Today’s ride: Train to Chesapeake is a Potomac Pedalers Touring Club ride that starts from Harwood Md (South of Annapolis on Route 2) and heads to North Beach on the West side of the Chesapeake Bay, and returns. There are usually 2 routes, a 47 mile circuit and a 61 Mile Circuit, and they both go through rolling terrain. This ride is usually scheduled for both Memorial Day and Labor Day, and it is very popular with the local bike clubs. This ride gives you a challenge without being too hard on less experienced riders.
The Experience: This was a ride to arrive early for, in order to socialize, and I talked to a lot of riders whom I don’t get to talk to often. It was very enjoyable to catch up. The course was changed slightly this time due to a road closure, which dropped a little distance from the long ride, but the weather was cool and clear, and while we had some wind to contend with, for most of the ride it didn’t seem to bother us. I rode out with Eric Sanne and Tony Lehr, the former an old friend who is enthusiastic but doesn’t remember routes well, and the latter a rider we met the week before at CASA River who didn’t know the area. What that meant was that I would be the shepherd and GPS for us, keeping us on course while finding and holding a pace that would satisfy us all. Like most rides with a lot of riders, it pays to stay focused at the start of the ride. This ride was no exception. When everyone is fresh, you’ll see some riders who can’t settle down and pace themselves because they’re excited, charging up hills, boxing in other riders, or suddenly slowing down when they look at cue sheets. I knew the area, and I was looking for problems, so we found a good pace and stayed safe. Eventually the three of us found ourselves riding alone with Bob Sheldon, an old friend and experienced rider whom we seldom have the pleasure of riding with, tacked on to the back of our line. We managed to get to the first rest stop without incident, and by then (just over 20 miles) the ride had strung out a little and we settled in comfortably. We were humming along like a well oiled machine through the rolling terrain west of the beach, and we were all in good shape and good spirits as we got to the second rest stop at the beach at the 40 mile mark. We pulled out a little later, with the day beginning to heat up, prepared to climb from sea level back up to the start with water bottles topped off and Carol Linden joining us. However, before we got away from the beach Eric had a flat tire. This is a common occurrence, and we waited with him while he fixed the flat. Carol, sensible of the heat and climbs ahead, and knowing we were riding well, went ahead expecting us to catch her up. When we got back on the road we reached the first climb in good spirits, and took that long climb at a good clip, with Eric claiming King of the Mountain points (the imaginary kind) at the top. We caught Carol several miles up the road, but Carol is a strong steady rider who rolls up the miles on these rides very well. We finished strong without any other incidents, feeling the satisfaction of a strong ride on a beautiful day. We earned our post-ride brew!
Selections from my mental iPod during the ride: “Rescue Me” by The Alarm, “Hold On, I’m Coming” by Sam & Dave, and “Trip Through Your Wires” by U2.
Stats: 59.32 Miles ridden. The kind of ride that “consistent” describes beautifully, on the kind of day that was made for bicycling.
At North Beach: Carol and Eric, Carol, Myself and Tony.