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BikeandClimb on 7/6/2019 5:21:04 PM:
I found these types of postings helpful so figured I'd share a general summary of the recent trip. This was my first time on the C&O and the GAP. Left Georgetown early on Wednesday, July 3rd. Encountered 4 fallen trees I had to lift my bike over in the first 30 miles (I don't recall specific mileposts). One was large enough that I had to remove my panniers, toss them over, then bring my bike along. Conditions were a bit wet and muddy the first day but nothing like I had prepared myself for. The Brunswick temporary bridge was super solid and easy to cross-I was impressed. Made it just south of Williamsport and shared the Cumberland campsite with a group. It was great to be able to hop in the river to get the mud off. Every pump I tried was working with the exception of one around mile 60 that didn't have a handle. I found the water fine to drink as well. Got one flat I had to patch on trail. This was after the area north of Sharpsburg. A red arrow is painted on a tree. I will walk my bike through there next time. It felt like some mountain bike trails. Left camp early on the 4th. Made it through Williamsport, the detour was well marked. Got spooked by a dog in the part that goes behind some houses. I walked my bike when it turned back into trail. That area was super rutted and looked like an easy accident for me. Grabbed breakfast and another tube in Hancock. The Western Maryland Rail Trail was a really pleasant ride and I found easy to follow when leaving and joining the C&O. After the WMRT, things got pretty muddy. Huge puddles. It was all pretty manageable but it's something to be prepared for. Got another flat on the damaged tube just outside of Paw Paw. Repaired that. It started raining pretty hard and got seemingly even muddier in the last 10 miles into Cumberland. I got a stick in my rear derailleur and knocked it when dropping into a big puddle at some point in here. I'd been warned about the trains, heard the fireworks, and needed a shower so I opted for a hotel. Ramada inn let me spray my bike down and bring it to my room. Left Cumberland about 7am on the 5th. The climb to the divide was pretty gradual. Here's where I realized my drivetrain was acting up. Gears were slipping and super noisey in most gears. Big Savage tunnel was such a cool experience. The drop on the other side of the divide was very pleasant. Trail conditions on the GAP were great. Really nice trail the entire way. Made it to Confluence and sought out the Confluence Cyclery. The three gentlemen there were extremely helpful. Grabbed food at Mitch's across the street. They made a minor adjustment to my derailleur which improved things slightly. We agreed it'd get me home. They suggested camping in Connellsville. Made it there after one more rain shower. The trail was a bit more crowded through Ohiopyle. Left Connellsville early on 7/6. Made it to Pittsburgh before 11. McKeesport was the only area to that point I had trouble following the trail. It wasn't super clear to me that I had to cross the bridge. Into Pittsburgh was fine and mostly paved. I lost the trail in the last mile but ended up at Points all the same. Definitely a great trip. Would recommend at least one additional tube and to know where the bike shops are on route. Folks are extremely helpful along the entire trail. Don't underestimate the mud north of Hancock.