How quickly the fitness seems to disappear, even while trying to stay in shape by riding on the trainer. There’s nothing like being on the road. Either that or this was a pretty hard climb.
About 60 riders showed up in Frederick for a BB/B ride called Knock Knock Knockin’ on the President’s Door. After leaving Frederick and rolling for about 10 miles we turned into the forest and went through Cunningham Falls State Park and through Catoctin Mountain Park.
My riding was difficult because of a split on my broken wrist. I couldn’t put pressure on the wrist which meant no climbing out of the saddle. Over the next few miles we had a five-mile climb, followed by a two-mile descent, then a final three-mile climb. The last climb would take us past Campground Number 3.
I was hanging with our group, even while seated, until I got a massive cramp in my calf. I sat up, unclipped, and stretched my calf, but never stopped. But I lost time and contact with most of the group and simply had to ride at my own pace. Through most of it, I did keep in contact with one rider and hoped he knew the route. As usual, I didn’t take a cue sheet and had no idea where I was going.
The second climb was sustained at 6% but had grades of 11-14%. I’m just hoping riding in the saddle makes me stronger because it sure didn’t seem that way. I was envious as the other riders all popped out of their saddles for that extra push up the steep inclines.
The two-mile descent was rough on me. The pavement was awful and I am very aware that I can’t go down on a broken wrist. To do so would be risking turning a simple hairline fracture into a compound fracture.
The road was extremely bumpy and it hurt to hold the handlebars with the wrist. I probably lost more time to the group on the descent than on the climbs. I took it slower than most to avoid the vibrations and often just kept my right hand on the handlebars.
On the second climb up Park Central, we passed entrances for Campground Numbers 1 and 2. I had heard about and then saw the entrance on Campground Number 3. It was a much nicer entrance than the other two and had clear signs marked to keep out. This is the presidential retreat, Camp David. But one could only see the entrance road and no structures.
Once I cleared the summit it really was all downhill. I briefly lost contact with everybody at an intersection and just guessed which way to go. I was right. I then caught one rider who told me he designed the route so I stayed with him until the rest stop in Thurmont.
When we left Thurmont there were 12 of us and we stayed together for most of the ride back to Frederick. At one point, here
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Klara Vrady asked me if I needed to drop off the pace and she would also. A few weeks earlier she struggled and I met her by riding with her. Now she was offering the same. It was a generous offer and I wondered how bad I looked for her to make the offer. I declined (because I am a man).
All the sitting in the saddle was taking its toll on me and I remember looking at my mileage and thinking there’s no way I can hang with this group for another 15 miles. And then I was told we had 3-4 miles to go. I don’t know why I thought it as a 68-mile route — it was 58. I had it made.
The distance was the same as the Blue Ridger Backwards and Happy Happy Pain Pain and the climbing was slightly less. But sitting in the saddle all day just wiped me out. I can’t wait to get the splint off although there’s a chance it will be re-cast tomorrow. Wish I had never crashed on Bike to Work Day.
Campground Number 3 is located at 21.6 miles on the map.
EDIT/EPILOGUE – I didn’t realize it at the time but I was probably as sick that day as I have ever been with a pretty nasty e.Coli infection.