I've spent the past two days in Baltimore, MD. Friday I visited a friend of mine from Toronto who flies into "Balmer" twice a year on business, and afterwards was the overnight guest of a Bike Forums poster. This fellow, who I will call Windsor Tourist, or WT, to protect his identity, rode across the US on the TransAmerica bike route last summer. Since I plan on a cross country ride in 2009, I was eager to question WT, and he put up with my endless queries much of the night.
Today, Saturday, I got my first taste of riding in Maryland. I was totally unprepared for how hilly the area is. We rode along and around part of Loch Raven, the reservoir that provides water for the City of Baltimore.
I managed to climb the road up the dam, but it seemed there was just one damn hill after another. Two of them defeated me to an extent, and I had to hike parts of them. WT was very kind and chose to dismount to walk with me, although he was capable of riding ahead and waiting for me at the top. I did walk part of a third hill, but that was more because it had entrance ramps for 695, the 'beltway', rather than the hilliness. All told it was about 2300 feet of climbing in a bit more than 25 miles. Fuel was one water bottle and one energy bar - enough food, not enough water. Afterwards WT and I celebrated the ride by dining on real Maryland crabcakes, a delicacy I'd never eaten before. Having consumed them, I confess they make me regret living on the other side of the Mason-Dixon line.
My legs felt very tired during much of the ride, and while some of it can be attributed to the hills, some of it is probably an after-effect of hiking on Friday. I was stomping around on pavement at the Maryland Zoo, and a couple of miles of that really stresses my legs. Also, I get very stiff while driving long distances, and the nearly three hours of driving Friday didn't help.
Roark handled well on the ride. He's now sporting a 36 spoke rear wheel, a concession to my Clyde-status and my use of the bike as a commuter and tourer. The bike didn't seem any slower or heavier with the new wheel.