Sunday, August 08, 2010

Post RAGBRAI Day 7 - West Newton PA to the C&O Towpath

This is where I spent the night.

I don't see any wifi. I'm posting this the next day.

This was an absolutely awesome day of riding. I did most of the Great Allegheny Passage trail. It was 116 miles of unpaved, but very smooth trail to Cumberland, MD, where there were no motel rooms to be had. So I ate dinner, and rode 8 miles down the towpath, and stayed at a primitive hiker/biker site.

I can't say enough about how cool the GAP trail is. I took tons of pictures, and today, I lost the camera. So no pictures.

The best way to tell the story is to look at the elevation profile in the GPS track below. It was uphill at a gentle 1/2 to 1% grade for 92 miles. Then you cross the continental divide, go through the 3000 foot long Big Savage Tunnel, and then COAST 22 MILES TO CUMBERLAND. According to my GPS, the grade is between 1 and 2%, it never changes, all the way from the tunnel to downtown Cumberland. With the crushed stone surface on the trail offering some rolling resistance, I basically rolled along at 16 mph without moving a muscle for over an hour.

I was awestruck by this feat of engineering. If they needed a tunnel, they built one. If there was a valley, they just built a viaduct. Most impressive is the Salisbury Viaduct, which is 1900 feet long, and a couple hundred feet above the ground. But the grade does not change. 2% westbound, when the hopper cars are empty, and 1% eastbound, when they are full of coal. It makes a great bike trail. The surface is smooth, it's very popular, and there are lots of towns with services for bikers.

I will definitely do this ride again. It was fantastic.

Here is the track for this ride.

1 comment:

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