East Shore Flex Ride. 27.3miles @ 13.5 mph
Chris Wright (L), Ken Frohnert, Mike Loomis, Howard Davison, Cindy Gorski, Bonnie Iorfido, Dave Kurth, Scott Barber (S).
A simple winter ride with a touch of adventure.
8 riders met at West Pennsboro Park for what would be the last “east shore flex” ride to take place on the West Shore. From now on, the "flex" rides will be announced and reported based on their actual departure location. Flex rides originating from the East Shore will be called East Shore Flex and flex rides originating from the West Shore will be called West Shore Flex. Of course this only applies to the flex rides. There are separate email distribution lists for the East Shore Flex and West Shore Flex; sign up for both if you'd like to ride on both shores!
We welcomed new HBC member Scott Barber for his first official HBC group ride. Scott is a knowledgeable and experienced cyclist and had no problem fitting right in with our group. He even volunteered to do Sweep duties and did an excellent job at that. Welcome Scott!
Today’s route was an opposite-direction variant of the Opossum Lake circuit used for the 3 Creek Century. We headed south on Springview Rd and Stonehouse Rd, enjoying the farms in winter repose and very light traffic. At Rte 174 we turned west and then north on Mt. Rock Rd, enjoying a 9 mile run that was mostly flat or downhill. Varying from the 3 Creek route, we turned east on Creek Rd and enjoyed a scenic cruise along the Conodoguinet before crossing north towards Mt. Zion Rd.
The diversion onto Creek Rd required us to take Westlake Drive to approach Opossum Lake from the west side. Unfortunately, we were greeted by signs of “Private Drive” and a healthy dose of gravel at the remote Westlake Drive intersection. We knew we were within a 1/2 mile of the lake so after a bit of quality map analysis by Mike Loomis and application of local expertise by Cindy Gorski, we chose to stay on Mt Zion Rd and approach Opossum Lake from the east side. As we moved on we went down a very steep hill with a blind corner at the bottom and I recall thinking “this isn’t right…Opossum Lake is uphill from here, not downhill”.
We turned the corner and were right in front of the Opossum Lake spillway, and there was nowhere to go but up.
The suddenness of the corner and steepness of the hill had us all stopped in our tracks but we dug in. Howard, Bonnie, Scott, Cindy, and Dave put on an impressive display of extreme hill climbing. The rest of us had a lot of time to contemplate life on the way up. At one point I looked down at my Garmin and it read 3.2 mph and I actually thought I might fall off the bike. When I got home later and analyzed the climb, it came in with an average of 7.8% grade over about half a mile, with one portion at about 14% grade. Everyone made it in one piece and we enjoyed a good laugh at the top.
After finally getting to Opossum Lake we enjoyed a snack break and rest room stop before heading back south with smooth sailing the rest of the way. Cindy, Bonnie, and Dave had ridden into the departure site so they broke off to head back to their homes.
Thanks to all for staying together as a group and looking out for each other. Total distance was 27.3 miles at a moving pace of 13.5 mph. Elevation climb was about 1100 ft including the spillway hill. Route link attached.