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GAP - Pittsburgh to Connellsville Question

Old 02-09-20, 09:28 AM
  #1  
romanoj2248
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GAP - Pittsburgh to Connellsville Question

I want to ride the GAP from Pittsburgh to Connellsville for a no thought century ride. I plan to do it in one day. Just out and back. I've never done a century but I've ridden up to 70 miles a few times without any issue - I only stopped due to time/route constraints, not fitness. I only have one bike, a Canyon Endurace with Discs. I have 28 slicks on it right now as I only ride roads, but I know it can accommodate 32, not sure about 35. When I say I only ride roads, I've literally never ridden anything but a road/concrete.

I live in Pittsburgh, so I don't really need to pack anything other than the basics I typically bring when I go on a road ride, i.e. spare tube, pump, multi-tool, two water bottles, wallet, money, and some small energy type snacks. I plan to stop on the trail to buy extra water/food. I can also plan this for a dry week and weekend so the trail will be solid.

My main question is tire. I don't mind buying a set of 32, but would prefer to not spend money for no good reason. If I do buy a set, should they have significant tread, or can I get away with something like the Schwalbe Marathon Supreme (won't let me link to make it easier for you to look - sorry). Also, is there a special consideration that I am overlooking with a ride like this? I'm treating it like any other road ride where I park and go. For example, does the difference between a trail and road make this ride harder than a century on roads?

I really appreciate your thoughts/input. Stay safe out there.
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Old 02-09-20, 09:46 AM
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robow
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First, let me say that I think your present tires are very adequate for that part of the trail for a day ride. If you do purchase new tires, such as 32's, I would consider lighter minimal tread, knobbies not needed. Also, after having ridden thousands of miles on these type of trails, I find my average speed falls off by about 1-2 mph with the same effort so that may or may not require consideration. YMMV

Last edited by robow; 02-09-20 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 02-09-20, 11:15 AM
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Try it with what you have. If it sucks, turn around, make adjustments and try at a later date.
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Old 02-09-20, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by romanoj2248 View Post
Also, is there a special consideration that I am overlooking with a ride like this? I'm treating it like any other road ride where I park and go. For example, does the difference between a trail and road make this ride harder than a century on roads?
Riding on a non-paved surface will always take more effort than riding on pavement. If there was recent significant rainfall, the GAP surface will be softer and the pedaling effort required will be significantly greater.
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Old 02-09-20, 07:11 PM
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Your 28ís will be fine on that stretch as itís quite hard packed. A slightly lower psi will make it more comfortable. Itís a little slower than paved road - take your time and enjoy it. Better yet, ride to Ohiopyle, spend the night and ride back.
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Old 02-09-20, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by romanoj2248 View Post
I want to ride the GAP from Pittsburgh to Connellsville for a no thought century ride. I plan to do it in one day. Just out and back. I've never done a century but I've ridden up to 70 miles a few times without any issue - I only stopped due to time/route constraints, not fitness. I only have one bike, a Canyon Endurace with Discs. I have 28 slicks on it right now as I only ride roads, but I know it can accommodate 32, not sure about 35. When I say I only ride roads, I've literally never ridden anything but a road/concrete.

I live in Pittsburgh, so I don't really need to pack anything other than the basics I typically bring when I go on a road ride, i.e. spare tube, pump, multi-tool, two water bottles, wallet, money, and some small energy type snacks. I plan to stop on the trail to buy extra water/food. I can also plan this for a dry week and weekend so the trail will be solid.

My main question is tire. I don't mind buying a set of 32, but would prefer to not spend money for no good reason. If I do buy a set, should they have significant tread, or can I get away with something like the Schwalbe Marathon Supreme (won't let me link to make it easier for you to look - sorry). Also, is there a special consideration that I am overlooking with a ride like this? I'm treating it like any other road ride where I park and go. For example, does the difference between a trail and road make this ride harder than a century on roads?

I really appreciate your thoughts/input. Stay safe out there.

Its a great ride and I am sure you will enjoy it. I rode it on 28 mm tires with no problem. I ahve also ridden it on 32 mm tires and it was definatly a better ride. Whatever you decide on tires, remember you are on a gravel road, albeit a very nice one. Your rolling resistance will be higher and that will make your ride seem longer. Enjoy!
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Old 02-10-20, 05:38 AM
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My short answer is: whatever tire you like on the road will be fine on that section of the GAP if there hasn't been heavy rain the week before.

But I found it more fun on wider 32mm. I did most of that stretch on 28mm Continental inverted tread tires and hit a few muddy short muddy spots where I wished I'd put the bigger tires. The were also a number of deeper sand/gravel areas at various crossing points. All in all, a pretty small percentage of the mileage.

A few years later I did the West Newton to Connelsville stretch on a different bike with 32 mm tires but under similar conditions and I liked the ride overall better on those tires on both the normal good GAP surface and the few dodgier sections. Used 32mm every time on the GAP since but I've also moved up to 32mm on my road bike, too - better ride, fewer flats, same if not reduced rolling resistance.
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Old 02-10-20, 06:12 AM
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Round trip it will be more like 120 miles.

https://gaptrail.org/plan-a-visit/mi...evation-charts
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Old 02-10-20, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Try it with what you have. If it sucks, turn around, make adjustments and try at a later date.
That makes sense to me. As others have said, the trail will require more effort than pavement, but it can be ridden on 28's. One thing about that section of the GAP compared to other trails is the use of crushed shale rather than limestone for maintenance. Shale is more common in the area and has been used to maintain the trail surface. Shale is very smooth, soft and more slippery than limestone found on other trail systems I have ridden.

Marc
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Old 02-11-20, 08:43 AM
  #10  
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You'll see lot's of roadies on the GAP, being a fellow Yinzer I can say that you'll have a pretty good idea where you stand by the time you get to West Newton, if it seems like it's going to be too much consider it a training run, grab a bite at the cafe and head back to town. The joy of this section of the GAP is that there are lots of places to stop and ponder how far you want to go. On a side note when I do Connellsville and back I typically leave from Homestead or Boston as the trail around the city can be a bit crowded on nice days, but I'm sure you're aware of that.
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Old 02-11-20, 11:19 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by edthesped View Post
you'll have a pretty good idea where you stand by the time you get to West Newton, if it seems like it's going to be too much consider it a training run, grab a bite at the cafe and head back to town.
In September I stayed at the new campground in W. Newton and had lunch at the trailside cafť. The Greek-type salad I had was pretty darn good.
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Old 02-11-20, 12:09 PM
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Definitely a good place to grab a bite to eat.
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Old 02-11-20, 10:21 PM
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If it has rained in the past few days trail will be soft and you will be happier with a wider tire at pressure lower than what you ride on road. You will make it in 28s, but will enjoy it more in 32 or wider slicks. The Challenge Strada Bianca is a 33 MM tire that is almost a slick and is perfect for thsi trip. Though you certainly would make it on a narrower tire, go and enjoy the trip with a more optimal wider tire. It will roll faster too and you may even like it on the road more than the 28s you have now. It is a very fast tire, just ride it a bit soft on the trail. If you had te room I'd go for the 35 or 38mm Rene Herse which is what I ride mostly.

Last edited by dwmckee; 02-13-20 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 02-17-20, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
In September I stayed at the new campground in W. Newton and had lunch at the trailside cafť. The Greek-type salad I had was pretty darn good.
My 11 year old and I stayed there in July. He loved the shower. I hope they stay opened.
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Old 02-18-20, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by flyjimmy View Post
My 11 year old and I stayed there in July. He loved the shower. I hope they stay opened.
When I saw the name "Hobbit Shower" on their website I had no idea what to expect. Pretty cool.
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Old 02-18-20, 01:45 PM
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Damn, I must be blind as West Newton is my turn point when I ride south and I never noticed this campground. Though the cheapskate in me would stay at Cedar Creek for free and skip the showers...
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Old 02-18-20, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by edthesped View Post
Damn, I must be blind as West Newton is my turn point when I ride south and I never noticed this campground. Though the cheapskate in me would stay at Cedar Creek for free and skip the showers...
I think it just opened last year. Right along the river. There is a covered area with camp sink, nice furniture, ceiling fans, coffee maker and even a TV, but it only gets one channel. Think there may also be a fridge. Two of these showers. And thatís a motion activated light, not a camera.😂


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Old 02-24-20, 12:54 PM
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I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and head south from Homestead on the GAP this past weekend and struggled riding to Sutersville and back. Not sure if they put new crushed limestone down or if the existing was just that freaking soggy, though I suspect it's new'ish surface. I felt like I was riding on a wet beach for most of the ride, my tires left a divot on the trail surface the entire ride and there were a couple of spots where I was almost in the lowest gear slogging through the mush. Thought I'd pass this along to the OP in case he was planning on making his ride in the near future.
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