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Old 07-21-09, 06:14 PM   #1
Rick Rubin
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Help me plan a MD-VA tour aug-sep

Ive got up to 13 days I can take off between my summer and fall seasons, so I'm trying to fit in a good ol bike tour. This will be my first very long distance multi day trip. Ive done a few 140mi 2-day and 200mi 3-day rides. My current intentions are to start here in Baltimore county and ride west in MD til I get to Green Ridge State Park. Camp there and continue south to Monongahela National Forest, then cut east thru Clifton Forge. and up thru Luray, Browntown, and hit a bit of Skyline Drive on the journey back up home. Total distance about 570 miles thru some serious mountain roads

I'm looking for any kind of advice anybody has to give about riding these areas, camping, and routes. Also if anybody is interested in riding also I would be much more comfortable not going solo.

Ive got a Masi Speciale Randonneur 10sp double downtube shifters brooks flyer arkel/sakaroo bags which I will probably put a triple on due to the hills.
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Old 07-22-09, 07:06 AM   #2
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This guy is our local bike tour route expert: http://www.bikely.com/listpaths/by/WymnPrkr31
If you can't find what you need in there let me know and I'll send you his email address.
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Old 07-22-09, 11:03 AM   #3
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Iv Ive done a few 140mi 2-day and 200mi 3-day rides. My current intentions are to start here in Baltimore county and ride west in MD til I get to Green Ridge State Park. Camp there and continue south to Monongahela National Forest, then cut east thru Clifton Forge. and up thru Luray, Browntown, and hit a bit of Skyline Drive on the journey back up home. Total distance about 570 miles thru some serious mountain roads
Just came back from touring Monongahela for a 4 day tour. It was to be 5 days but had my arse kicked. Some of the steepest grades I've ever been on. I was fully loaded self-supported and had to stop on every serious climb often more than once. I, like you, have done some really long days rides and tours(***/C&O in just over 3 days, C&O in 1 day) and I can tell you the Monon was way harder. A lot of the roads were dirt and the paved roads were full of hauling logging trucks. My longest day in the saddle was almost 80 miles but I was toast at the end. The other days never made it to 50 miles per day. I am writing up a trip report for CGOAB. I'll post it here for you to check. Then ask me anything you want. I'm not saying not to ride there, awesome scenery, but know where to ride.
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Old 07-22-09, 12:10 PM   #4
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Just came back from touring Monongahela for a 4 day tour. It was to be 5 days but had my arse kicked. Some of the steepest grades I've ever been on. I was fully loaded self-supported and had to stop on every serious climb often more than once. I, like you, have done some really long days rides and tours(***/C&O in just over 3 days, C&O in 1 day) and I can tell you the Monon was way harder. A lot of the roads were dirt and the paved roads were full of hauling logging trucks. My longest day in the saddle was almost 80 miles but I was toast at the end. The other days never made it to 50 miles per day. I am writing up a trip report for CGOAB. I'll post it here for you to check. Then ask me anything you want. I'm not saying not to ride there, awesome scenery, but know where to ride.
I am anxious to see your trip report. That has to be some of the hilliest country in the US.
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Old 07-23-09, 06:29 AM   #5
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OK so i have decided to most definately put a triple on the bike if not also an easier cassette and r.der. My route decisions have mainly been just looking at a map and going for the green blotches. Monongahela looks great and my plans are not to ride thru the park but just along the edge a lil bit and camp in there maybe a night or two.

I'm probably gonna reevaluate the route because I want to have a few days in there to camp out and relax. My other initial plan was maybe to ride up to Allegheny Nat. Forest and camp out there a bit, and I'm considering that again. I spoke with my father last night about riding and he said when he was my age he took his bike out from Warren, PA and rode a few days around the northern side of the park. Sounded cool but thats also almost a 600 mile ride...
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Old 07-23-09, 06:34 AM   #6
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a triple is pretty much necessary. My brother and I did some of Skyline Drive back in the spring. I remember lots of long, steep climbs
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Old 07-23-09, 06:55 AM   #7
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a triple is pretty much necessary. My brother and I did some of Skyline Drive back in the spring. I remember lots of long, steep climbs
I guess it depends on where you go in/near Monongahela, but Skyline Drive is relatively flat compared to some of the roads in and around Monongahela. Not minimizing the fact that there is plenty of climbing on Skyline Drive, but some of the roads in and around Monongahela are super steep.
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Old 07-24-09, 02:35 AM   #8
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Skyline Drive hardly ever gets above 6%. Climbing up onto it (or the Blue Ridge Parkway) is another story

That's not to say a triple wouldn't be welcome with a fully-loaded touring bike. I just use a compact double on my road bike on these roads.
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Old 07-24-09, 07:07 AM   #9
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I am anxious to see your trip report. That has to be some of the hilliest country in the US.
I was going to post most of it last night but couldn't load my images from photobucket. My first CGOAB journal so big learning curve. Try again tonight or this weekend.

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OK so i have decided to most definately put a triple on the bike if not also an easier cassette and r.der. My route decisions have mainly been just looking at a map and going for the green blotches. Monongahela looks great and my plans are not to ride thru the park but just along the edge a lil bit and camp in there maybe a night or two.
I spent a lot of time in 28-34. Even that was too hard on the last day. If you want to skirt the Monon you might stick to Rt28 from Petersburg to Spruce Knob. It is flat BUT has trucks. W.Va trucks drive fast on small roads and you have no shoulder. Rt 28 runs past Smoke Hole Caverns, Seneca Rocks, Spruce Knob(huge climb to see this) and Germany Valley(detour to this area to get off Rt28/rt33 which get busy in this area). Rt 28 and Rt 33 merge and when they do traffic volume seriously increases so Germany Valley is a good detour.
Another option, though I've never biked it, is the new Rt 55 highway. When they built this monstrosity of a freeway they threw a bone to the green movement by making a "bike lane" along this road. The lane is just the shoulder along 55 but it is huge and nicely paved. 55 has little traffic so I would consider riding this out there. The old 55 was winding, very hilly. The new 55 removed all the hilltops and made a relatively straight and flat(ISH) road. Still hilly. You should be able to bike from Rt 55 to 28 south through Petersburg along the Monon towards Bartow and the Greenbrier River trail if you want.
West Virginia topography makes for decent routes north and south through the valleys. Unfortunately this is where the traffic flows. Every time you go east-west you cross mnt ranges. Unfortunately this is very steep. The flattest routes east-west are the major roads Rt33 but EVERYONE told me not to ride them, so I didn't. Rt 219 wasn't too bad, at least on Sunday. That is something else to keep in mind. Ride major roads on weekends when the truckers are off.
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Old 08-20-09, 06:53 AM   #10
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OK so my plans have certainly changed a bit. Instead of going for the all-out balls to the wall mega ride that would definately exhaust me, I decided to cut down on the mileage and stick to camping and relaxing a bit more. My destinations now are Catoctin, Green Ridge, Rocky Gap, and back over the course of a week or so. I work at a high ropes course so I'm tired and sore all the time anyway, why would I want to spend a whole tour working my rear end off too?
Any tips for these parks?
Any rock climbing along the way?
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Old 08-20-09, 06:42 PM   #11
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sounds like a great trip. i'd love to hear the route you end up taking. no more vacation time this year, but i'd love to do that kind of trip next year.
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