Loche Raven, Gunpowder and Patapsco

We all bike: Loche Raven, Merrimans, Gunpowder and Patapsco 

Loche Raven above out our back door .

The story below is about us training for the Shenandoah 100 on the Loch Raven, Merriman trails 

Mike and Siobhan spent Friday night and we had a lovely dinner with wine overlooking the BCC golf course, what a great evening to spend together.

Saturday morning at 5 AM we were awakened into the darkness before the sun raised its golden head above the horizon, had coffee to start the engines, grabbed something to eat and made the final adjustments to the Steel steeds we would be riding for the next 8 to 9 hours. By 6 Am we saw it was going to be a glorious morning with the amber light painting the sky above us, the soft white clouds floating overhead and with the cool morning temperatures caressing our faces.  We thought the gods were happy with our adventure. We started the ride by mounting our steel steeds.  They were well maintained and were racehorses.  They were snorting fire to get out of the gate.  It was those steel steeds that would carry us for our 60-mile adventure today and our 100-mile event in a few weeks.

We left on the single tracks that meandered along the shoreline of the pristine lake. It was a mirror and ducks and geese silently glided on the glassine inland sea. They spoke to us as we slipped by warning other life forms of our early morning intrusion. We incorporated Bach’s “variation of a theme” on the trails by redoing various tracks in different ways and then did the SEAL team with other add-ons. Music was played for us from the crickets and locust that sang melodious harmonies that wafted through the forest canopy.  With all of the add-ons, it got us to 20 miles; just on the Seminary SEAL team ride.

Then we did some secret new trails that are well maintained on the way to Merrimans.  They were like a secret garden in a fantasy tale – a place where no one else knows you are going.  A perfect little spot of harmony that is filled with fictional characters and ways of life- like the hobbits in the Shire.  We could dream here in our little private secret garden. We found abandoned town of Warren along the way 

From the old town of Warren, we then did merrimans running our steeds up and down the hills and racing through the streams and narrow single tracks.  Our powerful steeds love to run free, away from the confines of the stables.  They were fearless, so we had to hold them back. Close to the end of Merrimans (probably 4 hours in) the heavens became dark and ominous.  It felt heavy and we knew the god’s were angry.  Then the rain started to gush forth as if all the water in the world was dumping on our heads.  The steel steeds were strong and looked to us for advice. The gods were testing us, but we would not relent or quit, but pushed on and our mighty steeds that blew fire and brimstone charged into the maelstrom, we and they feared not.

At times, as we sped trough the deepness of the forest, we were lost in the booming thunder and demonic clouds that swirled all around us like a ghost that consumes the living.  We could not see or hear each other and we cautiously moved forward through this war. The gods threw more at us with the explosion of a blinding lightening strike directly above us, the noise was deafening and the ground shook as the gods wanted to show us their power!  The roots, rocks and logs were very slippery and the gods were laughing.  I roared back in defiance but they did not listen!!

So now at 50 miles we entered the zone where the mind takes over and one feels no pain but rejoices for more, we were on autopilot and nothing could destroy us.  We did the SEAL team again for the second time.

As we got closer to home we roared again in defiance to the gods because of the tempest they kept throwing us, but they did not hear our cries and they sought dominance, so they gave us more of the downpour, the booming thunder and cutting wind that lashed out at us.  Large tree limbs spiked at one time directly in front of us driving deeply into the ground and mighty trees crashed to the forest floor. Demons slipped in and out of the darkness that prevailed, taunting us and trying to trip us on the logs, roots and rocks.  We all fell as they won a few battles.  The gods were now angry, so it was good we were close to the end. As we got closer to home, we realized we would be about 3 miles short of 60 miles- our goal.  So tired and in the middle of a major tempest that was consuming us, we turned around and went back into the demonic forest and did some hill work to show the gods that we would not fail (can you believe that).

When we finally came up Milldam it was ” pouring cats and dogs”.  The rain cleaned the bikes and us.  We thanked the gods for delivering us safely to our families and so ended the adventure. Well I can say it was awesome, the only negative is a slight headache and I had and two cramping episodes last night, but it was great.

Starting out to do Merrimans, it is one incredible ride and we cross some streams like the one Ken is doing below below 


The bad ass boys below 

A few shots from Patapsaco below and Gunpowder is incredible as well

Last week 2020, I was lucky enough to ride Patapsco with Mike leading and here is a great photo  below

We come upon an unbelievable place (now the Jobs Corps for Woodstock) but what was so interesting after being escorted off the property by “security” I found out it had been the oldest Jesuit Seminary in the United States starting in 1865).  Around 1995 it sold the buildings and moved to New York and then established a relationship with Georgetown University .  Again it was the oldest Jesuit University In theUnited States and here are a few photos which are not mine but are awesome 

We are lucky in Baltimore to be able ride in these incredible trails