

Saturday, April 7, 2012



An odd acronym developed in a fit of creativity from the four towns it visits:   Severna Park, Ellicott City, Waugh Chapel and Crownsville.  107K, an ideal morning workout.  8 of us met to stretch our legs and enjoy the scenery of Potapsco State Park and historic Ellicott City.

Jack, Mike C and I were there to get one last workout before Fleche next weekend.  Randy, Kristie, and Ravi where there to continue extending and improving their riding horizons.  Gardner and John were simply out for a fun morning on the bike.  It made for fun day. It was a bit colder than we expected at the start and the sun doesn't start to warm the Potapsco Valley until a couple of hours after sunrise.   That meant cold fingers for a few in the first hour or so to Ellicott City but otherwise it was a delightful day.

We stopped at a bakery and coffee shop in Ellicott City.  Besides a good breakfast they have a selection of baked goods, treats and pastries.  I purchased 3 Peanut Butter Bombs and carried them home in the trunk bag for desert with the family.

After breakfast Gardner and John opted to ramp up the pace and ride ahead to the finish, while the remaining six continued at a little more leisurely pace.  We got back to Severna Park about 12:30.  From there Jack, Mike C, Ravi, John and I decided to keep going for a bit.  Mike stayed with us to the end of the trail.  The rest of us rode through Annapolis and around Bay Ridge.  Another stop for food at Big Bean in Annapolis and then home.  100 Miles on the day.  For Ravi it was a new personal best distance.  For Kristie and Randy it was another notch in an ever growing list of accomplishments.  For Mike and Jack and I, it was a good workout a week before Fleche.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Potapsco Patuxent Chesapeake - and more

Saturday was Fleche training day.  Mike C, Jack N, and I, comprising 3/5 of our Fleche team: Chain Reaction, completed the new Potapsco Patuxent & Chesapeake 210K (PPC) permanent Saturday, then stretched our mileage after finishing the perm to test ourselves a bit for the Fleche next month.

The Fleche in mid April each year is notorious for dodgy weather.   In that sense, yesterday may not have been an ideal training platform as the weather was, well..., ideal.  We started with temps hovering around 50 and warmed to the low 70s mid day.  A little lingering ground fog burned off quickly as the sun rose.  Early afternoon saw a touch of South Easterly headwind approaching North Beach, which simply made for a nice tail wind after we departed North Beach.  After the fog burned off the sun was bright and I had to apply sun block to my arms, ears and face. According to the calendar spring is still a few days away!

Thanks to Gardner D we now have a RUSA permanent that starts within easy cycling distance of home for most SPP members, 4.5 miles in my case.  PPC drew inspiration from 2 of SPP's favorite club routes to Ellicott City and to North Beach and combined them to create a 200K permanent. From that simple concept, Gardner did the very detailed home work, documentation, and pilot rides required to build a turn by turn cue sheet, select appropriate control points to allow riders flexible start times, adjust to optimize for bicycle safe roads, and get the distance as close as possible but not less than 200K.  Thank you sir, and to all volunteers who have put in a similar effort to build up RUSA's great selection of permanent routes.

From the start in Severna Park it heads up past BWI airport and then NW to the Potapsco State Park and follows the beautiful Potapsco river valley to Ellicott City.  The river is running low right now with little spring melt to feed it since we got almost no snow this winter. That makes this a great time to see the evidence of prior flooding and high water.  The pattern of downed trees, very large rocks, brush and a few odd steel tanks in the flood plain is impressive.  I wouldn't want to be too close when the river is running high with tropical storm runoff or other big event.  Just a mile or two out of Ellicott city Mike C flatted but otherwise the first half of the trip was uneventful.

In Ellicott City the route climbs out of the valley and there are a few miles with some stingers to get your heart rate up before heading back to the airport and then south towards Crofton.  We opted to stop at the Caribou Coffee in Crofton even though it's not a required control.  At 47 miles we were ready for a short break and the next good opportunity for a fueling stop without detour would be North Beach in another 40 miles.  Besides Caibou serves a really really good breakfast sandwich.  It was sunny, we ate outside.

Southern Anne Arundel County is just a nice place to ride. Out of the congestion of the greater Baltimore - Annapolis region, this is scenic farm land and rural communities. The living space is more dense than it is, say west of Frederick, Md but its well out of the city and feels open, traffic is light enough for comfortable cycling. In the spring sunshine it's really a treat.  Before we knew it we were in North Beach and stopped at Sweet Sue's Bake Shop for our second meal of the day.  They make great sandwiches and wraps.  It was sunny, we ate outside, again.  I told you, the weather was ideal.

Then we were on the final leg for home.  Our only drama of the trip was Mike C's double flat when he hit a small pot hole at about mile 100 on this leg. Fortunately he didn't go down and there was no apparent damage to the rims, just two pinch flats.  If you're counting, that's three flats for Mike on the day.  Yes he set out with three spare tubes.  This was about making sure we are ready for Fleche, he is.  So I started to work on the front wheel while Mike tended to the rear wheel (his bike, he can get his hands dirty).  While kneeling to work on the flat, I developed a sudden cramp in my hamstring and handed the wheel of to Jack to put the new tube in.  All the while the three of us were in stitches after someone made a joke.  At a rate of three tubes per hundred miles Mike would need 7 or 8 tubes to ensure successful of Fleche.  In Mike's defense, I was in front and didn't see the pot hole until the last second.  I pointed to it but he had little time to react.  However the incident high lights the good spirits we enjoyed all day.  It was just too nice out to let anything get us down.  More importantly, we were all riding steadily and feeling good.  We were doing what we set out to do for the day, validate that we are ready for an even bigger ride in a few weeks.  That if we continued to eat and drink correctly we could just keep going and that we were ready to handle any likely setbacks or interruptions.

Flats repaired the rest of the ride was uneventful  After signing in at the finish control we headed to Squisito's, a pizzeria right on the B & A trail, for a couple of slices of pizza.    It was a nice evening and we enjoyed our third outdoor meal of the day.  Jeff S stopped by with his son to say hi.  After dinner we headed out for some bonus miles.  Ideally this would have been a night ride through scenic Annapolis and Bay Ridge.  But the pubs and bars of Annapolis were enjoying a perfect storm:  St Patrick's day fell on Saturday with great weather.  Every rookie drinking driver in the state would be out on the roads. So instead we opted to stick to the trail and ride a lap around the airport.  Not as exciting.  But our last task was to ride in the dark while a bit tired after a full day on the bike.  We needed a sense that our lighting and batteries were adequate and feel what fatigue and dark do to our own attention and reaction times.

We still felt strong and competent on the bike.  Mission accomplished.  We headed home for the night.

Thanks again to Gardner for the work to put this permanent route together.  It's a fun, scenic ride.  Every randonneur will enjoy it. Those of us who live near by will appreciate the convenience and likely come back for more.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Utilitaire 12 of 12 - Hat Trick!! (including grocery store)

Date: 3/16/2012
Destination: Giant Foods, Severna Park, MD
Miles Completed: 7.3 miles round trip.
Learned / observed: The peepers stopped peeping as I approached. Never happened before.
Dark Ride: Yes, on the return home.

Hat Trick!  Three utilitaire stops in one ride:  The Bank, Office Depot and Giant Foods!!  I'll take credit for the grocery stop as I've already used two non-grocery store visits.  All squeezed in before dinner on the last day.  So that's it.  The Utilitaire 12 challenge is done.  All I have to do is complete my Utilitaire control card and turn in on Sunday.

My Popeye diet of spinach green salads for lunch and dinner has gone very well this week.  The ham I'd been dicing up to include with the spinach greens and other vegies was exhausted by the end of the week so I went to the  grocery store to get some chicken breasts which I'll grill up on Sunday so I can dice them in to my lunch salads for next week.  Also got some eggs to be hard boiled and diced as well, and a proper plastic bowl with lid, which will serve as a nice upgrade from the zip lock bags I've been using.  My average cost per lunch meal this week was about $3 vs the $12 - $15 I often spent eating lunch at the deli's and eateries near my office.  So I ate healthier lunches, stuck with it for the dinners each night because I felt so good, and spent a lot less money.  Why didn't I start doing this sooner?

I like to print my cue sheets and control cards on card stock.  I'll be riding the new Potapsco Patuxent Chesapeake 210K permanent tomorrow with Fleche team mates Mike C and Jack N.  Then we'll pause for dinner and continue in to the evening for another 40 miles or so to practice some night riding in preparation for next month's Fleche.  I was out of card stock so the Surly also took me to Office Depot in order to be properly prepared tomorrow with my cues on stiff cards instead of flimsy paper.  It's the little things that give me peace of mind while riding.  I'm looking forward to riding this route as fellow SPP member Gardner D developed it specifically so we'd have a route that starts close to home.  I can ride the 5 miles to the start, no car required.  No unloading bikes from racks and fitting bags, lights and computers at the start.  It also helps the weather forecast is awesome. Wish me luck..

The Surly and the shopping carts, all beasts of burden, found a connection at the Giant.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Utilitaire 11 of 12 - Pharmacy (non-Grocery Store)

Date: 3/15/2012
Destination: Rite Aid Severna Park, MD
Miles Completed: 33 miles round trip.
Learned / observed: The old Lucky's Market by Elvaton and Jumper's Hole Rd has been torn down. 
Dark Ride: Yes, early in the morning.

It's been been beautiful weather this week and spring flowers are in full bloom. So are warnings about high pollen counts.  I haven't felt too much yet, but I decided I should be ready before riding our fleche training ride this Saturday.  Planned distance: 160 miles.  So I rode to Rite Aid this evening after work to stock up on fresh supplies of Zertec and Benadryl.  

Along the way I saw that the old Lucky's Market by the trail had been demolished.  I rode by there this morning too and didn't notice that it was gone. Were they that quick? Or was I so engrossed in conversation with Bill C that I missed it this morning?

The old Lucky's Market is gone!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Utilitaire 10 of 12 - Grocery Store

Date: 3/11/2012
Destination: Giant Food Store Ritchie Hwy Severna Park, MD
Miles Completed: 5.7 miles round trip.
Learned / observed: Wow - Spring is here a few weeks early.  Hundreds of folks out walking, jogging, biking and enjoying the bright Sunday sunshine.
Dark Ride: No

To save a few pennies and discourage my worst instincts to select less nutritional fare at the various eateries around my office, I've decided to try taking my own lunch to work this week.  So I headed to the local Giant today to stock up on a few things I would need for the venture. What a glorious day out too.  Wish me luck with my new lunch menu plan.

Fig Newtons fit perfectly in the Ostrich Bar Bag with room for
a couple of bags of greens on top.
Bananas fit well in the Ostrich saddle bag with room for
 a bag of greens.
Salad greens in the saddle bag

Friday, March 9, 2012

Utilitarie 9 or 12 - Pick Up Tailoring (store not Grocery)

Date: 3/9/2012
Destination: B&B Cleaners 51 West McKinsey Road, Severna Park, MD 21146
Miles Completed: 57 miles round trip.
Learned / observed: AA County has finished repair on the trail near Jumpers Hole Rd and Elvaton Rd.  It's been washed out for two years. Great to have it back in place, no detour!!
Dark Ride: Yes, early morning and late evening.

On the way home from work I stopped to pick up a pair of trousers I had left at the cleaners to have the legs hemmed.  Now I have a proper Cub Scout leaders' uniform for my new role as Cub Master of Pack 858.

The Surly does dry cleaning

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Utilitaire - 8 of 12 - Bike Shop

Date: 3/4/2012
Destination: Bike Doctor Arnold
Miles Completed: 2.3 miles round trip.
Learned / observed: Bike Doctor is open until 5 on Sundays, just made it.
Dark Ride: No

The day after a wet brevet is bike hygiene day.  So I cleaned the road grime off, then went to the bike locker to fetch a tube and restock the on-bike spare after changing a flat yesterday.  That's when I discovered I was out of tubes and CO2.  Fortunately, BD Arnold is only 1.1 miles away, just right for a quick utilitaire, and I had just enough time to get to there for a couple tubes and CO2 before they closed.

'Cause you know Mr. Murphy and his laws would strike if I tried to commute to work tomorrow without carrying spare tube.

It's always an adventure

Yesterday morning I completed a 200K ride with Janet, Gardner and Dave.  The Repast at Rocco's route starts in Urbana just outside of Frederick. From the start it runs north to Emmitsburg then North East to East Berlin, PA for lunch at Rocco's Pizza, a traditional neighborhood pizzeria, nothing fancy just good pies.  Then doubles back on the same route to return to the finish.

In the last couple of days leading up to the ride, the forecast showed the weather front that had caused such devastation in Indiana and other states with tornadoes would pass through Friday night and in to Saturday morning casting doubt on our plans.  But as it got closer to ride time, assured the rain would pass early Saturday and we could expect sunny skies and west winds of about 15 mph most of the day.

So the four of us set out a few minutes after 7 and was spot on, the rain stopped after about 10 miles.  Then I flatted at about 14 miles in.  Wet pavement causes bits of glass to cling to tires.  New tube installed we enjoyed the clearing skies and the ride to East Berlin was uneventful though we could tell the wind was building steadily at our backs as it cleared.

After lunch the skies were clear, the temps unseasonably warm for early March and the wind was blowing quite a bit stronger than 15 mph, I estimated closer to 25.  The leg to Emmitsburg was a long 30 miles with that headwind.  Every flag we saw was standing at attention and waving furiously.

Then the route turns south and it became a crosswind. Nothing looks quite so entertaining as seeing three of your friends listing to starboard as they try to keep their bikes tracking a straight line in a strong cross wind. Sorry I couldn't get picture of that but I couldn't spare a hand for the camera or I would have been blown off the road myself.

2 miles from the finish a closed road forced us to improvise our final route back in to the finish and added one or two bonus miles.

A short summary of my last few 200K rides.
  • In January, a friend had to pull out of the ride at the half way point due to worsening lung congestion. (A course of anti-biotics and he was fine in a few days).
  • In February, wet weather and challenging urban navigation made for a late finish and some chilly riders.
  • In March, we found much stronger headwinds than expected.
It seems lately there's always some unexpected adventure every time I set out on one of these rides.  I have another ride planned in March that will be closer to 300K as we get ready for the Fleche, then the Fleche itself in April with a team of 5 riders; 360K and 15000 feet of climbing in 24 hours.  I'm looking forward to more adventure.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Utilitaire 7 or 12 - Commute to Work

Date: 2/28/2012
Destination: Work - KMSI Offices Linthicum, MD
Miles Completed: 33.3 miles round trip.
Learned / observed: The spring flowers are already blooming
Dark Ride: Yes on the way home.

Another beautiful day.  I saw these flowers blooming already on the way in.  While on the way home, I was complimented by a driver at a stop light on my reflective gear and lighting.  Very good to hear, thank you.  Otherwise it was a pleasant, uneventful day on the bike interrupted by a day at the office. 

On Feb 28? What do the flowers know that the groundhog doesn't?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Utilitaire 6 of 12 - Coffeeneuring

Date: 2/25/2012
Destination: Hard Bean Coffee - Dock St Annapolis, MD
Miles Completed: 25.5 miles round trip.
Learned / observed: It was WINDY crossing the Naval Academy Bridge over Severn River
Dark Ride: No

A cool, windy morning.  I met a few others of SPP for a ride to Annapolis for breakfast. The west wind was so strong that I had to keep pedaling on the way DOWN from the peak of Naval Academy Bridge over the Severn River to keep my momentum.  Normally that descent is good for 30 mph if I just get down in something resembling an aerodynamic position.  But on this morning we had to pedal ourselves down off the bridge.  Not sure the wind would have stopped me dead, but it certainly slowed me down.  Also provided quite boost on the way home.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Utilitaire 5 of 12 - Sporting Event or Concert

Date: 2/23/2012
Destination: Erik's Basketball Game - Severna Park Middle School
Miles Completed: 35.3 miles round trip.
Learned / observed: My shadow makes me look skinny with the sun at my back!
                                    Racing a motor scooter on my bike is fun.
                                    I love watching my kids play sports.

Dark Ride: Yes at start and finish, but also daylight portions near the office.

Wow - what a great day to be out on the bike. It was warm, 50 deg this morning.. in February!!  I left the house a little later than normal about 6:10 am or so and enjoyed a fantastic sunrise. A few miles later I had to stop and take the shot below.  I love how the sun at my back in early morning or late evening creates long shadows.  Makes me look skinny!!

My usual routine when I get to work is to clean up, change in to work clothes, and spend a few minutes browsing my favorite blogs and comics on line while I enjoy a cup of coffee and snack, usually a banana or a granola bar. Then I begin my work day.  Today's blogs included a very entertaining post by MG about how bikers simply can't resist racing each other when there is usually little point to it, especially while commuting through the urban jungle.  She's right, there is no point, and yet we often can't help ourselves.  Read her post, she tells it better than I do.  I enjoyed it and my coffee then got on with the work day.

But the real fun was after I left work. (Isn't that usually the best part of work?)  I was headed to the middle school to watch my son (Erik age 8) play in his 2nd playoff game of this basketball season. That's right they won the first playoff game last night!!!

On the way as I was heading south on Oakwood Dr crossing under Rt 100 by the hospital; a fellow on a small motor scooter pulled up awkwardly to my right in the same lane even though I had positioned myself  at the light to the right side of lane.  Not sure what he was up to, and since he had a motor, I let him pass when the light changed to avoid any conflict.  He puttered on ahead and I thought that would be it.  Well there is a gentle descent leaving the hospital at that area followed by a gentle rise.  I could see he wasn't exactly setting any records once he reached the bottom and started to climb.  I was going about 20 mph down the descent at that point and clearly gaining on him.  The chase was on.  I caught, and then dropped a guy puttering along with probably 50 cc's while climbing a 3%  grade!  Pointless.. absolutely.  Dangerous... not there but it could be if one isn't careful.   Filled with self righteous pride and feeling a little smug... ABSOLUTELY!!  It was a few miles later as I approached the middle school on Jumpers Hole that I recalled MG's post and realized I'd done exactly the same thing.

At the ball game I was drafted for clock duty. I look silly enough in a day glow yellow bike jersey and my riding glasses with my little wire mirror attached sitting by the sideline cheering.  Now I was suddenly thrust in to an important role as part of the officiating crew.  This was a big deal.  I was in an important position now and feeling a little self conscious in my bike kit.  Okay not really, I just sat there starting and stopping the game clock when the refs blew the whistle.    Everyone enjoyed the game though Erik and his teammates came up a few points short.  In the brutal arena of single-elimination playoffs that meant the end of their season.  They played well and held their heads up like great sports.

After the game, the sun had set and I rode the final few miles home.  There I enjoyed a great beef stew dinner that my wife had prepared in the crockpot and caught up with the kids and their day.  Now I'm posting this and then heading to bed to do it all again.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Utilitaire 4 of 12 - Breakfast

Date: 2/11/2012
Destination: Hard Bean Cafe Annapolis, MD
Miles Completed: 25.4 miles round trip.
Learned / observed: The bamboo along B&A trail lays VERY low over the trail 
                                     with heavy snow on it.
Dark Ride: No.

Met Steve H for a ride to Annapolis for breakfast.  It was a beautiful morning, with a heavy wet snow falling gently  but not sticking to the roads or paved trail.  We enjoyed an easy pace, both noting that the rain pants we wore against the wet weather (snow forecast to change back to rain) sapped a little extra energy out of the legs.  Clint met us at Hard Bean and we enjoyed a great breakfast watching the grey morning over Chesapeake Bay.  

Bamboo drooping across the trail

Friday, February 10, 2012

Utilitaire 3 of 12 - BANK

Date: 2/10/2012
Destination: Bank of America 601 Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard
                      Severna Park MD 21146

Miles Completed: 51.5 miles round trip.
Learned / observed: The county has finished repairs on the B & A Trail 
                                     between the Ranger Station and the Rusty Bridge!!
Dark Ride: yes. Lighted with SON Hub, Edelux Headlight and Dinotte 400R battery tail light.

Started the morning by riding 3 miles to meet the SPP and ride to Annapolis for breakfast.  From there I rode to work up by BWI. Riding home from work that evening I stopped at the bank to withdraw some cash from the ATM.  So that's at least 3 possible utilitaire classifications that might apply here, a community meeting for the group to breakfast, a ride to work or a ride to the bank.  I'll take the bank since the work and breakfast are regular things and I can only use each twice. 

From Biking 2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Song of the Salamander 200K

Earlier in the week the forecast for Saturday was quite pleasant.   Temps at the start would be just above freezing and warm towards the upper 40s with mostly sun and calm winds.  By ride time it said we'd have a 50% chance of showers in the afternoon.  Seven of us set out anyway.  The team: Gardner, Theresa, Janet, Jack, Bill, Dan and myself.

The first two thirds of the ride were pleasant and drama free.  It was overcast and we never saw temps above 40 but the day rolled by pleasantly.  The first few miles across Rockville, MD from the start are a bit of a navigation challenge with cues every quarter mile or less from roads to trails, round the barricade at a dead end street and so forth, the kinds of tricks bike messengers in every major city always master.  Then after 8 or 10 miles it settles in to a more typical ride across the countryside.  The trip across the Potomac River at White's Ferry was a fun novelty. It's a cable ferry relying on a huge steel cable across the river to guide the barge across and line it up for easy docking at each end.  

Once across the river the route picked up the W&OD trail for a few miles from Leesburg to Purcellville, VA before striking out for Middleburg via Snickersville Tpk.  It's beautiful horse country with big estates and rolling hills.  We got to the turnaround at The Market Salamander just before noon and enjoyed a very good lunch. 

The return leg largely follows the same route.  We had a little excitement on the trail just before Leesburg when JBo fumbled her water bottle, over-corrected, and swerved up the bank adjacent to the trail.  Fortunately the only casualty was a crack in her bar mirror.

After a brief fueling stop at the 7-11 in Leesburg we set out for the ferry ride back to MD and a light, cold drizzle started.  Everyone broke out what rain gear we had and we made the ferry a little damp but without further drama.

From the ferry we had about 31 miles to the finish.  It starts with a long, shallow climb away from the river followed by a fair quota of gentle but continuous rollers until the outskirts of Rockville.  We got a little strung out on the climbing and rollers once or twice and then regrouped before the final leg through Rockville.  All the wile the steady rain continued and everyone got more and more damp.  The last 8 miles resumes the same urban cyclocross we followed on the way out. But now the sun had set and the rain was changing to snow.  We'd been riding in a cold rain for for almost 3 hours and for some, body temperatures were starting to fall, my helmet lamp battery died and snow kept building up on my cue sheet holder.  The GARMIN, after calling the route faithfully all day started to get confused whether we were outbound or inbound and was offering mostly useless recommendations.  We still had about like 5 million cues to follow across the last few miles. The quirky challenge at the start was now a daunting obstacle in the cold, wet, evening.

Despite my lighting challenge, the bar bag that held my cue sheet was still the easiest to read among the group.  We fell in to a pattern where I called out the cues reading by street light as we went and got about 4 miles from the finish before I was stumped and just couldn't reconcile the cue description at Park Rd and Stonestreet with the road in front of us. It's POSSIBLE my brain was a little bit starved of calories and rest by this point.  But I prefer to blame it on the odd geography of that neighborhood. The intersection is actually split in to two lights a short block apart and very difficult to describe in a short written description. In daylight while fresh it would not have been a big deal.  But we were all wet and exhausted so we took shelter in a Metro Coffee shop to regroup.  It wasn't until we were inside that I realized 3 of our party were now quite hypothermic and shivering.  One severely.  Our challenge was bigger than just finding our way through unfamiliar urban streets in the dark.

Out of the weather we took our time to regroup.  Hot food and beverages brought our cold comrades back to life very nicely. Inventorying our gear we shuffled spares among ourselves until everyone had suitable clothes and lights to get going again.  A call to the route owner to confirm the details of the cue and we regained our navigation plot and found the bike path we were looking for (less than a block away).  The last few miles included one more wrong turn but it only took a couple of block's to figure it out and turn back.  A Safeway store never looked so good as we rolled up to the finish.  All seven of us finished safe and soggy.

Team work and cool heads kept a problem from becoming a crisis.  I don't recall hearing anyone complain all afternoon.  Dinner after the ride provided a chance to pat ourselves on the back and celebrate another successful adventure.  Some details about lessons learned and equipment choices will serve as fodder for another post.

Added 2/6/2012:  Dan took some nice shots of the ferry, the W&OD trail and the horses along the way. SOS Album

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Utilitaire 2 of 12 - BIKE SHOP

Today was Utilitaire 2 of 12. I set out for my office in the morning and lucked out to meet Bill C at the Rusty Bridge headed the same way. Despite the light rain we enjoyed an easy ride to our respective offices near the airport. But no Utilitaire fans I'm not taking credit for a ride to work today. On the way home I stopped for an errand at the Bike Shop. I had to pick up a wheel they were working on for me. The photo below shows how I carried a bike wheel home by bike. The guys at the shop were nice enough to help me strap it on with rim tape and then snap the photo.

Date: 2/1/2012
Destination: Bike Doctor 935 Ritchie Hwy Arnold, MD
Miles Completed: 34 miles round trip.
Learned / observed: You CAN carry an extra wheel on a bike if you put your mind to it.
Dark Ride: yes. Lighted with SON Hub, EDelux headlight and B&M tail light.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Utilitaire 1 of 12 - WORK

The talented and eloquent bloganista of Washington DC, MG, has thrown down another riding challenge.  The Utilitaire 12 requires 12 utility or transportation oriented rides by participants between now and March 16.  I'm a bike commuter, I can do this.

So today was ride 1 of 12, as I commuted to work.

Date: 1/31/2012
Destination: WORK - KMSI offices 839 Elkridge Landing Rd Linthicum, MD
Miles Completed: 33 miles round trip.
Learned / Observed: Bananas in bike bags need ample cushioning or they will bruise. :-(
After Dark: Yes

I'm also taking credit on this one for one of my after dark rides. I left home at 6 am before dawn and arrived home at 7:15 pm after sunset.  The new SON 28 Hub, EDelux Head Light and B&M 4D Lite Plus tail light provided the lighting.

As a bonus, I got to enjoy some amazing weather.  This morning was cool, just above freezing, but clear and  calm. Riding to work as the sun slowly came up was great.  Coming home it was warm enough for bare arms!!

Since I don't have to turn in my control card until mid March and the rules are some what complicated about what combinations of rides can be claimed each week, I intend to tag each candidate ride each week that might qualify as a utilitaire ride here on the blog.  That will certainly include more than 12 such rides in 6 weeks then I will figure out which ones to officially submit on my control card at the end.  Should be fun.

Late revision....   almost forgot Utilitaire Rule 9.  Photos and observations.  Fortunately I did snap a few photos when I stopped for coffee on the way to the office.  I was hoping to catch a good panda shot for cycling cap Tuesday but they didn't come out well.  However this one of the Surly with my reflection looks pretty cool:

What I learned: a banana in the Ostrich front bag needs to be better cushioned. It was quite bruised when I got to the office.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Saturday, January 7, 2012

60 Deg in January!!

After Erik's basketball game at 8 it was warming up nicely.  I installed a new salsa seat post clamp, and then headed out to go 'round the river.  Got half way to Sandy Point and realized I wasn't wearing my helmet, doh!!

Back to the house and then back out with the correct lid.  I altered the plan and went down through Annapolis to Thomas Point.  60 deg F with light winds.  I got wear a summer kit and my riding sandals!!  In January!!

Here's the Surly taking in the views at Thomas Point Park.  

Wide Shot, you can just barely make out Thomas Point Light House on The Bay.