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Andrew Kubala from Rising Sun, MD on 6/13/2024 8:27:45 AM:
I am looking to complete the C&O/GAP ride from DC to Pittsburgh. I am new to Bikepacking and was looking for a training program to help me prepare.
Does anyone have any suggestions?

Also, has anyone completed the trail during the beginning of November?

Andrew from Pittsburgh on 6/13/2024 9:07:56 AM:
I can't speak to riding in November or a formal training program, but in the lead up to the first time I rode the trail, I started increasing the length of our day rides on the weekends until we were doing back to back 40 miles Saturday and Sunday. We did this over a 3 month period starting with 20 mile rides. And the weekend before we left we did a 50 mile overnight to test out all of our camping gear. The main thing for me was to get time in the saddle. Compared to most of the riding I had done to that point, the pace was pretty low, so I could ride all day during the trip. We finished our ride that year with three ~70 mile days.

November will be wetter with shorter days, so you will need to factor both of those into your route planning. I don't recall when they close a couple of the tunnels for the winter, but you should look into that.

John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 6/14/2024 9:57:06 AM:
Just start getting in rides and slowly building up your miles. Your body will adjust and get stronger. Since its flat you don't have to worry about hill training. You will be doing between 40-60 a day on your tour.

November might be cutting it close. Big Savage Tunnel has been closing on Dec 1 the last few years but if winter strikes early they can, and have, closed it earlier and there's no real detour available if it happens. Snow is a real threat at the continental divide that time of the year.

Andrew is right, the days are shorter, wetter, and colder. November days just leave you with less and less daylight. My suggestion would be to bump your tour back to October. The beautiful autumn leaves might still be up or at least on the ground and you'll have more daylight and no tunnel closure. Temps will be so much more pleasant also.

Let us know how you get on.


Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 6/16/2024 6:13:00 PM:
To add to the earlier remarks and having ridden the trail in late October, there is the possibility of some cold days and nights and even some snow at the higher elevations. I camped in Meyersdale last year in sub freezing temps. Not the most enjoyable trip I’ve made on the GAP. However you must be prepared for such conditions if they arise.

As for training, the trip is to develop the strength not to just be able to ride 40, 50 or 60 miles a day but to be able to do so on multiple successive days. If possible try to do a shorter, say 3-day trip before taking on the entire trail. That will give feedback on what you need to do and not do for your longer trip.

Good luck.

Andrew Kubala from Rising Sun, MD on 6/19/2024 10:00:52 AM:
This is all great feedback. Thank you. It looks like I will play it safe and plan for August.