Category Archives: Bike Touring

C&O and Surly LHT

Choose Your Own Eventure: C&O Bike Tour to a Marathon

Hello friends. I’ve just returned from a weekend concept ride I’ve been plotting for the past year. It involved a 134-mile mini bike tour from Washington, D.C., out the C&O to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and the Freedom’s Run marathon.

Leaves  on the C&O

I don’t know what I was expecting, but what I ended up with was a satisfying fall weekend full of movement that was also 100 percent car-free. The perfect eventure.

Given that Freedom’s Run begins very near the C&O, this marathon sets up well as a weekend bike tour-marathon combination. After years of randonneuring, bike touring, and running, I wanted to see what would happen when I combined aspects of all three in some way.

Multi-day event? Randonneuring. Out and back on the C&O? Bike touring. Marathon in the middle? Running. One part organized event, one part my own informal thing. And so my eventure took shape.

C&O Mary's Wall Surly LHT

Friday, I took off solo into partly sunny skies that turned cloudy and then released a steady drizzle from around 15 miles on. This worked in my favor, as the temperatures remained warm and the dreary day cleared the towpath of most people. Pretty much me and the squirrels out there.

Leaves fell gently in front of my path and drizzle moistened my arms and glasses, but it wasn’t so bad. Falling leaves actually create a romantic atmosphere until a few smack you in the face. Ouch.

I plodded steadily to Harper’s Ferry, knowing I had a full day to complete just under 70 miles.

I did not want to wear out my legs, as I had 26.2 miles to run the following day. I stopped several times along the way to take photos. The bright hues of freshly fallen leaves were too enticing to not photograph, despite the dreary lighting.

Fall leaves and Surly LHT on C&O

Felkerino met me that evening, doing his own concept ride. He left after 6:30 p.m. from D.C. and arrived in Harpers Ferry at 1:15 a.m. after enduring a lot of steady rain, indeed, what some might call downpours. Darn randonneurs, they’ll ride anytime, any weather (eye roll)!

Saturday’s marathon came and went, and my body felt pretty good throughout (a separate post about that later). My time was slower than my normally slow pace, but knowing that I needed to ride 67 miles the day after completing the marathon I never pushed my effort.

Felkerino, Bridge leaving Harpers Ferry

Our Sunday return was much less painful than I imagined it would be, and it was a glorious day. The clouds cleared on Saturday afternoon and sunny blue skies remained for Sunday.

Temperatures had dropped into the 30s overnight, our first cold overnight of the season.

I was so glad to be riding the C&O towpath. I did not have to worry about paying constant attention to car traffic, and the lack of stopping and starting at intersections was a benefit to my tired legs.

Felkerino on the C&O

The C&O is a special place to ride, especially in the fall. The canal’s locks and neighboring lockhouses remind me of all the comings and goings the C&O has seen since it was first built in 1828. Tree colors begin to turn, and the crunching of leaves under bike tires tell you that time is passing.

C&O Canal

I don’t aspire to duathlons or tris, but I loved combining transportation cycling and bike touring with my running. I am so glad to have made this eventure happen, grateful for Felkerino’s support and encouragement, and proud of my body for its durability all along the way.

Co-Mo Rollins summit

Colorado 2014: By the Days and Miles

Co-Motion and Felkerino Rollins summit

Every day that goes by, our 2014 Colorado tour becomes more memory. I’m surprised to feel saddened by that, since one of our intentions while there was to feed our wanderlust and tire ourselves out so that we would be at peace with settling back into our life in Washington, D.C.

Maybe that peace will come in September, but in the interim I’m left daydreaming about the two weeks when I felt small, invigorated, and satisfied.

Felkerino uploaded our routes to his Ride With GPS page, and I’m posting the overall image of our daily profiles along with a link that provides more details about each day’s ride.

I wish I could figure out an easy way to sew the routes together so I could display it as one big loop as well as by days, but seeing it in segments is okay. UPDATE: Thanks to Ronnie, who commented below, I was able to put our routes into one image.

Through this post I have an overall record of our trip and I keep the good memories flowing! Again, many thanks to all of you for taking an interest and encouraging us throughout our time in Colorado. Continue reading

Riding up Rollins

I Really Don’t Know Clouds

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,

from up and down, and still somehow

it’s cloud illusions I recall.

I really don’t know clouds at all.

–Joni Mitchell

I first listened to Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” when I was a teenager, and found it terrible. I had never imagined that a person could think about clouds so darn much.

Ascending McClure into an uncertain future
Ascending McClure into an uncertain future

Felkerino’s and my recent tour in Colorado has changed my sentiments toward clouds and the song. Continue reading

Touring the Divide

Bike Tourist Encounters

Since I started bike touring, I’ve trained myself to keep an eye open for others who might be on an adventure. Bike riders can blend into the landscape, but if you pay attention they will jump out at you.

During the two weeks that Felkerino and I pedaled our bicycle around Colorado, we crossed paths with several other bike tourists. It was exciting to meet fellow travelers and learn more about their riding.

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Trail Ridge-ed n me

10 Things I Learned on Our Colorado Bike Tour

Trail Ridge Road
Bike touring. Yes

Remember me? It’s been a few days, but I’m mostly free of my post bike tour fog and thought I’d rip off a quick top 10 list of what I learned on our tour.

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View before the summit on Rollins

CO Tour Day 11: Rollins Pass on Tandem

Second trestle on Rollins Pass
Second trestle on Rollins Pass

Felkerino called our day going over Rollins Pass an immersive experience. It’s definitely one of the most intense things I’ve done on a tandem.

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Trestle number two. Don't look right.

Rollins Pass: You Can’t Always Get What You Want

But if you try sometimes
You just might find
You get what you need.
–The Rolling Stones

 

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More to come.

Bike tourist descends Ute Pass

CO Tour Day 10: Another Day, Another Mountain Pass in Colorado

The short story is this–

82 miles from Leadville to Winter Park.

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Our bike is still in one piece. Thanks to everyone who complimented our pure power and torque after the broken crankarm incident. This also provides solid evidence that Felkerino is indeed pedaling. Continue reading