Nick Bull and George Winkert got out a few weeks ago to ride Lynn Kristianson’s National Road Lite 200K Permanent. The ride, according to Lynn’s description on the RUSA Permanents page, runs from Catonsville to Middletown, Md. with detours around heavy traffic in Frederick and out to Meyersville.
Nick sent me a quick report:
George Winkert and I rode the National Road Lite permanent on October 13. It turned out to be a little longer (133 miles) and hillier (11000 feet of climbing) than expected, but as George says “You’d think I would have learned by now that nothing is ever as easy as you expect.”
Since our ride, Lynn has changed the start and end point somewhat and corrected the mileage and upped the climbing estimate a bit.
We started out in crisp fall weather, but it warmed up in a couple of hours and soon we were in shorts and short-sleeved shirts. The ride starts with a swift descent to Ellicott City and then a climb back out, and then follows roughly along the National Road for the first forty miles. Lots of up and down. Traffic was not bad, but fairly constant.
We were riding on a weekday, and there were a fair number of school buses that gave us less room than we would have liked. After the Stony Ridge Exxon, the route begins a long detour around Frederick on country roads that are sometimes very hilly, but that I prefer for their lower traffic volume. We had a nice surprise at the top of Braddock Heights, running into a fellow DC Randonneur and PBP’er, Ron Tosh, who was out training for a marathon.
The route is an out-and-back, so after lunch in Myersville, we followed the same hilly country roads back around Frederick, and then the same somewhat-trafficy National Road back to Ellicott. The traffic noise has a similar effect to riding steady cross-winds, in the sense that there is a constant noise that beats you up a bit. Toward Ellicott City, we got caught by the dark, and we had fairly heavy traffic coming out of Ellicott back up to Catonsville (I think Lynn has rerouted this to reduce traffic, though at the cost of somewhat more climbing).
All in all we had a very fun ride. Since I’d never heard of the National Road before, it was fun for me to find out a bit of history and then to go out and ride my bike on it.
Here’s Nick’s and George’s route: