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November 5, 2018 / bikesbytesbites

This past weekend’s goodies – I worked for them

On Saturday,  November 3, I marshaled WABA’s Apple Cider Ride, the long (“Honey Crisp”) version.  I got to the Dance Place early, signed in to get my marshal vest and first aid kit; had a cup of coffee; picked up a cue sheet; loaded the route into Ride with GPS (a backup never hurts); and hit the road.  It was my first time doing this ride, so I was looking forward to a relaxed ride in autumn weather, a combination of familiar streets and trails and maybe some new ones.

Marshaling is sometimes (ok, rarely) a free ride:  there are no mishaps along the route, no riders to help, either with advice, first aid, or bike repairs. That was not the case on this ride. The weather was lovely, but it had rained the day before and there were wet leaves on the trails. I witnessed the aftermaths of two accidents and was able to help out at the more serious one — a rider went down on a slippery, leaf-covered boardwalk. We called the EMTs and they were walking toward the accident site, carrying a stretcher, as I rode away.  (Other marshals were there helping the injured rider.)

The rest of the ride was relatively uneventful. Gorgeous scenery in neighborhoods and trails. A new trail (to me) – the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail. I stopped to help twice to help the same (!!) rider repair two flats.  (ATTN PEOPLE: I know that a pump weighs more than CO2 cartridges, but it doesn’t have a limited life span. And if you have deep-dish rims, either carry multiple tubes with long valves, be prepared to patch, or buy and carry a valve extender, so you can use a borrowed tube.)  But I did take time to stop at the two rest stops to enjoy hot apple cider and both the pumpkin and apple pies.  I earned those pies, pedaling into a fierce headwind from the west.

I was running a little behind schedule (had to be in Annapolis between 3 and 5), so I took a short-cut, missing the southern part of the East Anacostia River Trail, that I was fairly familiar with anyhow. But the bridge I took (Benning Bridge) happened to be the route of the 30-mile ride, so I was still doing marshal duty, and was able to reassure riders that, yes, that road would get them to the Dew Drop Inn for the post-ride celebration.  I was sorry to miss that celebration. Maybe next year.  This ride is definitely a keeper.  I didn’t get a T-shirt, but I did end up with two engraved cups — which have carabiners as handles, so people could carry them hooked to their seat post rails.

The reason for the trip to Annapolis was to pick up my packet for the Annapolis Bridge 10k Run, scheduled for the next day, Sunday, November 5. Packet pickup was at the US Navy-Marine Corp Stadium, which gave me a chance to figure out where I needed to be the next morning, to catch a bus to the run’s actual starting point, at the foot of the western side of the bridge.

The run/walk has something like 20,000 participants. Since I was in a late wave (9 AM; the first wave starts at 7), I figured I would bike to the start, since there probably wouldn’t be parking spots left anyhow by the time I got there.  That strategy worked out. What looked like every yellow school bus in Anne Arundel and the adjacent counties must have been hired to shuttle people between the meeting places and the race start. By 8 AM I was on a bus,  and by 8:30 I exiting the start corral and starting to run.  (Going with an earlier wave is evidently ok, not like more tightly controlled triathlons I’ve been in.)


One span of the bridge is closed to traffic and open for the race. There were police, EMTs, and water supplies stationed along that span and the 1+ mile the race extends to Chesapeake College on the eastern shore.

Once again, I lucked out with the weather. The wind had died down, the sun was bright, I even managed to have just the right combination of clothes. Racers were all considerate of the crowd, and there was very little jostling, just careful passing, stopping to enjoy the views. The bridge is ramped, but the highest point isn’t in the middle of the bridge, but closer to the western shore — that must be where the deepest part of the bay is. So, a level start to get to the bridge is followed by a less-than-2-mile uphill, which is followed by a more-than-2-mile downhill, which is followed by a level 1+-mile run to get to the finish. The run is 6.2 miles, but the width of the bay at that point is “only” 4.4 miles.  (Sigh, which I know because friends with  different sports training regimens have swum across  it.)

Anyhow, I collected my finisher’s medal  and some free food (Dole must have been a sponsor; the peach and mango in coconut water is really good) and walked around the grounds, checking out the food trucks and exhibitors.  The long-sleeved event T-shirts had some of the nicest graphics I’ve seen on event T-shirts.


I then headed for the bus to get back to Annapolis. A great way to spend an early November Sunday morning.


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