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  1. #1
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    40 miles on the Silver Comet trail.

    Inspired by Neil and Peter's ride reports, I thought I might share my ride experience this past Saturday.

    Overview of the ride:
    http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/52733300

    The area I live in has lots of rural roads with light traffic to ride on, but there aren't any MUP in the immediate area. Having heard about the Silver Comet from a couple of friends, I decided to go check it out. One of my friends and I had been talking about a plan to ride together for the past year or so. He did live here in GA, but recently moved to NC. His wife is still here for the time being and we decided to schedule the ride for one of his weekends down. Unfortunately, he forgot to bring his shoes down and was unable to meet me at the trailhead. I was excited enough about the ride that I decided to take it on alone.

    The weather this past Saturday was a bit brisk and windy. The temps at the start of the ride were still in the high 50's even with starting around noon. The trailhead that I used is located at a shopping plaza with plenty of eateries, grocery, and even a bike shop. I was lucky not to need it, but it's good to know it is there if I did. There is a steep decent passing by a neighborhood and joining with another connector trailhead at the true start of the MUP. This was my first experience with a trail of this nature. There is a sign posted at all of the trailheads that discussed the rules and proper use of the path. Each one of the signs also had a mile marker on it as well. I stopped and familiarized myself with them, made sure I was all set and had everything I needed.

    I set off down the path riding along at a moderate pace, one that I would try to keep all day so as not to tire myself too quickly. Previous to this I had not ridden more than around the 30 mile mark. I set a goal of doing at least 40 miles, and 50 if I felt really good. Right away I could see that the design of the path by it's nature as a rail line, was going to be conducive to an easier time going long distance. The grades over the majority of the path were very gentle and allowed me to keep pretty good time. I had a headwind most of the way West that was tempered a good bit by the treeline on both sides of the pathway.

    The first several miles were quite crowded with a mix of cyclists, joggers, walkers, family with kids, you name it. It was really nice seeing the great variety of peoples, bikes, and gear. There were quite a few recumbents and trikes out. I was a bit suprized at how many people were using the path but at the same time how well traffic flowed along. There were very few spots that I had to slow down aside from the stop signs at road crossings. The path went over a couple of creeks, there were small cutouts at regular intervals that some had benches, and others were just open grass areas. Every couple of miles there was another trailhead but these became less and less as I traveled West. I was feeling really good and making good time going along. I completely neglected to stop and take pictures along the way as I was just feeling so high gliding along without the worry of automobile traffic.

    I noticed pretty quickly into the ride that calling "on the left" is very optional. With the number of people I saw with headphones in most wouldn't have heard it anyway. Some people were quite friendly and I chatted with a few riders along the ride as we paced together for a moment. I talked for quite a few minutes with a nice lady and her husband concerning her beautiful new blue three wheeled recumbent. I was quite impressed with the speed the machine accomplished after getting going. These encounters became less and less as I headed out and after a while about the only people I saw were cyclists more intent on the ride that small talk. The area turned a bit more rural and the stops became a bit less. I marvelled at a couple of pacelines that went by at blistering speeds.

    I was keeping close track of my distance, knowing that whatever I rolled off was going to have to be ridden back. I wanted to make sure that I felt good and strong for the way back as well. I had brought plenty of water in my two bottles. My mistake for this ride was the fact that I had not brought any manner of energy for the ride. I came to a pulloff that had a bench around the 20 mile mark and decided it would be a good place to pull off, rest, and gather up for the ride back. I had considered going 5 more miles but my not bringing some food tugged at me a bit. Also the fact that I hadn't ever actually ridden 40 miles in one day and that was what it was going to take to get back to the car. I stopped and sat down for a bit there in the sun and just enjoyed the weather for a moment. I met a fellow named Scott there at the pulloff who was a regular local rider and we discussed the path a bit, bikes, and whatnot while I rested. After a few minutes I felt rested, parted ways with Scott and headed back.

    The way back was quite a bit faster. The winds was at my back and I was making good headway. The first 10 miles back rolled off pretty easily. There was a bit more traffic going that same way and I had the opportunity to ride with a couple of people trying to match their pace. It was fun to play around and got a few nice comments from fellow riders for keeping up with them. By the time that I reached around 33 miles I really started to feel fatigued. My pace slacked off quite a bit and I was looking forward to being back. The last two miles of the ride are the incline back to the trailhead I had chosen due to its accessibility by car. After having gone 38 miles that hill was the last thing I wanted to see. I barely made it to the top and was really glad to see my car. I was also glad to see the Burger King that I parked next to. A couple of double stackers on the drive home helped make me feel human again.

    I am looking forward to making another trip out to the Silver Comet.
    One Foot Less

  2. #2
    I am the Snail~! Peter_C's Avatar
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    That sounds like a place I want to ride sometime~! As I tend to carry everything I can with me on all rides, food goes with me even if I never touch it. it might be a couple of Twinkies, or a piece or two of jerky, but as I do not eat in the mornings, I find I never know when I will crash without something to eat with me.

    Just curious, what was your total time with stops? How cold were you by the time you got back to your car?

    Congrats on your milestone, I've gotta say, ending the ride with a hill has gotta be tough, don't think I could have done that myself.

    Come to Ohio and try the 'towpath' sometime
    Peter_C
    http://s1103.photobucket.com/albums/g475/Peter_CC/ <-- My Photos

  3. #3
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    Peter I hope I find myself in a position to be able to do that sometime. I think it would be wonderful, the photos and story make it seem very appealing.
    All said I think my total time was just over 3 hours. I really wasn't cold in my body, but my nose was giving me fits running and stopping up. I make sure and eat specific foods on days I know I am going to be riding a good way. On the advice of a member here, I like to eat grits, oats, or potatoes, with eggs as a breakfast as well as some fruit and a bagel. Ride days I try to avoid having sausage or bacon with breakfast as it tends to haunt me as I ride with awful burps and reflux. I generally carry a bananna and a peach or apple, etc. with me to rides so I have some good natural sugars and particularly some potassium to help keep the cramps at bay.

    I am just grateful that I have the ability to ride like this at all. I know 40 miles is nothing to a lot of riders, but after all I have been through I felt like I had climbed a mountain. My immediate goals are being met, and I am having a great time doing it and to me, this time, that is what is really important.
    One Foot Less

  4. #4
    Neil_B
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    If you aren't afraid to venture north of the sweet tea line, there are any number of trails in PA and MD you could ride. I'm happy to be your guide.

    Thanks for the report on the trail. I've heard a lot about it from cyclists and a runner I know. I have a standing offer to visit Atlanta, and I should bring a bike down when I finally go.

  5. #5
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    If you do make it down this way please shoot me a message and let me know where you plan to ride one of the days while here.
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  6. #6
    I am the Snail~! Peter_C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by punkncat View Post
    Peter I hope I find myself in a position to be able to do that sometime. I think it would be wonderful, the photos and story make it seem very appealing.
    Well, in my book, that is a good number of miles, and much, much faster than I. While I would not be a good ride partner, if you should want to venture up north some time, please let me know, if life is somewhat normal here, I can offer a spare room and ride suggestions for you. While I am not sure the scenery is as pretty as it is in GA, I do think there are some great places to ride in OH
    Peter_C
    http://s1103.photobucket.com/albums/g475/Peter_CC/ <-- My Photos

  7. #7
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_C View Post
    Well, in my book, that is a good number of miles, and much, much faster than I. While I would not be a good ride partner, if you should want to venture up north some time, please let me know, if life is somewhat normal here, I can offer a spare room and ride suggestions for you. While I am not sure the scenery is as pretty as it is in GA, I do think there are some great places to ride in OH
    I think you'd be a great ride partner, Peter_C. Remember, no one on this subforum rides like anyone else. So there's no reason to compare yourself to anyone else!

  8. #8
    I am the Snail~! Peter_C's Avatar
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    I stated the above because "punkncat" did 40 miles in just over 3 hours, whereas I took closer to 9 hours to do mine just the other day So, it looks like a pretty safe bet that the term "boat anchor" could be applied here if we rode together


    /grin
    Peter_C
    http://s1103.photobucket.com/albums/g475/Peter_CC/ <-- My Photos

  9. #9
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    Giving serious consideration to a return trip tomorrow with my son.
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  10. #10
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    Sounds like a good ride. I'll have to plan a trip over to the comet myself.

  11. #11
    Member MojojoM's Avatar
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    Inspirational reading...

  12. #12
    USMC Veteran qcpmsame's Avatar
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    Great report 'Cat, my daughter told me she wants to ride the silver comet soon, she lives and works in Atlanta, now. I'll tell her about your report when she calls again.

    Bill
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

    "We can't control that we have Parkinson's, but we can control how we live with Parkinson's" Davis Phinney

  13. #13
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    Thanks y'all. I have to say it was great to see this ride report again and realize just how far I have come over this last year. I now lead a novice ride group for the club I ride with, have been doing it all summer. The last "sanctioned" ride I did a segment of the ride with over a 23 MPH average for the 3.4 mile section. I never would have thought I could be where I am now. I cannot wait to see where I am next year.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member johnread's Avatar
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    Punkncat,

    I ride Silver Comet every week and agree that it's a fantastic resource. Sounds like you started at the shopping center on East-West Connector, and this is the most crowded part of the path. I like to start at the bike shop on Floyd Road in Mableton (I think you went right past it) and ride west from there. It's much less crowded. There is another great launching point in Dallas called the Tara Drummond Park, and west from there is a great railroad trestle and 800 ft long tunnel. Congrats on your accomplishment!
    http://i1050.photobucket.com/albums/s411/pj6354/Specialized%20Crux/file-8.jpg
    Conquering the world one stroke at a time....

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    I remember when a lot of it was being built and was still dirt, i used to walk it all the time years ago, back then there was still a railroad trestle you could walk over and there were train wheels and track parts still on the sides of the trail

  16. #16
    Senior Member
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    I dont remember the tunnel, I moved before parts of it were complete, my parents live in Dallas now, and I eventually want to go up and ride the entire trail

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