One cyclist learned the value of a hard hat yesterday as Cycle Across Maryland prepared for today's grueling "century" ride from Winfield to Olney.
"Thank God for my helmet," said Louis Moschonas, 29, of Hampton, Va., tracing a clean crack through the headgear after a nasty spill had sent him briefly to the emergency room.
Mr. Moschonas suffered scrapes to the left side of his body after his brakes locked and he was thrown from his bike when he tried to avoid another cyclist on a steep decline from Route 17 onto Harmony Road.
He was treated at Frederick Memorial Hospital and released. He is expected to sit out today's segment but said that he plans to ride the final 45 miles, ending in College Park.
The highlight of yesterday's route was the section through Cunningham Falls State Park.
The smooth shaded road, steep hills, a waterfall and a brief climb to Thurmont made for a splendid way to leave the mountains of Western Maryland.
But many cyclists were preoccupied with the decision they'll face today: whether to take a shorter, 63-mile route or the 100-mile ride from Winfield to Olney.
Cyclists were conservative on yesterday's route in anticipation of today's demanding segment.
"We decided to keep a slow pace, getting ready for the century," said Jesse Matias, 25, of Boring.
"Just seeing all the sites, not going all out."
Some cyclists were still undecided about the extra 37-mile segment that begins at Poolesville.
"I'll find out . . . at the 30-mile mark," said Dave Arlen, 26, of Columbia.
Others had made their decision before the CAM-Tour began.
"I'm planning on doing the century. I've ridden on those parts. That's been my goal. It's a challenge within a challenge," said Lois Findlay, 30, of Kensington.
Both of today's routes lead through Woodbine, Laytonsville and Brookeville with the century route turning around at Whites Ferry.