Ride leader: Steve Palincsar
Members: Ron Altemus, Tom Short, Lloyd Matthews, Joan Oppel
Weather: Cloudy, overcast, damp feeling chilly 51-53 degrees (instead of the high 60s forecast!) but as promised, the rain stopped before 1:30 and had long since been tapering off so road conditions were better than acceptable.
Route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/26920630 -- the standard Tour d'Accokeek route with a couple of extensions.
For what I believe to be the very first time ever in OHBike, we took the left off Marshall Hall Road onto Fenwick and took it to the end of the road. It was wonderful: nice winding gently rolling 2-lane with a couple of great views of the river at the end. I definitely recommend this be added to the standard Tour d'Accokeek route, it's well worth it.
Then, after the stop at Marshall Hall and the climb up Barry's Hill, we went left on Old Marshall Hall Rd. I'd planned for us to stop at the end of Old Marshall Hall Rd, before the 130' descent as the road becomes Old Landing. But we didn't. In fact, we found the gravel at the bottom of the descent as rideable as pavement, so we continued on past the turn onto Steamboat Landing, not turning back until we were halfway to Poplar Hill Rd, adding almost two more miles to the route.
Mishaps & mechanicals: none
AMS: 11.8, higher for those who didn't have to get off and walk on the climb back up from Old Landing to Old Marshall Hall Rd. RWGPS says it's only 8%, but Joan's GPS saw 16%.
Not a really promising day -- all gray and damp with wet-looking brown trees, wet looking brown leaves still on trees livened up by the occasional evergreen adding a touch of green color, and in many places that would look really depressing. But for some reason, it really works on the Tour d'Accokeek route. Half the route is narrow backroads lined with wet looking brown trees etc and it feels just mavelous riding through the forest, especially once you get to roads you've either never or seldom seen.
Years ago we used to ride Old Marshall Hall down to Cactus Hill, taking Cactus Hill down to Bryans Point and back but then they got all picky about Cactus Hill being a private road and us trespassing and threw us out, so Old Marshall Hall north and west of Barrys Hill/Marshall Hall Rd is virtually unknown. And as noted above, today we rode Fenwick from end to end, a first as far as I know - certainly a first for today's entire contingent.
It was the kind of riding you almost never see unless you're on tour and don't have the option of saying "What a lousy day, I think I'll stay home and skip the ride!" And not all present were sure they were going to enjoy it: Tom said he was there as a "character building exercise" - I think he imagined it would be a bit like BUD/S training - but we all had a great time anyway.