Today was the annual Tour de Cookie ride in Montgomery County Maryland. This 42-mile ride is a fundraiser for The Tree House Child Assessment Center. According to its website, the Tree House “is dedicated to reducing trauma and promoting healing for child victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect.”
I met up with my frequent riding buddy Lisa and we were joined by Paris, who has a distinctive Twitter handle (@turtledub616). As the hyperlinks make clear each of us blog about our biking adventures. We are also Twitterholics so the ride involved plenty of down time to post things to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Flickr.
Before we set off, I made sure to rendevous with Shannon, the writer of one of my favorite blogs. Shannon’s blog chronicles her adventures in parenting Sprout, her toddler son. Shannon is a gifted writer and reading her blog takes me back to the days when my kids were Spouts. I highly recommend it.
I had never met Shannon before so it was a pleasure to finally so. She was volunteering as a marshal for the short ride (something like 13 miles). I also met her mother and, tada!, Sprout himself. He’s one cute little guy.
We set off under puffy white clouds. I rode Little Nellie, my Bike Friday New World Tourist. At the start I wore a vest to ward off the early morning coolness. We began in a maze of office parks in Gaithersburg before riding south into the beautiful hills south of Poolesville and west of Potomac. It took a while to get loose but just as we did we hit the first cookie stop. Yes, every so often, there was a pit stop with friendly people staffing a table festooned with an array of cookies. And they were free to the riders.
Once the temperatures warmed I took off my vest and enjoyed the perfect, dry air. Our team of twits rode the hills without complaint. Frankly I was pleasantly surprised at how the hills didn’t faze me in the least. I passed people all day long going up hill. This NEVER happens.
Our route curved back to Poolesville and eventually to Germantown and Gaithersburg. As we did, the automobile traffic intensified. Most dirvers were patient with the packs of bicyclists. Most means that some were aggressive dorks. I didn’t see any cyclists get hit and only saw two cyclists fall, one from being unable to unclip from her pedals and the other hit a curb somehow. Both were unharmed.
As I noted above the ride features cookies at pit stops. For the first 30 miles these are spaced out at five or six mile intervals. We felt obligated to stop and try the different varieties of cookies. Each stop had a different array of goodies. After about five stops, the cookie thing wore a bit thin. Economists call this the law of diminishing marginal utility. At stop seven we went into the wrealm of negative marginal utility. This had to happen eventually especially in light of the fact that the last 12 miles had a cookie stop every two miles or so. You can only eat so many cookies you know. Really. I never thought I’d write those words. I suppose I could have eaten a few more but they ran out of insulin after the seventh stop.
The last 12 miles of the ride were on Rockvilles Millenium Trail. While I am sure this is a nifty way to run errands and get around Rockville for everyday purposes, I could have done without this section of the ride. There are so many driveways and intersections to deal with that it quickly became a pain to deal with. The ride is a figure eight, the second loop of which is this trail. I am pretty sure that most riders simply cut out the last 12 miles and went to the finish which was visible at mile 29.
We finished in about five hours. I have no idea how much riding time was involved but we probably spent over an hour talking and tweeting at various stops along the route. I am especially glad to have done this ride because I haven’t ridden on some of the roads south of Poolesville in ages and now I am itching to go back. The ride also proved to be a good test of my fitness for the Pittsburgh to DC ride I am doing in a week. I’d say I am ready to roll!
Finally, I am grateful for the splendid weather, the enthusiasm of the many volunteers who pulled this event together, the company of three friends, and, of course, the cookies.