Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bike Ride Report - DC Rand Croom and Other Delights

This was written a week after the fact. I decided to write a late update on this because I am annoyed that I can tour days on end with no difficulties, and then the first two DC Randonneur training rides I try when I get back turn into fiascoes.

So here I am after the first one, sitting in a park and ride outside Upper Marlboro waiting for Debra to come rescue me.

These rides are organized by Crista Borras for the DC Randonneurs, which is why I often refer to them as "Crista Rides". There is one pretty much every Saturday and Sunday, 100 miles, with short options. My goal is to spend Saturday on yard work, and do the Sunday ride. If I do the Crista ride on Saturday, I'm not likely to get off the couch on Sunday. We'll see how that goes. It hasn't gone well so far.

My first Crista ride this year was in the Prince Georges County, and described as an "easy cruise". (You don't want to know what the DC Randonneurs considers hard.) So I decided to try it on the Z-Bone, which is set up as a go-fast bike. It doesn't have really low gears for climbing up extremely steep hills, but it should have no problems with anything in southern Maryland.

The day started off very rainy. I dawdled at the start for a half hour, until the weather radar looked like it was going to clear, but that was just a trick. It wound up pouring a half hour later. I hid in a Dunkin' Donuts and ate some food.

After that, it cleared up, and I was rolling right along happy as could be. The halfway point was at Merkle Wildlife Management area, which was well worth the stop. They have lots of trails for birds (note for future reference) and a great nature center with displays of all the reptiles and amphibians that live in Maryland, with many of them crawling around in aquariums for you to look at and admire. Max needs to see this.

As soon as I left Merkle, and got through the closed road, which is not really closed for bikes, since you can lift your bike over the four layers of Jersey barriers, I started to hear this thump-thump-thump-thump sound when the pavement was smooth. I stopped for lunch a few miles later, and saw that there was a big lump on my back tire where the tread was giving way. These tires might be a little old.

I was 60 miles into the ride. If I abandoned the ride, and headed straight back to my car, it would be 20 miles. Or I could try to finish the route and do 40 miles. I decided to be an optimist.

I made it 5 miles.

I walked a couple hundred yards up MD 4 to the park and ride, and called Debra to come rescue me, and watched the thunderstorms come.

Here is the GPS track.

On the way home, I went to the Performance Bikes in Columbia, and bought some new tires and tubes. The new shoes I bought there last week are awesome, and were definitely a couple years overdue.

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