Sunday, August 29, 2010

Annapolis 10 Miler & Metric Century

Kathleen ran the Annapolis 10 Mile Race this morning, and I decided to make an epic adventure out of it and ride down to the race. This meant that my alarm went off at 4:40 this morning, and I was out the door rolling at 5:20AM. This photo was supposed to show the time on my computer, but the flash washed it out.
It was nice riding through town at that hour, the streets were empty for the most part, an occasional car, but mostly nothing.
I rode out over the Hanover Street Bridge which turns into Richie Highway going to Glen Burnie, and got on the Baltimore Annapolis Trail heading towards Annapolis. It was still dark when I hit the trailhead, but the sun came up fairly soon thereafter. I spotted this bit of art on the side of the trail about the same time as sunrise.
Oddly enough, it is a representation of the sun and our solar system according to the signs there. A little further along this group of three riders turned onto the trail just in front of me.
I caught up with them and rode with them for a little while, it turns out they were also riding down from Baltimore, but they were actually going to run the race as well. I asked about riding back, the gal I was talking with said they had dumped a car there the night before so they wouldn't have to ride home. We had some laughs about lights, they were surprised that I didn't have a headlight, I explained that I had put my headlamp on my helmet to provide some light, but about a block into the ride it slipped down and whacked me on the nose, and that was the end of that, especially once I tried to remove it and flew it off and hit the road, spewing the batteries all over Eastern Ave. After a little while they dropped back, I think they were trying to not blow up in the race by going too hard on the ride down, so I wished them luck and continued on. I arrived in Annapolis about 7:15 and stopped at the 7-11 to get a coke, then it was over to the Naval Academy to catch the start of the race. Here is Kathleen coming out of the stadium area (the start was up in the parking lot of the stadium) and making the turn onto the road (pinkish top, black shorts).
I was waiting for Kathleen to pass here when I spotted (heard?) this guy who had brought a small cymbal and mallet to help make some noise for the race.
Somehow I missed her going by, so I zoomed on down the road to the circle at the Governor's Mansion, where the church had a brass band out to entertain the runners.
A short while later Kathleen came by.
Then I cut across and caught her on the other side of the leg through the waterfront area.
After that I somehow got behind her and didn't see her again until just after mile 8 as she came down the hill towards the Severn River Bridge.
Then I zipped on over the bridge and caught her in action as I went by.
Then I scooted to the finish to catch her triumphant finishing sprint.
Afterwards I caught up with her in the finish area and dropped off the remains of my headlight, since my knees weren't bothering me, I decided to ride home. Here is the view of downtown Annapolis from the top of the bridge (my fourth time over it today).
So off up the B & A trail I went, at this point it was like riding on a freeway full of joggers, bicyclists, rollerbladers, and walkers.
A little further up the trail I came up behind this guy. Initially what I noticed was the incredibly large seat bag, but as I followed him I realized that he had a beer in a beer cozy in his hand. I am assuming that the large bag is to hold more beers.
Then it was a somewhat terrifying ride back up Richie Highway towards Baltimore, it is a fairly busy street which isn't a problem at 6:00AM but on the way back I got buzzed a couple of times. As I came back up Hanover Street I caught the Maryland Department of Natural Resources busting the guys fishing and crabbing here. They are always here when I pass by, who knew they were a bunch of scofflaws.
Eventually I made it back to the Inner Harbor where the biggest Navy ship I have seen there yet was getting pushed up to the dock.
As I passed by I spotted this little boat sitting on the deck of the large ship, on a boat trailer, I can't imagine why they would need the trailer on the ship, but what do I know about these things.
Then it was back to the house for a much-needed shower and some lunch. Today was a big day for me, this is the farthest I have ridden a bike in one day since I was about 13 years old or so, so next thing is to do a standard century, which is 100 miles, today was a metric century, 100 kilometers. I actually went a little farther than that, but at the 63 mile mark (100K) I had swig of water from the water bottle which went down the wrong pipe, so I nearly hurled to mark the moment.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Today is a gorgeous day, and since Kathleen had to run out to Annapolis to pick up her packet for the 10 miler tomorrow, I went out for a ride around the city. I went around the Inner Harbor which was pretty packed, then out Key Highway to Port Covington. This area is home to the Wal-Mart, a failed Sams Club, some sailboat businesses, and the Baltimore Sun printing plant. While out there I spotted my favorite feature of the Baltimore Harbor, the Cape Washington, and the Cape Somethingelse tied up on the other side of it.

We have lived here since 2004 and neither of those ships has ever moved from that spot. When you go by at night, the lights are on, but nothing is every happening. I have to admit that I am pretty curious about it at this point, but no answers so far. After a moment of pondering, I wandered around the Wal-Mart complex, just to see where the roads go, but they all were dead ends. So I went back through Federal Hill and up to Pratt Street, then up Calvert Street to North Avenue to Greenmount to complete the loop. At Fayette & President Street is the Shot Tower.

This is how you make shot for a musket. You have hot molten lead at the top, and when you drip it down the tower, as it falls it forms a perfect sphere then lands in a vat of water at the bottom to cool it. Pretty neato I think, and if you look at the page I linked above, it was the tallest building in the US until the Washington Monument was completed after the civil war. I rambled on through Little Italy, and then back up Fleet to the homestead.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Ride

After a rainy start to the day, it turned into a beautiful afternoon. Kathleen was out to run the 5K Trail Run at Boordy Vineyards this afternoon, so I went out for a ride. I followed the bike path through the Inner Harbor, which was hopping, then over through Federal Hill. When I got over by the stadium I caught this group of guys on sport bikes doing unbelievable stunts in the parking lot by the bike path.

A few minutes later, they all formed up and took off as a group to parts unknown, so I continued on. I rode out Washington Boulevard, and eventually made a big loop back towards home. At one point I was feeling a bit hungry, so I tried out the new ride snacks that I bought the other day, normally I take a Clif Bar or two (I really like the Blueberry Crisp so far).
So my thoughts on these. First, they were very tasty, not suprising they are made by Jelly Belly. The packaging was a different story, I wasn't sure how to eat them, so eventually I settled on the dump a bunch in my mouth while riding method. As far as the energy boost, who can say, but I wasn't hungry anymore after eating them. As I rode through Brooklyn, I realized I was right near a Robert Baltimore Landmark. A few years ago they shot a John Travolta movie here in Baltimore called Ladder 49. I provided a PA system for the director in this warehouse over in Brooklyn.
They used it with a wireless microphone so the Director could yell at everybody when they were starting shooting. What they did was build all of the interior sets there, all of them about 8' off the floor so they could put the movie fire stuff under the set and have the fire burn up like a real fire would. They would build a set, burn it down, truck it off to the dumpster then build another. They had two sets going at once in the warehouse, one active, one being built and they went back and forth between the two. For the grand finale of the movie, there was a fire in this grain elevator (I shot this from across the inner harbor on Hanover Street on my way back after rolling by the warehouse).
The grain elevator has a red circle around it. At any rate, they only shot the exterior scenes for the scene there, all of the interior scenes were shot in the warehouse, they built the whole interior of the building in there so they could control all of the lighting and fire effects. I suppose it's not really that interesting, but there you go. So anyhow, I continued along Hanover Street, and found another chunk of the Gwynns Falls Trail (purely by accident of course, the signage is terrible).
A little further along I rolled by this group, they were taking pictures of the guy in the business attire along the shore, with the Hanover Street bridge in the background.
My curiosity got the better of me, so I turned around to grill them on what they were up to, and my first guess was right, it was a political photo shoot for Bill Ferguson who is running for State Senate and actually represents my neighborhood. He came over and introduced himself, asked if I ever rode with a local group that rides on Sunday mornings, and knew his stuff on the benefits of making a city more bike friendly. He seemed very genuine, and reading a little further on him, he is big on Education reform, and was a teacher here in B'more prior to going to law school, and is still involved with the Baltimore City Schools now. He is running against an incumbent who has been in office for 26 years, so I hope he does well, I am feeling that some new blood in government wouldn't hurt anything. As a side note, having someone that much younger than me introduce himself as a candidate was a bit unsettling, I am suddenly feeling old :). After that I continued on the Gwynns Falls Trail back into town and home for a shower and some pizza from the BOP.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday Morning

I went out for a quick ride this morning, I was feeling soft so I went out towards the Dundalk Area, as it's fairly flat. I went out Holabird Avenue, then turned onto Broening Highway. I went right by where the GM plant used to be when we moved here, they built Astro vans there. GM closed it as it was too expensive to renovate to a new line when they killed of the Astro, apparently it was an old school factory, two levels, the cars started at one end, went to the other end of the building, up to the second floor then out as finished product. The newer plants are all built on a single level. The only remaining indicator that it was there is this bridge over Broening Hwy.
It was a nice day though, a little passing cloudiness but otherwise sunny. This would change later, it became super humid out.
After a while the monotony of Broening Highway got to me so I cut across to Dundalk Avenue where much to my suprise, I saw another cyclist. This is him peeling off to head to where I just was.
A little further up the road the Dundalk farmers' market was going on, people were out getting a little fresh produce and enjoying the morning.
After this I headed for home, busy day off today.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thursday Commute

Today was a no appointments day at work so I rode my bike in. Nice morning, and a little navigation error caused me to find another part of the Gwynns Falls Trail that I hadn't been on before. Beautiful morning though nice and shady on the trail and Franklintown Road.

Then a full day at work, lots of stuff going on, and back to the homestead via the Gwynns Falls Trail. The trail runs through a ton of parks, I am not sure what this one is called, but it really needs a pick up soccer game here.
This was in Carroll Park, it seemed that this may have been the little girls first ride.
But then it was on to surface streets towards the Inner Harbor. I caught this signage in Federal Hill, the signs for the bike trail are about 18' up in the air WTF?
Luckily I knew where I was headed, down through the Inner Harbor, passing all the sights, including the Aquarium, next time I will try and not get the art in the middle of the shot.
Then home for a quick shower, dinner, and some hanging out.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday with Kathleen

After yesterday's total humidity fest, this morning was rather nice, so Kathleen and I went out for a ride. We rode up Washington Street, and on the way up spotted this fine roof, I'm not sure what the building is/was, but maybe another morning I will swing by and take a look.
Then we went up the Alemeda, fairly calm going our way in the morning. Also note Kathleen's swanky new purple jersey.
A turn on 33rd street and we were at Lake Montibello, so we did a couple of laps, with a stop after the first one to adjust Kathleen's new seat for her bike. It was a gorgeous morning at the lake, lots of people out jogging and walking, and a few groups gabbing it up at the various parcourse stops.
You'll have to excuse my finger in this one.
Then back across 33rd Street to Hopkins, and down St Paul to the Inner Harbor and on to the house, shower, breakfast and off to work.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

It's Saturday and I'm Free!

Today was a good day, last night a front blew through and took the heat and humidity with it, and today I had no commitments, so I took off for a ride. I rode up the The Alameda here in Baltimore, which is a series of rolling hills, and then across on Ruxton & Old Court Roads. Here is what most of Old Court looks like, fairly calm lots of hills including one just after this that kicked my butt (I had to stop halfway up and let my heart rate drop).
But onwards I pressed, I originally was thinking that I would go further out Old Court before looping back, but I started a little later than I had planned, so I turned back towards home at Reisterstown Road. Just after I turned down that I saw this.
Very utilitarian use of a mountain bike, it would have been even more awesome (dangerous?) if he was actually riding the bike carrying the 20' long ladder. I was feeling like a little sugar would be a good idea, so I stopped at two different gas stations to get a Coke, but both of them only sold Pepsi. Eventually I got down to Liberty Heights Road and stopped at the 7-11 there and got a Coke.
Then I continued on towards home, through Druid Lake Park, where the Stone Soul Picnic was going on, it's put on by a local radio station. I didn't really see an interesting picture so I rolled on through. I took the Jones Falls Bike Path down to Falls Road on the other side of the Park. The landscaping is all in bloom now, I really like these flowers, I believe they are Black-Eyed Susans. You can see the bike path railing in the foreground and again just above the flowers, it switchbacks it's way down from Stieff Silver to Falls Road.
A little further down Falls Road I passed the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, and they were out repairing the overhead lines, I am assuming they were damaged in the storms from the past couple of nights.
A little further along I crossed Charles Street, and they had strung these paper lanterns across the road there. This is the Charles Theater's block (It's on the right in this picture), the area is called the Station North Arts & Entertainment district, lots of live/work spaces for artists, and the Charles Theater has been renovated into a multi screen theater, and they show lots of indy type films there.
Just down the street is Penn Station, and out in front is this sculpture.
It's called Male/Female, and at night the cone thing in the center has a light behind it and fades between purple and green. Some people like it, some hate it, I am ambivalent. After that I headed on home, and proved my shortening of the route as a good idea, just as I was coming up Eastern Ave my knee started bothering me, I have managed to twist it sometime in the last week, and it was letting me know that it had had enough.