We’ve gotten in the habit of doing weekend rides in the afternoon, after accomplishing the day’s chores and errands. Saturday we got on the road around 11, in the face of heavy rain forecast for later in the day.
The morning was sunny, a bit humid and pleasantly warm. As we rode along, I asked John how long the ride would be. He told me it was about 25 miles. Ok, I figured, I can do that, even if I’m not totally on top of my game. We rode about 20 miles last week, and upping the mileage a little this week sounded right.
Our route first took us into Patapsco Park near the UMBC campus. Emerging from the park we rode through Elkridge, past the Furnace Inn, which John says is quite good. It’s been around since “circa 1744” according to its sign. I’d like to check it out one day.
We made our way over to the airport, picked up the BWI trail and rode around it for about 10 miles. I was charmed to see a number of families riding together, including one father hauling both a child in a trailer and a child’s bike. What a lot of advantages for families in riding together. Well maybe for that father I mentioned it was a little tough, he was hauling a lot. Think of the benefits for children, who grow up with cycling as a natural, fun part of life. For parents, without “teaching” anything, what a great way for parents to share important values and provide an experience that everyone in the family can enjoy together. It seems like a great way to grow up.
By the time we headed back toward Elkridge, around 15-20 miles into the ride, my quads were getting sore and the temperature was starting to climb. No problem, though – I knew I could finish. After all, it was just a few more miles, right?
Back at the Furnace Inn (after making just one wrong turn, quickly corrected) we noticed the Inn has set up a water station for cyclists. How nice! We both took advantage of the chance to refill our water bottles.
The ride back through Patapsco Park was great. It’s pretty in there, riding along the river. While there were some walkers and cyclists on the trails, it wasn’t crowded. The challenge came at the end. We left Grist Mill Run and got onto the road, which starts out flat. But when it’s time to turn off toward Frederick Road, it’s a different story. It’s a rather long and steep-ish hill. As soon as you emerge onto Frederick, guess what! Another hill! By now, I was hungry and bonking. I’d made the mistake of dismissing the thought of eating a while earlier. I wasn’t hungry at the time, just aware I must have burned enough calories that I ought to replace some. Note to self: when on a long ride, if you think it’s time to eat, eat.
The snack helped a lot. By now there was perhaps another 1.5 miles to go, albeit a 1.5 miles that included two hills. I can’t say I breezed through that last stretch, but I did it and even had something left at the end. I could have kept going a little further. If I had to. I think. That was when John told me we’d ridden 33 miles. He thought I’d have balked if he’d told me at the start how many miles lie ahead. And he might be right about that!