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High Speed C&O Canal Tour ...

Old 08-08-09, 10:34 AM
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High Speed C&O Canal Tour ...

Left at first light (6:00am) yesterday... hit Georgetown at 5:00pm and jumped across the Key bridge to the MV trail, and popped across the new Wilson Bridge trail and was sitting @ National Harbor drinking a beer at 6:30. Let me tell ya, I don't drink hardly ever, but that one tasted good

All I can say is that I will never ever do that again. But hey, someone threw down the gauntlet that we couldn't do it in under 12hours and the loser bought dinner so what's one to do with a free McCormick & Schmick's dinner waving in front of us??.

Ran Cross bikes really lightly loaded (ie water bottles and repair kits) and it was a bit of a beating..
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Old 08-08-09, 11:06 AM
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Did you leave from Cumberland?

A day long trip at that distance be impressive on pavemnt, very impressive considering what I have heard about the C&O trail conditions.

Last edited by mtclifford; 08-08-09 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 08-08-09, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by mtclifford
Did you leave from Cumberland?

A day long trip at that distance be impressive on pavemnt, very impressive considering what I have heard about the C&O trail conditions.
Yup, left from the parking lot in Cumberland.

Trail was alright, have seen it much worse. Wouldn' do it again on a dare tho
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Old 08-08-09, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by CCrew
Yup, left from the parking lot in Cumberland.

Trail was alright, have seen it much worse. Wouldn' do it again on a dare tho
You may have set a record:

https://bikewashington.org/canal/plan-days.php

"One Day "Nightmare" Option

"Believe it or not, there is actually a fair amount of interest in this option. I don't know about you, but 184 unpaved miles severely exceeds my pain threshold <grin>!

"However, for all you "X-People" out there, the current record (totally unofficial) is 11 hours and 41 minutes held by Paul Gruenberger and Ralph Olinger set October 1994. This was a supported ride starting from Cumberland. Paul Gruenberger also claims the unsupported record time of 12 hours and 36 minutes set in September 1991."
 
Old 08-08-09, 05:30 PM
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Oh, I know it's been beaten badly by others if that's the "record". Son's race team (Winchester Wheelmen) have done it in the 10 hour range. We're talking CAT1/2 guys though doing it once a year on a lark. Not this guy. I'd about hit my limit by White's Ferry, only thing that kept me going was the fact that we were still on a "free dinner" pace.

New trail across the Woodrow Wilson is pretty sweet. Doesn't really go anywhere on the MD side other than National Harbor, and goes to Oxon Hill Road and dies, but National Harbor is nice.
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Old 08-08-09, 05:55 PM
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Yikes. You the man CCrew!

I'm with the person in The Historian's post. That's too many miles in one day on that trail for me. In fact it is probably too many miles in one day period!
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Old 08-08-09, 09:05 PM
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Good stuff, I wouldn't try for it. I did, however, ride across the bridge today and went down to National Harbor.
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Old 08-08-09, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker
Yikes. You the man CCrew!

I'm with the person in The Historian's post. That's too many miles in one day on that trail for me. In fact it is probably too many miles in one day period!
Hey, someone has to represent us old guys!

Now where did I put that Advil?

Been helping my son train for a 1/2 Ironman in PA Aug 23, he's admitted *finally* that I can outride him from a distance standpoint any day of the week. Me, I wish I could ride the 24-26mph averages he rides in the races he's been doing!.
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Old 08-08-09, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by anomaly
Good stuff, I wouldn't try for it. I did, however, ride across the bridge today and went down to National Harbor.
Did ya test ride a Segway at the dealer there? I so wanted one after my ride... But couldn't get past the "Paul Blarg - Mall Cop" image
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Old 04-29-15, 09:44 AM
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stumbled upon your post on bike forums as I was looking for info regarding ride times to do the full 185 in 1 day. planning to do this self-supported next Friday. we are avid road and mt bikers - with a focus on endurance/climbing - I'm very curious to learn what type of riding you were doing in the weeks leading up to doing the c&o. as in - longest ride? other rail trails? just no idea how our hilly riding will translate to the more/less flat path. really appreciate your thoughts.
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Old 04-29-15, 12:01 PM
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Very Impressive. What did you do for food and drink (on the trail)?
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Old 04-29-15, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by alison
stumbled upon your post on bike forums as I was looking for info regarding ride times to do the full 185 in 1 day. planning to do this self-supported next Friday. we are avid road and mt bikers - with a focus on endurance/climbing - I'm very curious to learn what type of riding you were doing in the weeks leading up to doing the c&o. as in - longest ride? other rail trails? just no idea how our hilly riding will translate to the more/less flat path. really appreciate your thoughts.
Did you notice this thread is six years old?
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Old 04-30-15, 04:16 AM
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yeah - but don't have enough posts to send private msg - figured anyone that had done the c&o might respond. any chance you have something useful to add - or just the question regarding the date?
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Old 04-30-15, 05:38 AM
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And this is considered touring?
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Old 04-30-15, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
And this is considered touring?
We don't discriminate against racers, .
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Old 04-30-15, 09:58 AM
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You are more likely to get meaningful advice by starting a new thread on the Long Distance Cycling subforum. The touring forum is more oriented to traveling by bicycle than the sort of racing/endurance event you are describing.

That said, I rode the entire GAP-C&O Canal trails last June and plan to ride it again in a few weeks. The C&O is almost totally flat, which makes it "easier" than riding on hills, but also makes you more prone to the discomforts of riding in one position without standing or coasting for long periods of time. We averaged about 60 miles/day on our trip, but rode 80+ miles on a couple of days. Speed was not important to us, and we averaged only about 12 mph most days.

Training was not an issue for me because I regularly bike commute 30+ miles/day, with longer rides in the 50-60+ miles range most weekends. We did a few training rides on unpaved trails with loaded panniers on our bikes to make sure everything fit and functioned right. That helped me decide to take my touring rather than cyclocross bike because my heels kept striking the panniers on my cross bike. Here are a few random bits of advice if you decide to take your trip:

- Tires are probably your most important equipment choice. I would recommend tires at least 32 mm wide with some tread, preferably folding, such as cyclocross tires. I used Panaracer Pasela 32s, but plan to use Clement LAS 33s this time, which have more tread. The C&O has widely varying surface conditions, from crushed gravel to mud. If there has been recent rains, you can count on the mud and lots of puddles.
- Carry plenty of water, at least two large water bottles and/or a CamelBak. There are at least two long stretches on the C&O where you pass no towns or places to get water for 40+ miles, except for the NPS pumps, which have iodine-treated water and taste funky.
- Bring a good LED headlight, for the tunnels as well as riding in the dark. You could easily run into serious trouble or injury if you drift off the trail in the dark because there are many spots with steep drop-offs, ditches, culverts, canals, etc.
- Put a bell on your bike and use it. You will be encountering many other cyclists and hikers on the C&O trail who will be traveling at a leisurely pace, and you need to provide some warning if you approaching or passing them at a much faster pace.
- One of the biggest potential hazards is running into sticks that can jam into your spokes and destroy your wheels or derailleurs. Watch out for them.
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Old 04-30-15, 02:53 PM
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I usually ride Cumberland to home near Mile 19 in a weekend. 170 miles. Since I live in the area, I drive out in the morning and take the train on Sunday afternoon to get the car. Ramp up my commuting miles from the regular 30 miles to 40-50 miles a day from for a week ahead of the trip.
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Old 04-30-15, 05:16 PM
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I've never done the C&O but I'll be doing it in July at the end of my upcoming tour. I'll probably do it in 2-3 days. I'm not much into racing.

Last edited by BigAura; 04-30-15 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 04-30-15, 05:25 PM
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so will you re-roof my house for a couple of happy meals?
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Old 05-01-15, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by BigAura
I've never done the C&O but I'll be doing it in July at the end of my upcoming tour. I'll probably do it in 2-3 days. I'm not much into racing.
Note that you don't need to take the Dam #4 Road detour any longer. The towpath has been restored in that section. Also, you may want to hop on the WMRT for nice paved break from the towpath from Sideling Hill to Fort Frederick.
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Old 05-01-15, 08:03 AM
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Even better...

Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan
so will you re-roof my house for a couple of happy meals?
...he'll re-roof your house in 90 minutes!
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