Trail work next week at Avalon. Last one of the year.
Sunday November 20th - 9:30 a.m. Patapsco Valley State Park - Maryland Meet at the Avalon pavilions Contact: Mike Klasmeier (443) 831-2645 (cell) firstname.lastname@example.org
Indian Summer //
Tuesday - November 8, 2005
Weather here in the Mid-Atlantic can vary a lot this time of year. It can be summertime warm or winter cold. It makes packing for an overnighter a last minute affair so you can figure exactly what you need. Luckily for us warm winds were blowing and the sun was shining with highs expected in the low 70's and the nighttime lows hovering around 50. Tough weather to beat for the first week of November. So on Saturday sixteen of us rallied in Frederick, consolidated bikes and gear and set off on a trip Rickyd had brainstormed: supporting the women who support our biking nonsense 365 days a year by being guides/support for an overnighter on the C & O Canal.
In Cumberland, MD we dropped the fems with their bikes and lunches, snapped a few pictures and sent them on their way for their 35 mile leg of the trip. From there 4 of us headed to the second day finish in Hancock while the other crew set off for the ripped up, torn up mountain roads of the Greenridge forest. The original plan had been for the guys to load the bikes and carry all of the gear like the mules who once ruled the canal path. With a micro-biker (child) as part of the group, JoeP was going to drive close as possible to the camp and bike in from there. Somehow with a vehicle in play this led to a shifting of plans that involved a mountain of gear that required vehicle support. It sounds as if we may be able to get jobs with Western Spirit Tours. Oh well, at least we were going to eat good. Some of us making the 25 mile bike run from Hancock to the first night's camp (like Spearmint) dumped every last piece of gear they had in the cars to make his run as light as possible. I loaded my bike with everything but my tent for myself and Julie: panniers bursting at the seams and sleeping pads on the rear rack, two sleeping bags in the Paul's basket. Mike and Stoner fell somewhere in between these extremes with their loads.
With the loads secured in Hancock we dug in for the midday haul to Stickpile Hill. The sun was warm, the leaves were in full, fall color explosion and the canal path was dry. Made for good riding as the four of us rumbled upstream. My newly modified townie bike held up well which was a relief since I wasn't sure if things would be smooth. The bike has been around for a while set up as a single speed beater but the freehub was slipping and in need of being retired. A cheap rear disc wheel was acquired and Rickyd hooked me up with a Boone Ti Cog, to small for his current ride since he gave up the 26 inch wheels. I bolted it on for some fixed action and rode it two blocks before this trip. Chainline seemed to be straight but I was worried about slippage since I was using a skewer on the wheel. I packed an extra just in case. It probably helped that it's a 130mm spaced frame with a 135mm wheel pinched tight in there. In any case, all was good.
We made camp in about 2 hours where the 2nd crew was already in the process of carting food, beer and gear from the vehicles via Burly trailer. We set up camp and gathered firewood and the ladies arrived a bit later, all grinning from the good ride they just had. None of them had been up on this remote end of the canal and it was cool to see them all roll in digging what they had just done. We dispensed beverages and fired up the camp stoves for a big pasta dinner. In no time it was dark and we had a roaring campfire, booze, lots of laughs, booming voices in the night and howling freight trains every hour or two. In other words, typical camping for a C&O trip.
When morning rolled around we fired up a big breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon and coffee. A brief morning shower wet us down but passed after a half an hour or so. Lunches were packed and the chix were sent on their way by 11 am, off to Hancock for the final 25 mile leg of their trip. The boys wrapped up camp and made about 10 trips between the Burly ride and the basket bike to move the gear the half mile to the motor vehicles. After that the four of us who had ridden out loaded our bikes back up and put power to the pedal, heading back the same way as we came in the previous day. Eight miles down the trail we pulled into Bill's Place, a backwoods tavern/general store, and downed some Yuengling porters among the deer mounts and Confederate flags. Thirst quenched me headed out to the end of another brief shower and finished out the ride where we were met in the parking lot with sunny skies and ice cream bars. Tasty trip indeed and the women rocked it out.