I like labelling my weekend rides as “training rides.” It’s like having a Get out of Jail Free card. No, sorry, I can’t do my household chores. Rather, I must train.
Instead of reading tea leaves, Felkerino and I examined the weekend weather radar and decided that, with a 40 percent chance of precip, Saturday would be the best day to ride, as Sunday predicted worse temps and weather. Note to self: read more tea leaves.
We chose Chuck and Crista’s weekend century ride out of Frederick, Maryland. We’ve been having good times riding out our front door, but it was time to get out of the District and see something new.
Chuck and Crista’s century ride, titled “Over the Hill with Doctor Disc,” is a beautiful ride full of twisty and often undulating country roads that starts in Frederick, Maryland and heads over to Union Bridge, Taneytown, and back.
The route has no major mountain climbs, but enough ups, downs, and creek crossings, such that I definitely felt like I got a workout. It was also a great change of scenery from the urban landscape. Where does Crista find these amazing roads?
A few others joined in on the day’s adventure, which made for a lively crowd. Felkerino and I arrived a pinch late, which meant we ended up chasing the group the first 30 miles or so to the first rest stop.
While consuming a Clif bar and a couple of Frito’s (don’t tell anyone about my training ride diet!) I admired Steve’s A. Homer Hilsen. The pearly soda pop orange frame, Berthoud bag, and cloth bar tape definitely spruced up the exterior of the Union Bridge 7-11.
Soon after leaving the rest stop, some hail or frozen something fell from the sky. Bam bam bam onto my face. Grr. A perfect little snowflake did land on my Icebreaker 260 baselayer, though, so I didn’t complain too much.
Felkerino likes a little bit of weather thrown into rides. He claims it makes it more dramatic. Personally, I have no issues with rides that are 70 degrees, sun, no winds, and no humidity.
The frozen mix fell intermittently until lunch at mile 52, and after sharing a pleasant meal with the group, we started to talk shortcuts. I am happy to tell you that I was not the first person to mention shortcutting. It was some other wimp in the group, ha!
Seriously, I think it was a collective decision, though I do remember someone’s emphatic “Tell us the shortcut, Crista!” Someone else remarked that we would miss out on some beautiful scenery by shortcutting the route. I was willing to take the risk.
As I said, we were at mile 52 when we arrived to lunch and then made the collective decision to lop off 20 miles from our planned century, leaving us with 80 miles. Yes, we probably did miss out on some good roads and scenery, but given that it was a fairly steady pelting of rain and then wintry mix back to the parking lot, which pretty much made me unable to see anything besides the road in my immediate vicinity, I really don’t feel like I missed out on much. Not that day.
I want to go back and do this ride in full. Some day when the tea leaves predict better weather. I loved the twisty little roads outside of Frederick, Maryland, and the feeling of being away from the hustle and bustle.
I also have to give a shout out to my Gore Tex Paclite jacket. Yet again, it kept my upper half dry and perfectly comfortable through 30 miles of a mix of rain and some odd-looking snow.
A small part of me felt guilty about the shortcut, but on rides that take a turn toward steady rain or snow, I know the clock is ticking on all my gear.
It was only a matter of time before my tights, gloves, and hat were soaked, and after that it would have been tough to be comfortable. Throw in a mechanical, and it would have made for a long uncomfortable day. There was no need to push for the full century on Saturday. We’ll save those miles for another training ride.