Believe it or not, I actually survived the bike race. I know. I’m shocked, too. Since the race was being held in downtown Baltimore, I slept over Jen’s house last night so that I could get a little extra sleep and easily make it to the starting point. Just before 8:30am, Jen, Zach, Jessica, and I pedaled over to the Korean War Memorial to check in. When we received our directions (which were intimidating all on their own!), we noticed that the course was actually 24 miles—not 23, like we were anticipating.
Because bikers could choose from varying distances and Tour du Port was intended to be a relaxed ride through Baltimore, there was no official starting time. We were getting quite antsy, so we headed out on our bikes shortly after glancing over the directions.
The four of us started out at a steady pace in a single-file line, first riding through the Inner Harbor. As we rode by the Marriott Hotel, I joked that I would like to do a quick circle through the lobby, but I don’t think their guests would have appreciated my humor. I loved biking near the water, especially since the sun was still rising and it was the perfect temperature outside.
After a quick stop for some homemade banana bread, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and Gatorade, we were back on our bikes and headed towards Federal Hill. We pedaled to the top of the park and hopped off our bikes briefly to take in the expansive view.
As we made our way back to the Inner Harbor and stopped again for some water, we were astonished that we had only completed 8.5 miles. The route up until that point was relatively easy, but we were still convinced that we had biked at least 10 miles. When we begrudgingly got on our bikes again, we weren’t expecting to have 15, nonstop miles ahead of us.
Our first major hill led us to Patterson Park; runners filled the sidewalks, young children were participating in sports games, and plenty of dogs were playing fetch with their owners. I was a bit fatigued after pushing through a tough uphill, but a long downhill and nice scenery luckily followed.
I passed on the food at the rest stops, so I wasn’t surprised when I got a little hungry along the way. I snacked on a chocolate chip brownie Larabar and furiously pedaled simultaneously (see? I always have snacks). Plus, I got a little bored once the route guided us to an industrial part of Canton. Who says you can only eat out of boredom while lounging on the sofa?
As if mounds of gravel wasn’t boring enough, we then had to bike up a highway ramp. Yes, a highway ramp. I slightly feared for my life, but also thought at the same time that it would be funny if I actually got on the highway and headed towards New York. The responsible Colleen took me in the direction of the other bikers—up several more steep hills. I was tempted a few times to hop off my bike and throw it into the lane of traffic, but I refrained. Somehow, I managed to complete all 24 miles without a scratch on my elbow (or broken bones from head to toe).
When we arrived to our final destination, I was ravenous. I had a Clif Fruit Twist and Shot Bloks during our last stretch, so the pure sugar had me craving some more substantial food. Chipotle vegetarian burritos and pasta salad was being served after the race, but neither one of the lunch options was cutting it for me. Nonetheless, it was still enjoyable to sit on the grass in front of the water and bask in the sun glory of knowing that I completed 24 miles!
It was definitely challenging, but totally feasible. I really liked that the entire “race” had a laidback feel to it and that there was no sense of competition. It was also a really neat way to see the sights of Baltimore on a beautiful Sunday morning!
What did you do this weekend?
Have you ever toured your city (or town) on foot or on bike?