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, November 29, 2009

Week of 11/29/09 - Turkey Week - Rain - 133 miles

While the weather pushed me inside for some music and TV spinning, I still managed to get outside for a few good rides.  A little short of my 140 mile weekly goal, but only by 7 miles.  Monday, I put in 16 miles watching America's Funniest Videos with Leah.  We love that show and no matter how old the clips are, it is still a great way to laugh.  I spent Tuesday working and hacking on the computer ... I now know all the options for shipping my bike to the west coast.  Did research on the best cases and options for packing.  I will try to get a case loaner from my bike club and have my mechanic help pack it for shipping.  More rain on Wednesday ... a quick 17 mile spin to Criminal Minds.

The turkey day forecast was supposed to be dry and low 50's.  That never quite materialized ... it was mid 40's and misty.  Uncle Dave came up early and we went out for a nice, but messy, two hour tour (a little short of 30 miles) past the prisons in Jessup and over to Timbuktu in Elkridge.  From there, we meandored up 103 and 108 and eventually past the Columbia Mall.  A good bike cleaning was in order (saved that for the weekend).  Karen prepared a great Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings.  I made what has become a new tradition ... the gravy (not the store bought stuff, but real homemade from the drippings stuff).  Dave, Molly, Beth, and Greg joined us.  Mike was home for the week.  A nice, quiet and fun day.

Black Friday saw shopping, but no 5am standing in line.  Picked up a new GPS and external hard drive at bargain bin prices.  Also grabbed the first four seasons of Weeds and some video games for Leah.  Started to look at new cell phones to replace the aging dinosaurs we have now.  On Friday night, my lips puffed up again (a repeating ocurrence the last month or so) and spread to my face and tounge by morning.  It went away quickly again, but I headed to the clinic for a visit.  Allergies of some kind ... I will need to watch it and have some testing done.  Felt better by supper and pushed inside for 20 miles to some music and Capitals hockey.

Was Sunday the last 60 degree day of the year?  If so, I took full advanatge with a 52 mile ride to Eldersburg and Sykesville.  A little quicker and at least 15 other riders passed enroute.  Rode with a few young bucks on Homewood ... they had to work hard to stay up with the chubby old man on both the descent and climb to Folly Quarter.  I felt very good the whole day and made only a short stop in Sykesville.  The route included Marriotsville Road (a great stretch through Patapsco Park and along the river), Route 26 (busy), Route 32 (nice shoulder to Sykesville), and River Rd (another scenic run along the river with a few power hills).  Got back a little after dark, which made the girls a little unhappy ... I did call first!

December beckons ... hope I can still get outside a few days a week.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Week of 11/22/09 - King of the 2 Hour Ride - 135 miles

Weather and scheduling enabled me to stay outside a good part of the week.  My rides are definitely shorter this year ... averaging around 2 hours and +/- 30 miles ... still some 40 and 50 milers on weekends.  I will need to ramp up next spring with more back to back days.  All in all, no compliants on mileage base ... now to work that mid-section and drop a few pounds!

Headed toward Elkridge and BWI Airport on Monday.  A nice 30 mile run to the Maryland Department of Transportation headquarters.  They have connected Corporate Drive to the building from the BWI car rental facility ... provides some new connection options in and around BWI, Elkridge, and the airport trail.  Here is the route:

View Interactive Map on

Mid week saw some rain and work ... tough to get rides in when the sun goes down before 5pm.  I spun to Criminal Minds on Wednesday for 16 miles.  Scheduled a ride on Friday, by taking my bike to work and heading out by 3.  To avoid the congestion near the office, I drove a few miles to Needwood Golf Course.  I decided to bike home and retrieve the car on Saturday.  I don't know why I have not done this more often ... the routes are pretty good and even with a little car traffic, very nice.  I headed through Lake Needwood park and over to Emory Rd (nice paved path along side of narrow, busy road), quick turn on Georgia (again on path) to Bachelor's Forrest Rd and Trotters Glen Golf Course.  Bachelor's Forrest is a perfect bike road with some climbsls and few cars.  It connects to Olney near the Olney Ale House ... the best beef stew and sourdough bread in town.  From there, Doctor Bird Rd., past the Sandy Spring Friends School, Ednor Rd., and home via Fulton and Harding Rd. Stretched it to 27 miles. Return trip on Saturday was slightly different route via Highland, Brighton Dam, and Brookville.  Brighton Dam is a pretty site and has a nice azalea garden.  During the War of 1812, when British troops burned the White House, President James Madison sought refuge in Brookeville on August 26, 1814.  Meandored around Laytonsville toward Gaithersburg by the Montgomery County Airpark.  Short bike lane on Shady Grove Rd that just ends ... then some nastiness to cut over toward Needwood (this is why I drove a vew niles from office).  If I can handle the few miles around the office ... this back and forth is pretty nice.

Planned 40-50 on Sunday ... didn't quite make it, thanks to some mechanical issues.  My cassette was slipping and broke away from my wheel on a climb up Mission Rd.  Luckily it happened toward the end of the ride and close enough to the SAG girls.  The route was Fort Meade, Sevren, BWI Trail, to Elkridge Furnance Inn.  35 miles brought my weekly total a little under goal at 135.  I used Cyclo Club online video for a pre-ride strecth.  Need to make this part of the routine and use the core and bootcamps more.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Week of 11/15/09 - Ida Blows In - Another 145+ miles

The week started with very nice weather for November (high 60's).  On Monday, I got off to a good start with a nice 37 mile ride to the Univeristy of Maryland to say hello to Mike.  This route takes me past the Beltsville Agricultural Center, the Greenbelt Metro, and into College Park via Lake Artemesia and the Paint Branch Trail.  The lake includes a fishing pier, aquatic gardens, and a nice loop of hiker-biker trails that connect to the College Park Airport and Aviation Museum, as well as the UMD campus. The trail goes right by Mike's house and provides great access to campus without having to cross busy Route 1.  Mike and Erin were pleasantly surprised to see me.  I returned home via the Paint Branch Trail, Silver Spring, and a short stint on Route 29 (good practice for the busier roads out west).  Construction for the new Inter County Connector (Route 200) continues to be in full swing.  When finished, it will connect Route 95 (Prince Georges County) and Route 270 (Montgomery County).

Tuesday saw a late day at the office and significant progress finalizing the partnership with the American Lung Association.  I also presented a sponsorship proposal to Northrop Grumman.  That was unfortuneately not given much consideration.  I have not given up just yet, but my optimism for a major corporate sponsor has taken a hit.  There is great synergy with corporate wellness, community, and green initiatives, so I will still have opportunities to spread the message.

The remains of Hurrican Ida made their way to the southeast and mid-atlantic, and brought lots of wind and rain.  Wedndesay through Saturday were inside days.  I sat out Wednesday hacking away on the computer.  My motivation returned big time on Thursday with a strong 35 mile spin to Warren Zevon and Meatlof's Bat Out of Hell.  Great classic tunes from my youth.  Zevon was an acquired and poltical taste, but a great writer and musician.  He died of cancer in 2003.  Riding to music really helps the time fly by and gets the addrenaline flowing.  Friday was a more typical inside set ... 15 miles to more oldies ... this time Three Dog Night.  Saturday, the weather slowly started to clear, but was still misty most of the day.  I hung out with Leah, as Karen had the Holiday Boutique to benefit the Glenelg Country School Parent's & Friends Association.  We laid low most of the day and had a fun lunch at Costco along with some samples.  A little clothes and book shopping rounded out the afternoon.  Leah has been challenged to read the sequel to Inkheart by Cornelia Funke ... Inkspell.  A mere 660 pages.  I gave her until her birthday on New Years Day.  Leah and I celebrated the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street with a 15 mile spin to the best of Ernie ... rubber duckie you are the one!

Sunday saw the thermometer top 70 degrees, and with no activities, work, or school stuff, it was a perfect chance to ride.  Ten minutes out I had a front flat ... quick change (less than 15 minutes) and I was back on my way to Elkridge Furnace Inn.  From there I headed toward Linthicum and meandored all the way into downtown Baltimore to the M&T Bank Stadium, the home of the Baltimore Ravens.  There was even a new (for me) bike path around the stadium that avoided most of the city streets and lights.  From there I headed west to leave the city and after several city blocks and row houses I found myself by the old Montgomery Wards building (now called Montgomery Park).  It was Baltimore's largest mercantile building and the city's first suburban department store when it opened in 1925.  Today it is a revitalization project that houses office space, a city park, and overlooks the Carol Park golf course.  The art deco design is still prevalent.  From there I followed signs for the Gwynns Falls Trail.  This trail starts out by my office near the crossroads of Route 70 and 695, near the Social Security Administration headquarters and runs 15 miles into Baltimore and the inner harbor. The trail crosses some neat bridges (see pic) and for the most part is off city streets.  Somehow, I took a wrong turn and headed off the trail and back toward the city.  By the time I convinced myself I was heading in the wrong direction, I was near the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum.  A neat round about design with great exhibits for the kids.

My route out of the city (2nd try) was past the stadiums and up Hanover Street toward Glen Burnie.  From there I took Routre 170 and connected up with the BWI trail.  The sun was getting low, so I called the SAG van and met the girls for dinner at Arundel Mills Mall.  The 45 mile ride included just about everything  except any real hills (climbing was less then 1600 feet).  A chnage of pace for sure.  Weekly total of 147 miles with YTD just shy of 5,700 miles.  Got an email from Northrop Grumman VP that oversees community affairs ... some positive words, but limited budgets.  A new name to talk with next week .. we will see.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Week of 11/08/09 - 7 for 7 and 150 Miles

I hate the end of daylight savings.  The sun goes down at 5:00 and I am still a late night person, so getting up with the early sunrise and cool temperatures just isn't in me ... I guess I should work on that.  Too busy to schedule daytime rides on Monday and Tuesday, so it was downstairs to the trusty Trek 1200 and my Cyclops trainer.  Monday saw 15 miles while watching the Phillies hold on for an 8-6 win against the dreaded Yankees.  I knew it would be tough for the Phillies to win two straight in Yankee stadium, but as a die hard Red Sox fan, I prayed to the Lord (Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski that is!).  On Tuesday I rode to the last leg (17 miles) of the Lake Placid Iron Man route with Coach Troy and his helmet cam.  The on the road series is a nice variation from the standard Spinervals DVDs.
Wednesday's schedule kept me inside for a third consecutive day. With the Yankees is control of game 6, I watched a new epsiode of Criminal Minds and sweated out another 18 miles. Did I mention, I hate the Yankees.  On Thursday I scheduled some time to ride near work.  I started from the South Germantown Recreational Park.  This is a great starting point and provides access to Sugarloaf Mountain and a wide variety of great roads near Poolesville, White's Ferry, Dickinson, and several other quiet towns.  In operation since 1786, White’s Ferry is the last working ferry on the Potomac River. The C&O Canal pases the Ferry entrance.  Today's ride took me to Secneca via Sugarland, Partnership, and River Road.  Surgarland is barely a one lane road with almost no cars. I passed the Seneca Schoolhouse Museum, a typical one room school house from the 1880's. The route was just shy of 30 miles. Friday was windy and cold (low 40's) ... Given the nice weekend forecast, I opted to stay inside and spun hard for 22 miles to some old Garth Brooks tunes.
Wonderful fall weather was back in form for the weekend.  On Saturday I spent the morning brainstroming on fundraising and website ideas.  I finalize things with the Lung Assocition on Monday and will present my pitch to Northrop Grumman later in the week.  The girls went off to sell Girl Scout cookies, so I headed out for a nice 50k (31 miles) to Marriottsville via Centennial Lane and Route 99.  Return was past Glenelg Circle and Homewood.  I went right past the sight of a Halloween night murder (a rare occurence in Howard County).  Stopped to see the cookie sale and ate some when I got home!

Sunday was another gorgeous day, but we headed to Frederick to look at a house we had seen last summer in Braddock Heights.  Braddock Heights is located at the top of Braddock Mountain (almost 1,00 feet up). It was founded in 1896 as a summer resort community and eventually included several hotels, a community pool, a wooden floor skating rink, an amusement park, scenic overlooks, nature trails, and until 1980, a small ski resort.  It is now known for its eclectic houses (no two are alike) and scenic views of Frederick and the Monocacy and Middletown valleys.  The house we looked at was a 1930 Victorian that we had seen  last summer.  It had dropped significantly in price and was well worth the look.  We decided it was just too small.  Some day ... I spun inside with Leah singing some more Garth Brooks tunes for 18 miles.  Heavy inside work with a couple nice outdoor rides gave me 150 miles for the week. 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Week of 11/01/09 - Dedication and Scheduling Result in 145 Miles

The week started off with some wonderful fall weather and temperatures in the high 60's/low 70's.  On Monday, I headed to Elkridge for a hillier route (30 miles) via Lawyers Hill.  The route to Elkridge bypassed Elkridge Furnance Inn and headed up Coca Cola Drive (nice spot for hill repeats) and Hanover Road to Route 1.  After climbing Lawyers Hill, I returned via Marshalee Lane and the Timbers at Troy golf course.

Lawyers Hill is a great climb and includes some nice historic homes.  The homes include Victorians built during the 1840's to 1880's, as well as American Gothic Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, and Shingle-style structures. There is also a range of Colonial Revival houses, from craftsman era rustic cottages to more formal Georgian, and mass-produced Dutch Colonial models from the early 20th century.

The community originally contained several summer estates that were built by wealthy Baltimore locals including Caleb Dorsey ("Belmont"), Baltimore City Supreme Bench Judge George Washington Dobbin ("the Lawn"), Thomas Donaldson ("Edgewood"), John Latrobe ("Fairy-Knowe"), and the Penniman family home ("Wayside"). At the top of the hill stands the Elkridge Assembly Rooms. This community hall was built in 1871.  The Lawyers Hill Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The nice weather quickly dissappeared on Tuesday, and the rain pushed me inside for a fast 15 miles to some classic hits of the 70's.  Late in the day on Wednesday, I made a run to drop off my parents at BWI Airport for their return to sunny Florida.  After goodbye hugs, I got in a quick 20+ miles in around the BWI Trail and Glen Burnie area. The trail is an 11 mile loop passing through Friendship Park and Andover Park, and includes a nice horse farm and a great overlook of plane landings.

I had to tightly schedule another 20+ mile ride on Thursday after work.  We had a Halloween event at work, so I was already dressed in my best biking attire.  I experimented with some roads in and around the Rockville office.  A little busy given the commuting time, but a few nice spots on Glen Mill and Glen Road.  Finshed up through downtown and Route 28 to Avery Road, then a short run through Lake Needwood.

Friday was another inside day with a typical 15 miles ... this time to Criminal Minds repeats on A&E.  Saturday finally saw the chance for a longer ride. A solid 45 miles to Cooksville via Glenelg.  The return was through Glenwood, Tridelphia Mill, and Highland. These rods through Western Howard County are among the best local roads for cycling.  Nice shoulders or quiet country.  Good variation with some tough hills too.  Tridelphia Road and Tridelphia Mill Road are part of the Columbia Triathlon route. Sunday saw rest and helping Leah with her big science project on leaves.

So ... helped by some shorter rides and a few inside spins, I logged close to 145 miles for the week.