Cycling Log July 2008


2008-07-02 Jones Falls

Started out tired but woke up in the first mile or two on the bike. Uphill segments didn’t give me much trouble, but I didn’t feel as energetic as my last ride from/to Mt.Vernon (not logged). Overall very enjoyable and refreshing, especially through the Druid Hill Park.

Date/Time: 07/02/2008 06:13 AM

Route: Similar to last week’s route through Druid Hill Park to Baltimore Zoo, but didn’t take Druid Park Drive this time. Instead I followed the arrows spray-painted to the ground through Druid Hill Park, along the Jones Falls Trail. I followed the beautiful path and exited the park at Parkdale Avenue, continued to the Woodberry lightrail station, then back on Clipper Mill Road toward Penn Station. Instead of making a left to Charles Street, I continued following the marks right onto Maryland Avenue, then right onto West Oliver Street, crossing the lightrail tracks to Park Avenue. There I must have missed the next arrow, but it was time for me to return anyway, so I made a u-turn, returned to Penn Station and followed the old route back home. Google Map

This was another blissful cycling experience. The Jones Fall Trail was really beautiful and a much nicer ride than my previous routes along Druid Park Drive. I had no idea – but I’m sure I will ride this route more often now. I’m quite sure that the spray-painted arrows were indicating the route for the annual Tour dem Parks event in Baltimore. They don’t have a google-map of the route on their website, but I did find two Tour dem Parks routes on Bikely.com here and here. These are the long routes with a length of between 62 and 88 kilometers. I would love to participate in the Tour dem Parks one day, but it looks like I have missed it this year. It took place on Sunday, June 8th. But I will continue exploring this route and perhaps ride its full length on one of the next weekends.

Length: approx. 10.8 miles

Traffic: none to easy going all the way

Weather: very nice, sunny, fresh, good air-quality

Bike: Jamis Durango Hardtail Mod. with 26x2.2 Maxxis Holy Roller

Heartrate/Elevation:

2008-07-04 Falls Road

Found hills quite exhausting today. Was already exhausted last night when I rode back home from Happy Hour (not logged). I should have given myself more time for recovery. Might try this again next weekend. Overall it was more painful than refreshing today.

Date/Time: 07/04/2008 09:45 AM

Route: A few days ago I discovered somebody’s route from Baltimore to Frederick to Washington DC back to Baltimore on Bikely.com. I also found a route from Frederick to Hagerstown. I was very excited by the idea to ride from Baltimore all the way to Hagerstown. When I studied the satellite pictures I found that these routes really appear to be safe, low traffic, leading through quiet country roads, some even off the roads – and with a length of roughly 76 miles I thought this could be a nice day trip. Some of the pictures along the route, like this one at Panoramio, reminded me a bit of my old college town Furtwangen. This could be a really beautiful route.

From what I can see there are only two or three areas that may become difficult. The first may be to get out of Baltimore on Falls Road. I have never ridden on Falls Road except the lower part from Clipper Mill Road to Penn Station, which is really nice – but I am not familiar with the upper part of Falls Road beyond West Cold Spring Lane yet. Would it be safe to ride the bike in traffic? The second problem area may be connecting the route to Frederick with the second route to Hagerstown. The segment between these two routes looked a bit crazy to me on the map, and I’m not sure yet which path could be a good and safe one to link both of them together. The third and probably the most difficult part could be the climbs between Frederick and Hagerstown, maybe even more along the entire way. Would I have enough steam left to climb a mountain after riding 50 miles? I’m just a normal guy with his mountain bike…not a Tour de France champion :)

Before I attempt a ride of these proportions I decided to explore the Falls Road situation first. This was my goal for today. I followed the route from North Calvert Street, left to West University Parkway, left onto West 40th Street toward the Rotunda, right onto Evans Chapel Road right before the grocery store, then left into Roland Heights Avenue, immediate right to Lawrence Avenue, at the end onto Woodheights Avenue and then finally a right onto Falls Road right before the intersection of Falls Road and West Cold Spring Lane. I continued straight on Falls Road for about another mile and then decided to return on Falls Road all the way near Penn Station, following the bike route arrows (as in my previous route) until they disappeared. I didn’t really intend to ride along the Tour dem Parks route today, so I had no further directions or notes with me. Google Map<

After this ride I have come to the conclusion that Falls Road could be a good way to leave the city. Traffic never felt threatening, dangerous or out of control to me, and there was enough room for me to ride and cars to pass by on their other lanes. I think continuing on this route could be doable. Today, however, I was not at all in a good shape – I already was exhausted when I got up and rode on University Parkway. Riding further uphill to the Cold Spring Lane intersection took a lot out of me, and the last series of hills on Falls Road just gave me the rest. The heat and humidity didn’t help there, too. I never had problems riding routes of 40 miles or more and think a route of 76 miles or so should work, too. However, the terrain around Mönchengladbach and the Netherlands is flat, but this route out of Baltimore might be more like a 76 mile long uphill climb. Of course I don’t know yet if this route continues somewhat flat before it’s time to climb the mountains in Frederick and Hagerstown. No matter what, this will be a challenge for man and material – and I will have to work on my hill-condition before I can really begin to think about attempting the full length.

Length: approx. 12.4 miles

Traffic: easy going all the way

Weather: post-rain, warm and humid, not very pleasant

Bike: Jamis Durango Hardtail Mod. with 26x2.2 Maxxis Holy Roller

Heartrate/Elevation:

2008-07-07 No Slackers Allowed

Woke up well enough being excited and a bit nervous about starting the new job today. The workout felt a bit exhausting and unfocused, probably because I had all the other things on my mind. It definitely was a nice warm-up for the ride to work (not logged). The morning felt very hectic although I managed to do everything well in time. Perhaps I should make myself get up at 5am, but that seems quite extreme. :)

Date/Time: 07/07/2008 05:48 AM

Route: No outside route. Decided to do an interval workout in the basement instead: Spinervals 1.0 “No Slackers Allowed” with a mix of ladders, superspins, tempo sets and sprints..

Length: approx. 43 minutes

Traffic: None.

Weather: warm and humid

Bike: Windsor Wellington 3.0 road-bike with 700x23c Maxxis Xephyr

Heartrate:

2008-07-13 Falls Road

Route was challenging but much more pleasant than when I attempted this route on the 4th of July. Uphill segments were not as painful as before, my heart rate was more under control, and I reached Robert E Lee park in only 28 minutes which surprised me. I always thought it was further away. In the past I found taking the bus and light rail to Mt. Washington more painful than riding the bicycle today. I was well rested and the weather was great. I will take this route more often to explore the park some more, and also Kelly Avenue, which will take me to the Frederick route.

Date/Time: 07/13/2008 07:42 AM

Route: When I looked at the map after riding Falls Road back on the 4th of July I found that if I had continued just a few meters further I would have reached the Robert E Lee Park I once visited a long time ago to take some pictures. I had no idea this park could actually be reached by bicycle. I followed my last route again on West University Parkway, left onto West 40th Street toward the Rotunda, right onto Evans Chapel Road right before the grocery store, then left into Roland Heights Avenue, immediate right to Lawrence Avenue, at the end onto Woodheights Avenue and then finally a right onto Falls Road right before the intersection of Falls Road and West Cold Spring Lane. I continued straight on Falls Road passing the Mt. Washington bike store and making a right into Robert E Lee park. Google Map

Length: approx. 12.7 miles

Traffic: Traffic was manageable and felt easy most of the way. Only one short segment on Falls Road, I think between Cliffhurst Road and Clarks Hill, felt a bit uncomfortable as far as traffic was concerned. The road became more narrow, and although there was a speed limit of 25 mph, traffic continued with at least 35-40 mph. Measures to control the speed there would be desirable. But most of Falls Road still felt relatively safe to ride.

Weather: warm but pleasant wind, not too humid

Bike: Jamis Durango Hardtail Mod. with 26x2.2 Maxxis Holy Roller

Heartrate/Elevation:

2008-07-29 Lake Montebello

For the last few weeks I have ridden the bike daily, to the office in the morning and back home during rush-hour. The trips became shorter and more intense, especially in the afternoon, as I tried to rush back as quickly as possible through an increasingly uncomfortable heat and humidity. Today I decided to switch the bike and attempt another trip after I returned from work, taking out the road bike for the first time. I had to adjust the brakes, but I was surprised how well this bike could be handled despite the ultra-thin tires. I still have to get used to the brakes and handlebar, but I enjoyed riding so fast in comparison to my old MTB. The weather was hot and humid, I felt tired and not really up for a longer ride today, so I returned again after two laps. I plan to take this bike out more often as long as the weather allows, and keep the bike trainer for winter or rainy days.

Date/Time: 07/29/2008 05:53 PM

Route: Took the road bike out for the first time for a quick, short trip to Lake Montebello and two laps around it.

Length: approx. 28 minutes

Traffic: Easy going all the way.

Weather: very hot and humid

Bike: Windsor Wellington 3.0 road-bike with 700x23c Maxxis Xephyr

Heartrate: