Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cycling in a Heat Wave and Spring Flowers

The training continued this weekend with a ride out of Meyersville, Maryland. We've done the shorter (55 mile) version of this one before. This time, we intended to do the 75 mile version and we did come close. The weather and a lack of water conspired to cut our ride a couple of miles short. The weather was absolutely beautiful, but it was really warm compared to what we have been riding in. I had to ride in tights earlier in the week, so it was a bit disorienting to ride in 80 degrees.
We took a break at the parking lot which is the northern terminus of the Catoctin Trail. In spite of the good weather, there weren't any cars in the lot.
This sign, which I had never noticed before, is right beside the parking lot. The previous times that I've been to the parking lot, it was in the summer, so I think it was covered by leaves and undergrowth.
The part of the loop that was new to us took us north, into Pennsylvania's Michaux State Forest. It was a really nice road, through beautiful pine woods. We stopped for lunch at a pulloff next to this stream. From here, the road climbed steadily for six or seven miles. Here's where the adventure started.

By the end of that climb, we were all getting pretty low on water. The cue sheet indicated a store just after the top of the climb, which turned out to have gone out of business. We checked and decided we could make it to Pen Mar Park, where we had gotten water in the past. We arrived, completely out of water after a grueling, hot, windy climb, only to find that the water had not been turned on yet for the season. They had a vending machine, which must have been empty. It taunted us with pictures of cold water bottles as we tried to put money in it. Normally, after stopping at Pen Mar, we ride up to High Rock, a couple of miles up the road. The prospect of more climbing with no water didn't appeal to any of us, though. We knew of a gas station a few miles down the road (and all downhill) from a wrong turn on a previous ride, so we decided to skip the short climb up to High Rock and head for water. We must have sat in front of that gas station for half an hour, draining a gallon jug of water and cooling off.
Later in the ride, Michael spotted these Sanguinaria candensis (Bloodroot) in a ditch along the road. These are the first wildflowers we've spotted this year. They provided me a nice morale boost on the last leg of the ride.
These Tussilago farfara (Coltsfoot) were nearby.

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