The morning was warm as I set out from Rockwood. After a full breakfast, showering and using the computer at the showerhouse/game room at Husky Haven, JAGraham left to get lunch for us, drop my camping gear off in my car in Cumberland, and to park her car at the Deal Trailhead. Meanwhile, I had to grind up from Rockwood to Garrett as the day grew warmer. This part of the Passage isn't very steep, but my legs found it tougher than I expected. However, once I reached Garrett the climb lessened, and soon enough I was at Salisbury Viaduct.
By the time I'd reached Keystone Viaduct, on the other side of Meyersdale....
... I'd begun to feel queasy. I don't know if it was the heat, not enough fluids, or a Clif Bar I'd had an hour before, but as I pedaled on I was very sick to my stomach. Finally as I neared Sand Patch I thought "I feel like I could throw up." And a minute later I was at the side of the trail doing just that. I stopped for a few minutes on the shadeless trail and drank long and hard from my water bottle. Once I felt better, I continued on. JAGraham had left the Deal Trailhead and ridden the mile to the Eastern Continental Divide where she could hang out in the cool underpass. I met her there, sat down for a few minutes, and drank a Diet Pepsi. JAGraham and I chatted with other cyclists hanging out in the cool, dark underpass. I soon recovered, and we were off on the "glide" portion of the ride.
The 24 miles.1600 feet of downhill was such a blur there's little to say. I've done it four times now and it's still a thrill. At the high point of the Passage:
Big Savage Tunnel:
View from the south end of Big Savage Tunnel. Welcome to Maryland!
Cyclists come out of Bordon Tunnel, just above Frostburg.
Downhill to Cumberland! The Clydesdale Express thunders down the gravel track!
Entering the Narrows, the bottleneck north of Cumberland. It was near here in June 2008 I crashed and fractured a rib when crossing wet railroad tracks. And this was the third time I'd crossed them successfully. Practice can make perfect, it seems.
Success! Daisy the Mule watches my bike Roark at mile zero of the GAP, the Western Maryland rail station.
Judy and I said goodbye. She arranged to meet her husband for dinner in Cumberland, and they would drive up to retrieve her car. I packed up my bike in my car and headed out on the five hour drive home.