Cycling the C&O and GAP Trails: Conclusion

Most of my friends and family know that I had to abandon my trip because of a quad strain. Having to give up on my ride really rocked my self image. That probably sounds dumb to anybody that’s not me but for the past several years a core part of my identity has been as a cycle tourist. I imagine it’s similar to a hipster who’s beard has fallen out.

I didn’t train for this ride. I knew that my milage on the bike was way down since we moved a lot closer to the office but I thought that once I got out there on the trail that I could just ride myself into shape like I was some sort of TdF pro.

The trail was harder than I was expecting and I set my daily milage goals too high. I knew the trail was an unpaved trail but I thought it would be more compact than it actually was. It turned out to be muddy during the time I was trying to make my trip so the going was harder than I was expecting.

So if you combine the fact that I didn’t train with a harder than expected trail, you end up with a quad injury because I was trying to push too hard to meet my daily milage goals.

I’m undecided if I’m going to try the trail again. I hate the idea that I let this trail beat me so we’ll see.

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1 thought on “Cycling the C&O and GAP Trails: Conclusion

  1. Hey Man, I read your full write-up of your Natchez Trace trip since I plan on riding that this fall, then wandered over here since I completed this ride back in 2015. I did my GAP-C&O ride in late May 2014 and trust me when I tell you that I COMPLETELY relate to the conditions you experienced. I went the other direction…living in Central VA I rented a car from Richmond to Pittsburgh, then rode all the way back to Richmond. Those 11 days are very bittersweet in my memory, as the first 3 days were on the GAP (fantastic trail) and the weather was positively magnificent. Once I got to Cumberland, things took a turn and a massive weather system moved in and descended on the Potomac River Valley for 5 consecutive days. I rode in rain through mud for 4 straight days, and it really never let up. The towpath was a soupy mess and it was hard to muster the motivation to keep rolling. If I’d experienced an injury as you did, there is no way I would have continued. It took every ounce of inspiration I could draw upon to forge ahead as it was. If you ever do decide to tackle these trails again, perhaps start in Pitt and roll the GAP for the first few days. It has a crushed limestone surface and it one of the better rails to trails I’ve ridden. Keep rolling, and thanks for sharing your stories. ~Michael

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