Cycling the C&O and GAP Trails (Reloaded): Day 5 Rockwood to Cedar Creek

Todays Distance: 69.6 miles
Total Distance: 306.2 miles

Day 5 – CODE NAME: Animal

Today was really a great day. I can’t really explain how nice the GAP is after riding on the C&O. Silky, smooth as butter… so nice. I even aired my tires up to road levels at lunch time and boy did the miles just click by.

Today at lunch time, I figured out my trail name: Animal. I was standing near the path in Ohiopyle (Ohiowhat??!?), about ready to set off on the rest of my day when a lady said “your legend precedes you. It’s nice to meet you”. I’m like “what??” Let me back up. The past few days, I’ve been passing these guys that were heading in the same direction. They’d pass me, I’d pass them, we’d have a nice friendly chat while doing so, etc. It turns out, they actually left DC on Saturday while I left on Sunday. Most of the time with these guys was spent yesterday, on the ascent up from Cumberland to the contentitnal divide. I’m a bad climber in cycling terms because I’m big but I just keep turning over the pedals, complaining and grumbling but just click, click, click… one pedal stroke closer every second. So we kept passing each other on the climb. I’d pass, then they’d pass. I’m running a fully loaded touring bicycle while these guys were credit card touring (i.e., staying in motels and eating out most meals). So imagine, here is a big burly, tattooed, bearded dude with fully loading touring rig climbin up the mountain with you while you have a couple bags only. I dunno… I don’t think I’m some sort of monster cyclist but they apparently thought so because they were talking to this lady who spoke to me in Ohiopyle. They’d told her “you can’t miss him, he’s a big guy with a beard and a fully loaded touring bike. The guy’s an animal.

I got a big kick out of it. 😉

The other interesting thing that happened to me today was that I ran across this guy pulling the cart pictured below. Like, imagine you’re riding your bicycle in the woods and it’s been a while since you’ve seen another living soul then this. At first, I thought it was some guy trying to run a pot stand in the woods. Turns out, he’s pulling the thing to Washington DC to protest pot being illegal or whatever. If you notice in the rest of the photos at the bottom, his cart is just a few inches too wide to fit through the baracades and he was so mad. He was talking about overthrowing the government for violating his rights of freedom of movement and he was starting a revolution right there; I suppose he was using Twitter. At this point, I asked if I could take photos of his trailer then promptly set off. So strange.

C&O Day 5

38 miles to Pittsburgh so that means I don’t have to feel rushed to get going in the morning. I might actually sleep in a little bit later than I have been on my trip. Yay!


C&O Day 5

C&O Day 5

C&O Day 5

C&O Day 5

C&O Day 5

C&O Day 5

C&O Day 5

C&O Day 5

C&O Day 5

C&O Day 5

 

Cycling the C&O and GAP Trails (Reloaded): Day 4 Cumberland to Rockwood

Todays Distance: 45.7 miles
Total Distance 238.6 miles

Day 4 – Fuck hills. I knew today was going to be a lot of climbing but seriously, fuck hills. The first part of the day turned out to be about 22 miles of steady climbing. I think I was averaging between 6-8 mph during that section.

I did probably see some of the prettiest scenery of the trip though so that was cool. Additionally, the GAP trail is much better than the C&O… it’s just much nicer to pedal on. It’s this compact, fine gravel stuff; not mud like the C&O.

Tonight’s camp ground is husky haven in Rockwood, PA. The camp ground itself isn’t so bad – I just wish the shower houses were closer. You have to basically bike 3/4th of a mile, across the river to use the shower house; not ideal IMO.

Tomorrow is 59 miles to Perryopolis, PA.

C&O Day 4

C&O Day 4

C&O Day 4

C&O Day 4

C&O Day 4

C&O Day 4

C&O Day 4

C&O Day 4

 

 

Cycling the C&O and GAP Trails (Reloaded): Day 3 Hancock to Cumberland

Todays Distance: 65.2 miles
Total Distance 192.9 miles

Day 3 – I dominated myself. Well, I’ve now gone further than I did last year. It feels pretty good to just go over that mental hump. According to Strava, I’m way faster than last year too.

Today was mostly uneventful. Saw some deer, squirrels, rabbits, turkeys, turtles, snakes and lots of cyclists.

At one point later in the afternoon, I was feeling really tired. I was really struggling to turn the pedals over, even in the lowest gear. For a while, I just thought I was just getitng super tired… until I took my headphones out so that I could hear the rubbing come from the front. It turns out, that mud from the muddy trail had built up in the front fender and was really compacted in there. I pulled over, used my little screwdriver things from my multitool and got it all cleared out. The rest of the miles sailed right along… I mean other than a tender booty and hands. Owie.

Tonight’s camp is at the YMCA in Cumberland. $12 to camp in the field across the street and to use the showers. Sweet deal IMO.

Tomorrow is a relatively short day of 44 miles but it’s also the hardest climbing day of the trip. Wish me luck as I’m not very good at going up.. I’m much better at going down. B)

C&O Day 3

C&O Day 3

C&O Day 3

C&O Day 3

C&O Day 3

C&O Day 3

C&O Day 3

Cycling the C&O and GAP Trails (Reloaded): Day 2 Brunswick to Hancock

Todays Distance – 72 miles
Total Distance – 127.7 miles

Day 2 – Butt rope and technical problems.

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I usually start my days off by FaceTiming with Jen for the first bit of my ride; today was no different. The problem with being the first rider out of camp is that you get to be the person clearing the spider webs from the trail. Anybody who knows me knows that spiders kind of freak me out. So, I’m riding along and hit the first web… I do that flailing thing that people do when they run into spider webs, trying desperately to knock the spider off my head. Jen of course thinks this is very funny and is laughing hysterically over FaceTime. 😀

So anyhoo quick summary because I’m exhausted – will flesh this out more when I have time.

Today was a much harder day than yesterday. Not just the longer distance but the riding part seemed harder. I went 40 miles before breaking for lunch in Williamsburg.

After lunch, it was 30 more miles to the camp site which was supposed to be the camp shelter thing that C&O Bicycle Shop has. Unfortunately, I arrived late so ended up getting a room. Finally, my stupid iphone cable stopped working so my phone died about 5 miles short of finishing. I picked up a cheapie from an Exxon that’s working fine so far.

Photos from today are here.

Tomorrow’s destination is Cumberland MD which is only 60 miles. I’ll pass the spot where I quit my ride last year so wish me luck.

Cycling the C&O and GAP Trails (Reloaded): Day 1 DC – Brunswick Family Campground

Today’s Distance – 55.7 miles
Total Distance 55.7 miles

Day 1 – No butt stuff. That is, I forgot to pack my chamois cream. For those who are uninitiated in the ways of cyclists who ride their bicycles for long periods of time at once, the cream helps to prevent saddle sores and abrasions in general down in the nether regions. As you can imagine it’s NOT GOOD to forget this piece of gear. I’m pretty stunned that I forgot it if I’m honest as I had 3 dang lists to keep me straight. I was planning to call ahead to a bike shop near my camp site to find a replacement but at lunch, I ran into a couple cycle tourists who were finishing their tour today and they offered to give me theirs after hearing my tale of woe and need to find a bicycle shop. Yay kindness of strangers!!

Photos from Day 1 of my 2016 bike trip.

The trail was as muddy as I was expecting honestly and the conditions were close to what they were last year. I knew fully what to expect though so having the appropriate expectations set helps.

Photos from Day 1 of my 2016 bike trip.

Really, the only other notable thing that happened today was that I finished the ride 1.5 hours faster than last years. Part of it was that I wasn’t stopping as often to look at things (been there, done that last year). I feel like most of it was that I’m in better shape this year than last – the ride certainly felt easier today than I remember from last year.

The plan for tomorrow is 70 miles – it’ll be the longest ride of this trip.

The camp site tonight is near a train transfer area so there’s lots of train noises and stuff happening. I brought ear plugs.

 

Photos from Day 1 of my 2016 bike trip.

Photos from Day 1 of my 2016 bike trip.

Photos from Day 1 of my 2016 bike trip.

Cycling the C&O and GAP Trails (Reloaded): Day 0 – DC

Editors Note: This post was written on Saturday Oct 1st but post Sunday Oct 2nd.

Day 0. I’m sitting in my room in Washington DC. I’ve shipped my traveling bags ahead, secured Tank Bicycle and I’m about ready to get things packed up.

I used a Lyft to get over to BicycleSPACE to pick up Tank Bicycle then I just rode the short ride back to the hotel. The route takes you right through a lot of the big sites in DC like the Washington monument and the Whitehouse etc… it’s pretty nice.

Rode right by this on my way back to the hotel after picking up Tank Bicycle!

After that my brother and his wife came to take me to lunch and shuttle me around to Target and Dicks to pick up a few odds and ends that I needed. It was super nice being able to visit with them for a bit.

Flying is much better than riding the bus and the plane ticket was only $113 to get myself here 1 way. That’s a solid win in my book. The North Face basecamp duffle held all my camping and biking gear just fine. I checked it and everything showed up on the other side in perfect condition.

I gave myself a whole day of being in DC, to get things gathered up and ready and it’s been real nice not having to rush around.

I think I’ll be using this basic template for all future bicycle trips. Fly, use my duffle to carry my stuff, ship the bike ahead and give myself plenty of time in the starting city to not feel rushed.

It’s been raining the last 3-4 days in DC so I’m expecting the C&O Trail to be muddy again this year. Such is life but I’m ready for it.

Cycling the C&O and GAP Trails (Reloaded): Pre-trip anxiety

As I type this, I leave out on my trip tomorrow night. I’ve heard from BicycleSPACE in DC that my bike has arrived and is ready for me to pick it up on Saturday. I have plane ticket in hand. I have a motel reservation in DC. I’ve test packed my new duffle like 5 times. I have 3 lists I’m using to try to keep myself straight: Pre-Trip To-DO, Important things not to forget and DC To-Do. The lists help my brain be at ease.

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At this point I’m re-reading my own journal entries from my previous trips, especially last years entries so I can be better prepared. I think I’ve done everything I can do to be prepared and to feel prepared.

Maybe I should just test pack my bag one more time and go over my lists again to make sure I’m not forgetting anything though….

Re: Here’s what Donald Trump promised in his economic speech – Business Insider

Trump said that lifting restrictions on energy production, which are in place for environmental protection, would increase GDP “by more than $100 billion per year” and add 500,000 jobs.

Source: Here’s what Donald Trump promised in his economic speech – Business Insider

This is where capitalism fails. The quest for profits at the expense of having a habitable earth seems stupid and short sighted.

Re: N.C.A.A. Moves Championship Events From North Carolina, Citing Anti-Gay-Rights Law – The New York Times

But a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Republican Party, Kami Mueller, described the decision as “so absurd it’s almost comical.”

“I wish the N.C.A.A. was this concerned about the women who were raped at Baylor,” Ms. Mueller said in a statement, referring to a recent scandal involving Baylor University’s football program. “Perhaps the N.C.A.A. should stop with their political peacocking — and instead focus their energies on making sure our nation’s collegiate athletes are safe, both on and off the field.”

Source: N.C.A.A. Moves Championship Events From North Carolina, Citing Anti-Gay-Rights Law – The New York Times


What a stupid, backwards ass thing to say. It’s a bad comparison because Texas doesn’t have laws making it harder to prosecute rapists you stupid fucking fucks. Do better Republicans.

My ideas on Star Trek

Anybody who knows me, knows that I’m a huge Star Trek fan. I watched most of TNG when it aired and re-watched all seven seasons last summer. I then watched all the TNG movies. This summer, I watched all seven seasons of Voyager and enjoyed it immensely.  Currently, I’m watching DS9 and am in season 3.

I love Star Trek but as a nerd I believe the Federation should immediately start implementing these changes to their SOP.

Implement Drones

MkWyu

Holy fuck you guys, the idea that a ship would send down THE ENTIRE SENIOR STAFF on an away mission is just completely and utterly ridiculous. I know it makes for good TV but why not send down some advanced drones? All the people do is stand around with stupid tricorders anyway. Build tricorders right into the drones and beam the drones down. Beam 10 drones down! Have different types of drones and do different types of things! Once the drones have done their thing, send down the red shirts in power armor!

Implement Power Armor

MJOLNIR_Recon

I know the Federation is peaceful and has a mission of exploration and cooperation but there’s lots of races in space that are not. They want to fight you and take your shit. I’ve seen many episodes across all three series of Star Trek where red shirts are fighting against alien invaders or fighting on a planet or fighting on an alien ship with their basic little uniforms and phase rifles. Imagine being able to have those encounters in tactical power armor, all interfaced and connected with it’s own AI built in, aka Halo. You could do all sorts of interesting stuff too, like implement site to site transporters directly into the suits. Fighting against Borg drones while wearing tactical power armor would make a big difference!

Improve Ship AI

2a7e7a4043bbd72202b3cf4a9fada71cThere are several episodes in both TNG and Voyager where the biologicals were completely incapacitated for some reason or another. If it weren’t for characters like Data or the Holo Doctor, the ships would have been lost or destroyed completely. Imagine if the ship’s computer had an upgraded AI so that the ship could act in place of Data or the Holo Doctor to save itself and the crew from annihilation.

Develop Actual War Ships

USS_Defiant_firing_phaser_cannonsAgain, I know that the Federations mission is one of exploration and peace but many races are war like. The Federation made some progress by the Defiant class ships but it had some flaws. Finish development and mass produce the things. Call them “escort” ships if you must but I’m sure the Federation could create some great combat ships.

I sincerely believe that if the Federation implemented these changes, it would help with successfully completing their missions and make the Federation more formidable.