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Rolling Hills or Learning to Shift

I woke up with the intention of an early start, but waking at 9am isn’t a good start.  I’m using a Garmin 810 and have to load the maps each day, or rather I choose to.  Then I cleaned and lubed the bike and tweaked the fenders, adjusted the front panniers to put them lower on the rack, and loaded up.  In the last five years, my body had been conditioned not to eat in the morning.  Not really by choice, but because I usually wasn’t hungry in the morning (I say morning but it was historically more like noon).  I jumped on the bike and rode, until I passed a Dunkin Donuts and had to stop.  I had 65 miles to do, I needed fuel.  After entering Maryland, the hills started.  That was when I knew I was in trouble.  I had planned a long day and there was actual topography now.  I also had my first asshole interactions; one truck driver managed to purposefully dust me with diesel exhaust, a dump truck blared its horn as it passed me, and a ’90s piece of shit that passed me with one foot and then swerved into the shoulder to make a point (which I assume was … yeah I don’t know).  The shoulders became nonexistent; the potholes worse; the drivers even worse.  There were several extremely courteous drivers, people who waited until it was safe to pass, gave wide berths, double honked lightly if they were forced to pass close by.

I hadn’t anticipated how different the mental game of riding vs hiking would be.  While hiking, its you and the trail, up and down, avoiding roots and rocks and planning for water and food.  On the bike, its more anticipating where the cars are, avoiding nails, glass, rocks and potholes, and constantly trying not to get hit or have a blow out that would end the tour.  And the hills got bigger, while the shoulders got more narrow, and the traffic worse.  I was all too happy to have a brief respite while riding along the Susquehanna River Greenway (which was in contrast to the ride across the Dam, which was terrifying).  Leading to the greenway, I was doing 35 down hill and came close to hitting a wild turkey.  Post Greenway there was moderate but beautiful rural riding.  I came to Carsins Run Deli, a gem in rural Maryland.  The sub was outstanding.  Refueled I headed on and eventually hit the hills and traffic again.  My legs were giving out.  I finally neared White Marsh, MD and saw hotels.  I was spent.  Time to check in to a hotel; shower; stretch; relax; and walk to the near by brewery, Red Brick Station.

Another English style brewery, Red Brick is in a shopping mall surrounded by chain stores and restaurants.  The bar feels like a sports bar with tons of TVs.  I ordered the sampler (see a pattern yet), and began imbibing.  The beers were good, two had noticeable diacetyl, but it was an English brewery so I guess that’s OK.  But none were impressive.  The potstickers were enjoyable, and the Baltimorian I conversed with was informative and fun.  He was my first fairly thick accented northerner.  He gave me a rundown on where to go in Baltimore and where not to. He also looked at my planned route and informed me of the areas of town where I should plan to be on high alert as ‘People will come out of nowhere and knock you off your bike and steal it.”  Great.  My first real ghetto of the trip, and there would be two sections.  But I only have 25 miles to ride tomorrow to stay with a friends Aunt and Uncle.  Then I painted Baltimore some color of the rainbow and watch the KY Derby.  I’ll be glad to not stay in a hotel tomorrow.  Hotels are killing my budget for beer.


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