Adventures of Cycling the C&O Canal Through the GAP

Lost in Time

After the second day of our 7-day adventure of cycling the C&O Canal through the GAP (Great Alleghany Passage) from of Washington DC to Pittsburg – I had found that time had become a meaningless blur of green foliage and the endless crunch of tires on gravel. I was lost in time and I felt as if we had been on this gravel path for months.

Perhaps it was the rich history of the C&O Canal pulling me away from reality or perhaps it was the strong and steady pace we maintained through the continuous tunnel of forest. Time moves differently here. To the green tunnel, it was just another summer on planet Earth without a particular year. It could have been 1817 or 2017. However: in 1817 we may have terrified the mules on the C&O Canal towpath.

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Endangered: Group Training Rides

As most avid cyclists know: it can be difficult to find the necessary motivation to get out and push yourself when you are riding solo, especially when the weather isn’t playing nice. The group training ride served as a fantastic motivational forum for more experienced cyclists to stretch athletic abilities, gain strength and skills. Until quite recently, the group training ride was also a great experience for beginning cyclists to learn the ‘rules of the road’.

So, why is it that many group training rides have now evolved into some sort of awful etiquette-vacuum of mindless sprints, general chaos, and savage mayhem?

We might need to add structured training rides to the Endangered List.

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That’s a Wrap, 2016 – What’s Up for 2017?

Oh my 2016, you’ve been a stinker haven’t you?? Well, to be honest – lately it seems as if every year has it’s share of woes and accomplishments. We’ve seen more economic issues, social polarization sprung forth from politics (biking and politics don’t mix), good vs. greed in the Dakota’s … and crazier traffic than ever before. I’m even afraid to get on the busy streets in my car – much less on a bike!

Here’s some of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of 2016 – and a little bit of what’s to come.

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Zone 3… What’s Zone 3??

Zone 3… What’s Zone 3??

I asked one day as I was riding with a friend of mine, who just happens to be a professional triathlete in training and certified coach. After being ruthlessly dropped like a wet bag of rotten tomatoes several weeks earlier on a weekend warriors ride I realized that I had forgotten about Zone 3 riding. It was glaringly apparent that, thanks to my normal riding routine, I wasn’t really spending any time in Zone 3 so I had a gap in my performance! Oops.

Perhaps I really didn’t know what Zone 3 is!

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Off-Season Switch Up

To the disappointment of many and the exhilaration of a few hard-riding fools – the debate about whether or not to go ‘off-season’ is continuously leaning towards consistent training verses an abandonment of strict discipline in favor of late mornings, leisurely base miles, and general enjoyment. It has historically been a time when a racer pulled out the old winter bike, enjoyed a comfortable coffee with mates, and generally didn’t focus much on a training regime.

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A Summer Solo Ride: Climbing Day

Dawn. That ethereal state of awakening when the earth is bathed in a bluish-green glow which sneaks through the curtains to land on my sleepy eyes. That time just before day-break when the roosters begin to echo their calls through the countryside and the birds chip curiously as if they, like me, aren’t quite sure if they want to be awake yet. It’s this time of morning when I have a stern conversation with myself…

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Tips from a Road Trip

A mysterious thing happens after about a week and a half on vacation… you finally begin to truly relax! Since I was extremely fortunate to squeeze two whole weeks of bike vacation fun into a family road trip – it has afforded me some insights into traveling and touring with a bike, plus a few bits of wisdom about everyday life. Some are particularly important if you happen to be touring with someone else, as I did (with my hubby). A few can help you after you get back to the rat-race…

In no particular order, are a few Tips from my Road Trip:

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Biking with your Beloved

If you are one of those folks that has a cycling enthusiast for a significant other; this article is for you! As my husband and I met through our mutual love of cycling. Of course we ride as often as we can, when not doing stuff to pay bills and afford more bikes (N+1×2).

Cycling can get expensive when there is two of you – just FYI.

2 bikes in bedAnother consideration when you bike with your beloved is your cycling compatibility. This can be crucial to a harmonious relationship. Some seriously nasty fights have begun because of a partner’s insensitivity or obliviousness to the other’s needs on a ride. Cycling can be a dangerous sport and especially when I’m low on sugar and high in miles when my Hubby decides to up the tempo. So, it’s important to understand one another’s needs so that you can be there to support one another.

There are Pro’s and Con’s to cycling with your Hunny.

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Rules of Country Riding

Normally I write articles from a competitive cycling point of view (more or less), but this article is applicable regardless if you race or not. As a matter of fact – maybe it’s especially applicable for those who are competitive cyclists. I have found that, even though one might be brave enough to pin a number on and rub elbows in a sprint … it doesn’t mean that one is completely aware of a few foundational rules of the road, so to speak.

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Training Tips: Cycling with your Cycle

Boys Beware! This is about to get knee-deep in girly talk, so consider yourself forewarned!

For years I would periodically worry that, for some unknown reason; all my strength had gone, maybe I was sick, over-trained, or that I was suddenly and mysteriously out of shape. I would FREAK out! Because I’m ‘type A’ and have to fix the energy drain – I would immediately go into a frenzy of compensating for this mysterious lack of strength and played havoc with my riding and racing schedule!

It wasn’t until many, many years later that I realized this ‘mysterious energy low’ was normal during exercise at certain times of the month and it had nothing to do with the full moon or my lack of endurance. Well, almost nothing.

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