The day started out warm and muggy in Goddard Park, and stayed that way pretty much the whole day, though the clouds rolled in shortly after noon and made it a little more bearable when we were stopped or out from under the trees.
Four ambitious riders left the beach parking lot at 9:05, and after a quick stop at the porta-johns, we were on our way. We had one new rider whom I had never met before, but the other two were people I regularly ride with. And as it turned out, they all rode me into the ground :-)
The ride up to Jerimoth Hill was pretty uneventful (as it should be), except for consuming lots of lots of fluids of various types. We took the "Paula" route, which took us off of Rt 94, and onto various small rural roads which pretty much paralleled it a mile or so to the west. These have a much more rural character than Rt 94, which is more of a "suburban" style, but is still a very nice ride. One disadvantage of the rural route was the number of dogs which took notice of our passing, though only one of them came out of its yard and gave one of our group a bit of a scare. She outran it fairly easily, though. I had mentioned earlier in the ride that I forgot my Halt, and we could have used it that one time. This route brings us out to Rt 101 a bit further west than 94 does, and the only place to refuel in this section of the ride is a small C-store at the intersection of Rts 94 and 101, so we back-tracked about 1/2 mile to reload on water and carbs. Then it was on to the summit.
When we got to the top, the owner of the property was out working in his yard, and graciously allowed us to go up the trail to the actual summit even though it wasn't one of the normal "open" days, where we took a few pictures, two of which are at http://www.davidkerber.com/rides/2006_B2T_People.jpg and http://www.davidkerber.com/rides/2006_B2T_Mailbox.jpg. Then we headed back to the road, turned left, and continued on. By the time we had gone 5 miles or so, I could feel a "bonk" starting to come on, so I tried to push the fluids and carbs more than really felt good, and slowed down a bit. There are some fairly tough climbs in this section, and I was in my granny gear quite a bit trying to save my legs. About this time we also noticed that the sky was starting to look a little more threatening; the clouds were welcome even though the temperature didn't drop much, but the thought of getting caught in a thunderstorm wasn't too pleasant.
The rest of the trip back was nice, though a bit of a struggle for me. I was on the ragged edge of bonking pretty much the whole way back, though keeping my speed down and pedal rpms up, along with forcing myself to eat and drink kept me from completely blowing up. Having the wind mostly either at our backs, or at least only from the side was also welcome, especially once we turned fully to the east. On bad thing which happened on the way back was that the Summit General store, which is at about the 50 mile point, was closed for the holiday, so we were unable to refuel at the usual point, and had to push on with only what we had left. Remind me not to do this on the 4th next year, so we done run into this again!!
I'm not completely sure why I had such trouble, whether it was simply not enough long or hilly rides in my legs this year (I have plenty of total miles, but almost all of them in short, fairly flat rides), if it was just the heat, if I wasn't drinking enough fluids from the start, or if I was just having a bad day. Probably a little of each of them is the most likely explanation. Even so, it was an enjoyable ride, and I want to thank my riding companions for putting up with my slowness in the 2nd half of the ride.
My computer said that we finished with right at 70 miles, at an average of 14.0 mph, a 42.5 mph max (down the big hill on Harkney Hill Rd), and 3555 feet of total climbing. As slow as I was going in the 2nd half of the ride, a 14mph overall average would indicate that we were a lot faster in the first half (which had most of the total climbing, 1995 feet when we stopped at the top of Jerimoth hill), which may also have contributed to my struggles.
I still think this would be a good club ride, especially now that the top is open every weekend, and the ride could be scheduled in cooler weather in late August or September.
Safe riding, everyone!