My ride is over, but the memories will last forever.

A life long dream fulfilled ... a great cause ... new friends ... amazing support

Thanks to everyone who helped make a difference!

I have maxed out the picture space on this blog. To see my postings for Day 42 (August 1st) onward click the link below:

GOTO Mark's Trek - NEW Daily BLOG (August 1st Onward)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Week of 07/26/09 - Weekend Warrior - 120 Miles

With the girls in Maine, I had hoped to push past my 140-150 mile weekly goal.  Unfortunately, I am right in the middle of two large proposal efforts for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and National Cancer Institute. The work week was just that ... work ... often into the late night hours.  If I didn't stay up so late, maybe I could get up early and ride.  Well, that didn't happen.  The weekend was a different story.  I was able to schedule two great rides and still put in some needed time on the proposals.

On Saturday I drove to Bowie near the Bowie Baysox stadium to start a 68 mile loop to Chesapeake Beach.  The Baysox are the AA affilliate of the lowly Baltimore Orioles. The ride is a modified and extended version of Ride 55 (A New Deale) from Chuck and Gail Helfer's Favorite Bike Rides.  This long out of print book has 75 great rides in the mid-atlantic area and includes great maps and detail.  It is a great reference and has helped me explore and find lots of new routes. My loop included Davidsonville, Deale, North Beach, and Chesapeake Beach.  Deale is a small town that is all about boats and fishing. It sits on the the Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay and has several marinas including the Happy Harbor.  The Happy Harbor Inn is a good mid-ride stop on shorter days as is the Calypso Bay and Skipper's Pier. Today, I pushed on toward North Beach passing Herrington Harbor, which juts out into the bay as you head south toward the beaches.  Herrington is a large marina and environmentally friendly resort that is very popular for weddings and other events.

 Just as I entered North Beach I hit a piece of glass and got a front flat. I had planned to rest on the boardwalk, but gave that time back for the tube change. A quick gatorade and food stop in Cheasapeake Beach had me refueled and on my way back toward Bowie. Chesapeake Beach was a big resort town from the late 1800's to the 1930's. It had beachfront hotels, a race track, casino, bathhouse, beaches, and a large boardwalk. Trains brought people from Baltimore and Washington. The amusement park finally closed in the early 1970's. Today it is a charter fishing spot and like North Beach, has seen a lot of new construction and revitalization. I returned to Bowie via quiet back roads just as it started to pour.

Sunday broght the chance of thunderstorms, but I was pumped from Saturday's ride to the beach and had a longing for some climbing.  Whenever I get that urge, I head about an hour west to Thurmont in the Catoctin MountiansThurmont is best known for Camp David and The Cozy (a local institution of shops, rooms, and an all you can eat buffet - the perfect post ride eatery).  I start my rides here at Utica District Park, which is just down the road from the Utica Mills Covered Bridge. The photo below was taken on a family ride in Thurmont in 2007, but shows the bridge.  The link below shows my route on

View Interactive Map on

The roads in and around Thurmont are just perfect for biking.  If you stay to the east of Route 15 it is quiet rolling roads with options galore.  Crossing Route 15 brings you to the Catoctins and climbs a plenty.  From the Utica Mill Covered Bridge I headed north toward downtown Thurmont and crossed the Roddy Covered Bridge.  Then it was on to Emmitsburg through Mount St. Mary's College and the climbs.  There were two separate and challenging climbs that brought me into Pennsylvania near Ski Liberty.  The rain came slowly at first, but then dumped just as I was finishing the last decsent to Route 16.  Route 16 was a little busy with marginal shoulders and fast moving cars.  The rain finally let up after I stopped in Emmitsburg for fluids and an energy bar.  I also swapped out my front tube as it was slowly leaking (must have been something left from yesterday's flat).  The ride back through Thurmont was great ... did I mention, I love these roads.  Passed through the final covered bridge, Loys Station Covered Bridge, and the Cotoctin Furnance before making it back to the car.  A wet, challenging, but thoroughly satisfying 55 miles.  So, even though I was only able to get two rides in this week, I still logged over 120 miles.