It was 48 degrees when Ernie Rodriguez and I rolled through Frederick, Maryland on our way to Thurmont for the start of the Civil War Century. The big question was arm warmers or no arm warmers. Ultimately I decided no warmers and it was a good decision. The temperature climbed into the high 70s and it was one less thing to carry, and potentially lose along the way.
|Ernie Climbing South Mountain|
The ride began with a seven mile climb through Cunningham Falls State Park in the Catoctin Mountains. This is where Camp David, the presidential retreat is located, although we did not pass the secret Campground Number 3 (shhh!). And that was followed by a 14 mile descent and then some "rollers" before the mile and a quarter climb up to the South Mountain Battlefield site.
|South Mountain Battlefield Site|
On the descent I picked up enough speed that I looked down and saw my speedometer go over 50 mph. Only once before had I pushed it to 50 and I was so concentrating on pedaling or holding on, or both, that only when I checked my max speed later did I see it go over 50. Today I looked at the speedometer while it was occurring. It hit 51.9 (52 mph!). Awesome. Nothing, not even a flat tire, could ruin this day.
|Max Speed: 51.9 mph|
After a short break, enough to use the porta-johns and refill our bottles, we headed off to Sharpsburg, the site of the Antietam National Battlefield. Then it was on to Boonesboro and Smithsburg.
While on Rte 64 in Smithsburg, I ran over something that wasn't good. Ernie thought it may have been a cable of sorts but it sounded like a baseball card was in my spokes for 30 seconds or so then it freed itself. But about 60 seconds later I flatted. It was the first flat I have had in more than two years and probably 6,000 miles of riding.
Still not sure what occurred. When I got home there wasn't a puncture in the tube. But the valve wasn't functioning properly. Whether that cable somehow hit the valve, I don't know, but it was shortly after I picked up the road debris that I flatted.
|Ernie fixing my flat|
Ernie used his hand pump to fill up the tire. After a repair I always worry that there's a piece of glass embedded in the tire which will cause another flat. And I feel like I am riding on a flat.
|Rest Stop, Fairfield, Pa|
When we reached the rest stop at Fairfield, Pa., I immediately went to the repair tent for a floor pump. Tire pressure was 62 psi. I normally ride about 100-110 psi. Once I fully inflated the tire I never thought about it again.
Fairfield Inn. One of six inns in continuous service since the 1700s.
At Gettysburg, we were reminded at every intersection to ride single file. We did.
We rode through the Battlefield. What an impressive site seeing all the monuments lining the roads.
The run in back to Thurmont was basically flat. We passed through the Roddy Road covered bridge. It was the second covered bridge we had on the route.
Roddy Road Covered Bridge
Back at Thurmont they had ice cream and sandwiches.
Sean Walker and girlfriend
It was a GREAT day in the saddle.