Monday, April 28, 2008
Wild Goose Chase ride report
Rise and shine ladies!
Can you tell just HOW early it is in this series?!
Getting ready- notice the ominous sky
Me and everyone. We'd long abandoned group photos as they just seemed impossible to get done.
This weekend me, Barbara, Debbie, (and Shawn, who didn't actually ride but came along) and Rita schlepped to Maryland for the Wild Goose Chase ride to benefit the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. It would have been great to have more RBC Chicks there for this ladies-only excursion but the ride sold out almost immediately. Next year?
I dropped my stuff off at Gerri's the day before and on Saturday I rode over to Piermont. Gerri woke me at the crack of dawn to make sure I was up and out nice and early. It was a brisk ride over, we did about 16 miles, kind of windy, which could describe every single ride I've done this month.
We headed out from Piermont and made it down to MD in pretty good time. It was pretty good because I 1) didn't have to drive and 2) got to take a nap in the car. The benefits of my good company cannot be overstated.
We arrived at the hotel and were told by Larry that we would have to put our bikes in the "shed". Oh no, nobody puts Baby in the shed. Like dutiful patrons, we merely found another door far from Larry through which we snuck our bikes later that night.
After eating we headed out to find the next day's start location, a local high school. Garmin helped and we were there in no time, it was only 2.25 miles. Then Rita, and Barbara and I just kept going- the roads were beautiful, the weather was warm and sunny, and the scenery was idyllic. We unintentionally found the preserve and made our way to the visitor's center where two ornery ladies provided neither polite banter nor lip balm, one of which I was sorely in need.
We headed back, retracing our route, all of us sharing in the glee of the ride- no cars, perfect, flat roads, tailwinds, gorgeous scenery. I couldn't help myself, I had to swerve across the yellow line yelling, "Woohoooooo" as there were no cars anywhere to be seen!
Went out to dinner that night to a wonderful place Shawn picked out- I was tastefully dressed in my "Got Butt Butter" t-shirt, amusingly appropriate in bike-centered functions, bizarrely awkward in all other factions of society.
Got back from dinner pretty early and headed in to sleep- Shawn and Debbie I'm assuming headed in to enjoy the Olympic-sized jacuzzi located in the middle of their hotel room. Oh, and we all had some brownies that Debbie baked- a perfect treat!
The next morning we woke to have breakfast and discover the weather was calling for 50% chance of thunderstorms. That was delightful.
After hemming and hawing about what we should wear and bring, we got out and on the road, my bike adorned in sparkly bike flare and all of us wearing glow bracelets, courtesy of Rita.
Debbie and I rode to the ride, Rita and Barbara checked out and drove over. As I'm standing in line to check in, a diminutive lady instructs me that there are several lines, I can move over. I then hear someone call her "Terry"- I ask if she is in fact the Terry. Yes!
Well anyway, we all set out together- it was a different route than we had taken the day before. The weather was chilly and misting- for the first 15 miles or so we picked up a little rain, thankfully we all had our rain jackets though I obviously missed the "yellow" rain jacket memo. Rita decided to split and do the 25-mile route, though ultimately rode the 43 mile option. Go Rita!
The rest of the ride was pretty non-descript. We stayed together for a while then got to the second rest stop which was disappointingly devoid of bathroom facilities. We had already found the-little-girl's tree, well, really it was more like a tick-laden shrub.
The rest stop- lotsa snacks, no place to pee!
We left the second rest stop and that's where we all kind of pulled apart. Debbie and I held a good 18-19 for probably about 10 miles, at times fighting 20 mph headwinds. Harsh! The scenery was so bucolic- sporadic homes, weathered and leaning gravestones, bald eagles and red-winged blackbirds. After a bit, Debbie and I separated and I enjoyed my iPod and a slower pace, taking time to drink in the swaying grasses and numerous piles of animal carcasses littering the route. (many snakes, deer, frogs, a hawk)
After a while it started to rain/drizzle and the last 20 miles were kind of harsh- the rain, driven through to my skin by the increasingly strong wind, made me cold and beaten, at times I found myself whimpering like a hurt puppy. The route however was even more beautiful though as it snaked through marshlands lined by rare pinetree windbreakss.
I finished at about 1:00 and waited a short while for Rita to arrive, ate some yummy brownies and snacks in the high school, and tried to stay warm. When everyone was back together, Shawn and Debbie decided to leave and miss the raffle. The rest of us wanted to give it a shot- it seemed so many people had already left that we might actually have a good chance at winning a Terry steel-frame (all made in the USA except for the carbon fork which was made in Taiwan)bike. Of course we didn't win- Barbara came away with a pair of sunglasses, Rita and I got nothing. We could have easily claimed to be one of the many, many raffle numbers called that were not in attendance- no one at the goodie table was checking numbers, but darn our integrity!
We left the high school at a little before 4 and pulled into Barbara's house a little after 11. Barbara was a trooper behind the wheel. I however, was gracious enough to stay awake for several hours before I started snoozing. I am such a gem, they were lucky to have me. At one point I heard snoring and hoped it wasn't Barbara.
Rita quickly dropped me off and I took the fastest shower of my life before collapsing into bed to reveille 5 short hours later.
I'm not sure I'd do this organized ride next year, but I might just detour towards the location if I were going through again- it really was a treat to be there. And the maximum 1% grade didn't suck either.
Posted by Jenni at 8:02 PM