There are four or five large group club or charity rides I do each year that have all been cancelled this year. Through the magic of RideWithGPS storage of their route files, I’ve been able to ride most of them on my own. This past Saturday we had temps in high 60s with bright sunshine, and I drove out to Easton on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and rode the route of the Talbot Special Riders/Positive Strides metric century ride.
Like most rides on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, this ride is tabletop flat – less than 400 feet of climbing over 62 miles! Mostly very low traffic rural roads and many views of the Choptank River. These days most of the traffic seemed to be FedEx and Amazon delivery vans!
The start is an a middle school which luckily did have port-a-potties available. The first snack stop is usually at the “Windy Hill” launch ramp on the Choptank River, which is the Eastern-most point of the ride. The group ride is normally in April and typical weather then is windy, with the winds coming from the west, meaning this turn around is the start of head winds. As you can see from the mirror-like surface of the Choptank, wind was not an issue on this ride.
The town park in Trappe MD usually a really well stocked rest stop at the 31 mile mark – I emptied my first water bottle and ate the snacks I carried and enjoyed the sunshine and the view of the church next to the park.
From there the route loops between Island Creek and La Trappe Creek through woods and past long tree-lined driveways leading to large estates on the rivers. I had to dodge three deer that decided to run alongside me in the woods and take turns cutting in front of me to cross the road.
The route then heads north and east to the scenic small town of Oxford on the Tred Avon River. The reduction in tourism has slowed things down but the Robert Morris Inn was still open with a number of folks lunching on the porch.
You can extend this ride by taking the Oxford-Bellevue ferry across the Tred Avon and then looping through St. Michaels to get back to Easton, but this year the ferry closed in mid-October and will reopen in April.
A scenic loop through the residential side of Oxford and then 8 miles of wide shoulder riding back to my car. There were many cyclists out on the route by then, but no Maryland crab soup and homemade cookies at the finish! I doubt the curse of 2020 will be fully over by April 2021, but I hope sometime next year this is back as a group ride.