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Old 09-09-07, 10:48 AM   #1
bobby c
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Civil War Century....

Yesterday was the annual Civil War Century - about 1,400 bikers ride in and around several Civil War battlefields (OK, that would be the War of Northern Aggression or the War Between the States for those of you in the South). Many options, I think there were 6 different rides. The century was 104 miles - luckily there were plenty of rest stops with food, water and mechanics. I rode with a group of 3 other friends, one of whom was pretty slow. So it was an easy pace, though he did leave most of the rest stops early so we could go faster. 1st rest stop was at a memorial to the Battle of South Mountain (or Battle of Boonsboro Gap) - a pivotal battle to led directly to the bloody day at Antietam. From there it was off to Antietam (or Sharpsburg), the site of the single bloodiest battle in in American history (over 23,000 causalities). We didn't actually ride through the battlefield site (that would be more difficult than in Gettysburg) but passing by the National Cemetery and crossing over Antietam Creek did give me pause.

From there it was a trip north and a well deserved rest stop. After leaving the rest stop, I broke a spoke on my rear Ksyrium wheel (it's a bladed spoke). I limped back to the rest stop and a mechanic did the best he could - the wheel was way out of true but he got it back to where it wasn't hitting the brake pad too bad. I tried not to hammer too much after that for fear of completely destroying the wheel. From there we headed north and crossed the Mason-Dixon line into Pennsylvania.

At the 3rd rest stop a friend (non-biker who lives in the area) met us with ice, frozen Snickers bars, good Gatorade (not the mixed dreck) - what a treat. This friend also surprised my wife at the same rest stop earlier (she was on the metric century). It was a hot day - at least 95, some said it got to 100. Having water and multiple stops made it more tolerable.

From that stop it was off to Gettysburg. This was a much larger battlefield with roads going through many sections. I took several pictures, though I've been here before, it still leaves me in awe (as does Antietam). The sight of Little Round Top gave me chills, I don't know if it was dehydration or the thought (or ghosts) of what happened there. Lots of foolishness happened during the war by some very brave people.

From there it was a trip back to the starting point - for ice cream, sandwiches, live music and a general collapse. A great time - unfortunately a bit hotter than it should be but well worth it. Now if I can only find some flat spokes....

Some pictures:

Nice downhill:


Old roadside cemetery:


Covered bridge:


Gettysburg monument (probably one of thousands):


Another:


Little Roundtop in the distance:


Team Depleted at a rest stop (that's me in my Pantani maglia rosa):
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Old 09-09-07, 11:06 AM   #2
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My silly jokes about the name of the ride aside, it looks like a beautiful ride with the added bonus of going through so many historic and thought provoking sites. I'd like to do that one someday.
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Old 09-09-07, 11:34 AM   #3
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Congratulations and thanks for sharing the stirring photos of the countryside.
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Old 09-09-07, 11:59 AM   #4
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Nice pics, looks like a great ride.
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Old 09-09-07, 05:13 PM   #5
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Wow-really love the pictures and the report. Looks like a fantastic ride. Really sorry to hear about the broken spoke-just bad luck. I definitely have to schedule around the event next year. Hopefully it will be 10-15 degrees cooler!
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Old 09-09-07, 07:21 PM   #6
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Great report and congrats on the ride.
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Old 09-09-07, 07:34 PM   #7
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Great pix. Great report. One of these days we've got to hook up for a ride.
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Old 09-09-07, 07:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobby c View Post
From there it was off to Antietam (or Sharpsburg), the site of the single bloodiest battle in in American history (over 23,000 causalities).
Check out this link:http://www.civilwarhome.com/Battles.htm

Antietam was the worst single day - not the worst. Amazing and very tragic numbers.

But - on the bright side, that is sure some beautiful country to ride.

I rode the cannon ball century near Fredricksburg about 10 years ago. Also a great ride.
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Old 09-10-07, 06:50 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by bobby c View Post
From there it was off to Antietam (or Sharpsburg), the site of the single bloodiest battle in in American history (over 23,000 causalities). We didn't actually ride through the battlefield site (that would be more difficult than in Gettysburg) but passing by the National Cemetery and crossing over Antietam Creek did give me pause.
Why would riding through Antietam be difficult? I cycled through it last year and I remember one steep hill, but otherwise it was not bad. Or would it be emotionally difficult? The site touched me, (though I am not American), but a bike is an excellent way to experience it.
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Old 09-10-07, 06:56 AM   #10
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I want to go! I love that area of the country. Great report. Wonderful pictures.
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Old 09-10-07, 07:00 AM   #11
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Great pics and ride report! I'll have to do that one, but obviously not for time- I'd be stopping all over the place just to take in the scenery and consider the history. Thanks for posting, and sorry about your spoke problem.

Edit: I might have missed this if someone posted it previously, but is there a way to make sure this ride is announced in the Northeast Forum?
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Old 09-10-07, 07:03 AM   #12
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I want to go! I love that area of the country. Great report. Wonderful pictures.
This might be an excellent event to target meeting a number of other 50+ cyclists. Great event, good location, provides several ride options plus folks can spend time doing touring of the area on their own. Probably need to start planning for next year!!!
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Old 09-10-07, 07:24 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Brown View Post
Why would riding through Antietam be difficult? I cycled through it last year and I remember one steep hill, but otherwise it was not bad. Or would it be emotionally difficult? The site touched me, (though I am not American), but a bike is an excellent way to experience it.
Ken - I think the issue is that it would be more difficult to get 1,500 bikes through there - I'm just guessing that the park service didn't want that. The fact we didn't ride through the battlefield was my only disappointment - I'm planning on a ride through there in the near future (sometime this fall if anyone is interested). I remember seeing someone's route through the area - I think it was 80 miles although you can add more or less easily. An option would be just to take the same route as the century but just add a couple of miles through the park.

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Great pics and ride report! I'll have to do that one, but obviously not for time- I'd be stopping all over the place just to take in the scenery and consider the history. Thanks for posting, and sorry about your spoke problem.

Edit: I might have missed this if someone posted it previously, but is there a way to make sure this ride is announced in the Northeast Forum?
I wasn't the only one stopping for the occasional picture, though most people were hammering. It does give you pause thinking of all those men marching through the mountains with next to no food, poor clothing and bad shoes with no clear end in sight.

Good idea about announcing it in the NE forum, there was a discussion about it there, but it was in another thread: Where are the MD peoples

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This might be an excellent event to target meeting a number of other 50+ cyclists. Great event, good location, provides several ride options plus folks can spend time doing touring of the area on their own. Probably need to start planning for next year!!!
Excellent idea! Yes, there are all sorts of options so it can meet nearly everyone's needs. Once nice thing is the century had a cut-off at around mile 67. There were a lot of overheated people that bailed out at this point - the last seven miles were downhill back to the event.

I saw lots of people biking to the event from inns and motels in Thurmont so I think plenty of people come from afar. Like Joe says, there's lots of individual touring - if you've never done a tour of Antietam or Gettysburg, it is well worth it. Sunday would be a perfect day for such events.

I think it is usually the 2nd Saturday in September, the average temp is around 80 degrees. This year was an anomaly, but beautiful all the same.
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Old 09-10-07, 08:01 AM   #14
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This might be an excellent event to target meeting a number of other 50+ cyclists. Great event, good location, provides several ride options plus folks can spend time doing touring of the area on their own. Probably need to start planning for next year!!!
Sounds like a winner to me. Someone be sure to bring this up in January when we all have new calendars to mark up.
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Old 09-10-07, 09:33 AM   #15
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I dunno - mixing rebs w/ yankees - might be more trouble brewing. I straddle the Mason-Dixon Line so I'm caught in the middle. Maybe I can tie a white flag to my bike.....
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Old 09-10-07, 12:59 PM   #16
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This might be an excellent event to target meeting a number of other 50+ cyclists. Great event, good location, provides several ride options plus folks can spend time doing touring of the area on their own. Probably need to start planning for next year!!!
That would be fun! And for those who want to hang around until Sunday, we can do a monument tour of DC. (Caveat: This route isn't quite up to date; bikes aren't allowed in Arlington Cemetery, but there's a bike path to the Iwo Jima Memorial. I haven't figured out how to get to the Air Force Memorial by bike yet.)
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