Ride leader: Steve Palincsar
Members: Pat Walthers, Sheila Harron, Bill Lowe, Lisa Oken, Joan Oppel, Alan Kurzweil, Darrell Meyer, Harry Kidd
Guests: Nadine Beck
Weather: Cool - 50s - 60 or 61, breezy to downright windy, partly sunny partly overcast with high clouds. A wonderful surprise and reversal of what had been a gloomy, dismal, rainy forecast. Instead, although the forecast for the next several days remains dismal, today we got a wonderful day for riding.
Route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/9289375 55 miles, 2874' of elevation gain.
Mishaps & mechanicals: none.
The construction continues at Northern HS, but a number of portolets were added to the building site, perhaps to compensate for the removal of the one by the tennis court at the Middle School. We left the school and headed down Flint Hill, then stopped to admire the view at Lower Marlboro. As we were climbing up from the dock we saw a group of cyclists from the Annapolis Bike Club go by. We joined them at the rest stop at Bowen's Grocery. They'd started at Southern HS and were headed to Chesapeake Beach. After we left Bowens we crossed MD-2 onto Cox Rd. They've added a bike lane but it's the most inconsistently marked bike lane I've ever seen, narrowing down to nothing and disappearing at random intervals, mostly at the entrance to developments, then reappearing only yards down the road. Still, it did help on some of the tight curves that in the past have been problems.
There are dozens, maybe hundreds of routes that go left on Plum Point from the Cox intersection, but as far as I know this is the only one that passes Emmanuel Church and takes Stinnett instead. There are a few challenging rises on Stinnett - perhaps that's why. From Wilson Rd this route goes left on Dares Beach Rd down to the Bay for a tour of Dares Beach, a quaint bayside cottage community and late novelist Tom Clancy's former home.
Leaving Dares Beach we headed back, passing Wilson Rd and stopped at the store about 0.4 mi down Dares Beach Rd. We had a nice picnic lunch and they let us use the rest rooms, raising the value of this rest stop considerably. (That "green room" at the corner of Wilson & Dares Beach is nice as such things go, but this was a lot better.)
A few miles down the road we stopped at the Ghost Bike on Tobacco Road and remembered Lynn and John, and then pushed on to the challenging rollers of Hardesty, Dalrymple and Old Bayside, then stopped, rested and regrouped at the North Beach Pier. A long climb up Friendship Road, the rollers on Old Solomons Island, Grovers Turn and Fowler, across MD-4 and we were back to the school.
A fabulous ride, a great group, wonderful weather and for the most part virtually traffic free roads - all this on a day that was supposed to have been raining. I'll take that anytime!