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  1. #1
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Civil War Century-Mini 50+ Ride

    Several 50+ Forum members rode in the Civil War Century out of Thurmont, Maryland this past Saturday- Bobby C, JimF, Neal H and myself that I'm aware of. Others??

    The ride sold out and reached its limit of 1600 riders.

    Neal drove up from NC and spent an extra day or two soaking in the history of the area. My brother and I drove up from Charlotte (about 7-8 hours with stops) on Friday and then drove back after the ride on Saturday. Needless to say that made for a really long day-getting up on Saturday at 5 am, riding a bike for 6+ hours and then driving for 8 hours.

    The century is a really nice route. They had a detour that added a couple miles this year and I had 105 miles on my Garmin. There were two distinguishable climbs with a total of about 7200 ft of climbing-with nothing very steep (about 12% for a short stretch). In fact the first climb was right at the start and was 7.5 miles long-that will wake you up instantly!

    This was a show and go ride and based on the 7.5 mile climb at the start it is probably wise to do that versus a mass start. A mass start would shut the road down for a while and create some rider safety issues. My brother and I had planned to start riding at 7:00 but a little dragging around got us on the road at 7:30.

    There was maybe a couple miles of fresh chip and seal but there had been enough vehicular traffic through it to provide a narrow path for bikes. The contractors must get paid by the chips as they really laid it on thick!!

    I'm sure the countryside was very scenic but the weather on Saturday was overcast with an occassional mist. We even hit some thick, cool fog crossing over South Mountain. In fact it got pretty damp from some wet roads and the water dripping off the tree cover. That was the one stretch I was wishing for warmer clothing other than my short sleeve jersey.

    I don't recall exactly where (maybe the first 25 miles??), but I spotted JimF on the road sporting his 50+ jersey. He was cruising along very nicely.

    The 100 mile route takes you through two battlefields-Antietam (Sharpsburg for us Southerners) and Gettysburg. I've got to plan a trip to come back and spend a few days doing those by bike and foot.

    I stopped at one rest stop and they do those as nicely as anyone. There was just about anything you'd like to have........the yellow jackets were really enjoying the apple slices and gatorade. In fact the riders would not dare get close to the apples as the yellow jackets had already laid claim to them!!

    Like other rides, it was really terrific to meet and talk to other 50+ members, especially those I had not met before.

    Here are a few pics I took:



    Here is a picture of the start/finish area. They do a nice job of setting up cover and provide sandwiches at the finish for those that would like to make one:




    One of the treats for finishers is the local ice cream. I can't eat the stuff but it looks like a lot of people enjoyed it.




    Here is JimF finishing up his 100 miler!!





  2. #2
    dolce far niente prxmid's Avatar
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    I did the metric, i though it was a well run event with a beautiful route. Look forward to doing it again next year
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon DA
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  3. #3
    Senior Member NealH's Avatar
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    Excellent write up Joe, it was a good ride and event. Very good actually, the wet tarmac and misty mountains notwithstanding. The two climbs were unique in that it appeared little planning went into the road construction. They just laid down the chip seal and asphalt as they went. This made for some lumpy and twisty terrain. It was great for climbing though.

    I rode around Gettysburg for a couple hours early on Sunday. Historians have really done their homework there and the town of Gettysburg is unique and charming in its own way. People were walking around in uniforms and other attire consistent with the Civil War era. I felt like I had stepped back in time. Before returning to Raleigh, I stopped in Thurmont and rode the 28 mile training route - which is basically a loop that includes the two climbs of the main event. My legs were pretty darn wore out by the time I finished. They get a week's break now.

    There is a lot to see around Gettysburg and Sharpsburg/Antietam. Next year I will make it a point to spend another day and take in more of the sites and history. I had planned to tour around a little on Friday afternoon but, the trip there took longer than expected due to massive congestion around DC. It took me an hour and a half just to get up 495. And 270 was crawling also. Almost 7 hours to get there (the trip home was 5 hours).

    It was nice seeing Joe, his brother, BobbyC and JimF. Hope to see more 50+'s there next year. As has been the case over the past few weeks, most of my pictures came out very blurry which is very irritating. Even ones that were taken still came out blurry. I guess I've dropped it one too many times, and really need to get another now. Anyway, here are a few that came out decent.

    Heading towards the hills one can see the cloud cover was low:


    The first rest stop. All the rest stops were under cover, and offered much in the way of food - and all very well prepared. I was suitably impressed - as were the yellow jackets:


    Passing by the Antietam cemetary:


    On the way to Gettysburg:


    Gettysburg covers a lot of territory and, is well memorialized from actual events that took there and the soldiers/regiments involved:


    More battlefield area - which basically surrounds the town of Gettysburg. We only rode through one piece of it:
    Last edited by NealH; 09-14-09 at 09:15 PM.

  4. #4
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Interesting ride. That is a lot of driving.

  5. #5
    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    Thanks for the report, Jeff! It was great to meet you and Neal.

    I had a great time despite a little drizzle at some points. I appreciated the cool weather.

    I was still getting used to my new bike, and I think it works my leg muscles in a slightly different way from my old one. I was much more fried than I would have expected. I've done much harder and longer days this year, but this one took it out of me. Hopefully I'll be adapted to the new position soon.

    I got a lot of comments on the 50+ jersey. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. I had one younger guy who I kept leap-frogging with who told me I was his "hero." I was just riding, man

    It was nice being recognized by Jeff, and chatting for a few seconds as he blew by me on a teeny tiny little upgrade

  6. #6
    Bike Curious.... bobby c's Avatar
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    Great summary Joe & Neal - it was great meeting you. Do to a late start (dag-gummed alarm clock) I missed you Jim, that won't happen again. I left almost a couple of hours late, not many people on the century route starting at 9:30 so I had the roads to myself. The downside was a steady rain up the first long climb, kept me wet all day. Should have thrown on my shoe covers and rear fender.

    Anyhow I am very much in favor of a 50+ get-together around this event. As Jim knows, there's lots of good riding around the DC area, from scenic crusing around DC monuments to more difficult gut-busters. The nice thing about the CWC is there are all sorts of rides, my wife did the metric century - not nearly the same amount of climbing and it goes through Gettysburg (but not Antietam). There's a 25 & 50 miler as well.

    Anyhow, Neal has the right idea, I'd love to do something like this next year. Make the event into a multi-day ride. Maybe Friday (before the century) a monument ride through DC or a nice ride through Antietam (you really don't see much on the Century ride). Sunday a ride through Gettysburg or something similar. The training route Neal? That's hardcore!

  7. #7
    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    I'd love to have a "local" who knows the area lead a little mini-group some time, Bobby. You're elected

  8. #8
    Bike Curious.... bobby c's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimF22003 View Post
    I'd love to have a "local" who knows the area lead a little mini-group some time, Bobby. You're elected
    After I saw the times that Neal and Joe had on the century (and hearing about yours), there'd be no leading by me - just pointing and a wave goodbye.

    Last year, when I was a stronger biker (didn't do as much this year), I really wanted to go back through Antietam and see more of the battlefield and go slower. So after the CWC I mapped out ride that I think was around 75 miles but 8,000 or so feet of climbing in and around the southern part of the CWC route. I still want to do that, it also includes Harpers Ferry, the Washington Monument State Park, some Potomac River riding, etc. Here's what that route looks like:


  9. #9
    Senior Member NealH's Avatar
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    Man, that looks like a great route Bobby. I have not been in Harpers Ferry since 1978. Sheesh, its a long drive but, if it was a good weekend and we could muster up a few riders I'd be hard pressed not to make the trip. We should keep this route in mind and maybe something will work out. Right now I think a lot of us have pretty full riding schedules this Fall. But this one is particularly appealing.

  10. #10
    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    Thanks, Bobby! I've been meaning to try to find a route to work my way up from the Leesburg area to Harpers Ferry. I've seen a few routes on mapmyride that look promising. I think it requires a ferry crossing, but I'm not sure.

    If we all can organize a little "mini-meet" around this area, I'll be sure to come.

  11. #11
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Good ride report from the ECB (East Coast Branch?) . If Bobby's ride was at a good time next summer, I might well go out of my way to get there. Very enjoyable... thanks.

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