Sunday, June 12, 2016

DC to Pgh Bike Tour Day 4 - Hancock to Cumberland, MD

After the hotel buffet breakfast, we headed into town to visit C&O Bicycles just after they opened at 8:00am. I was considering buying new tires, but they didn't have any in the size and tread type that I needed. Bill needed to buy a new saddle, though, after breaking his during a fall near the National Mall on Day 1. I did buy a couple of spare tubes just in case.
We got on the Western Maryland Rail Trail and enjoyed the smooth pavement until it ended about 11 miles later and re-joined the C&O Canal Towpath Trail. The temperature was a few degrees cooler than yesterday, but as the day went on, there were sections of the trail more exposed to the sun, as well as a stiff headwind.
In Little Orleans, we made a stop at Bill's, a traditional trail outpost with a bar, restaurant, and general store. We got some ice cream.
About 30 miles into the day, we came to the Paw Paw Tunnel. As you approach, the trail turns to a narrow singletrack, followed by a wooden boardwalk.
After walking the 3,118 feet of the tunnel, we brokes for a few minutes, then pressed on. About ten miles later, Tom and I rode ahead to scope out the next town for lunch.
We arrived at Oldtown, where you can find the Schoolhouse Kitchen located in the former small local high school building. Tom and I rode the 1/3 mile back to the trail to wait for the other six.
At the Kitchen, you can get breakfast all day -- finally some pancakes!
Near the Oldtown trailhead is the only privately-owned inter-state toll bridge in the US.
Following lunch, we rode at a gentlemen's pace, stopping to take a couple of breaks from the heat.
I was feeling probably the most tired and wearing of the whole trip at this point. Once we got going, I decided that I just wanted to go as fast as I could to get the day done as soon as possible. We had about nine miles remaining to Cumberland. Jim came along with me, and we kept pushing the pace against each other. We made one last stop for water, and I pumped my front tire up, as it was starting to get low and feel a little squirrelly again. But the renewed effort gave me renewed energy, and it seemed like we made it to Cumberland in no time.
Located conveniently on the trail where the C&O Canal Towpath and the Great Allegheny Passage meet, the Cumberland Trail Connection is a bike shop with a great selection of bikes, clothing, and accessories. I found a pair of Schwalbe Marathon tires that made great replacements to fix my tire issues. They also offer rentals and trail shuttle service. A great bunch of people, and I'd be saying that even if they hadn't bribed us with beer.
We rode through the downtown area to find the Ramada hotel, showered, and headed to Uncle Jack's for dinner.

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