Sunday, March 4, 2012

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.

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