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Millvale to Ohiopyle

This topic contains 26 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  J.Str. 7 mos, 1 week.

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J.Str.

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Sep 3 2013 at 10:14am #

So on Sunday a couple people and myself are heading to Ohiopyle via bicycle for the night and coming home Monday. This will be my biggest trip to date. I have three things to ask:

1. What are your experiences with this trip?
2. Any advice or notable things I should keep in mind?
3. Would you like to join us? Anyone is welcome to ride and come camp.


andyc

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Sep 3 2013 at 10:22am #

Are you planning on using only the GAP? You might consider running some road sections just to break it up.


J.Str.

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Sep 3 2013 at 10:24am #

Yes, we were going to take the GAP. Mostly because we have a range of experience with the people riding.


Mikhail

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Sep 3 2013 at 10:37am #

A couple of friends of mine did the following ride — http://www.thatdamride.org/. I did all the way to Connellsville with them and then turned back. Some people find it boring to ride on a crashed limestone. It’s definitely harder to ride during or just after rain on thin tires (23 mm). During rain it’s hard even on 32 mm tires (1 3/8′).


Drewbacca

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Sep 3 2013 at 11:04am #

@Mikhail, 32′s are ok on the GAP with recent rain… 28′s, not so much (based on recent rainy day riding through there; and it had more to do with debris on the path than mud).

@OP:
1. lots of fun, great people to meet along the way!
2. There’s a grocery store by the camp site when you first enter Connellsville; probably a good place to buy camp food (and clean restrooms down aisle 13! :D :D ).

Basic advice for a long trip: have some energy bars in case you run out of steam, do a safety and comfort check of the bike before you leave, don’t make any major adjustments/changes right before you leave.

3. I’d love to join you! Thanks for asking… unfortunately, I’m out of state at the moment. :(


Mick

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Sep 3 2013 at 12:12pm #

J.Str. wrote:Mostly because we have a range of experience with the people riding.

It’s about 80 miles to Ohiopyle. The last 20 miles have a 500 feet rise. That is a heck of a day’s ride for an inexperienced person.


J.Str.

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Sep 3 2013 at 12:18pm #

Mick wrote:

J.Str. wrote:Mostly because we have a range of experience with the people riding.

It’s about 80 miles to Ohiopyle. The last 20 miles have a 500 feet rise. That is a heck of a day’s ride for an inexperienced person.

It is not necessarily inexperienced and more a range of speed riders. I being the lowest, will be setting the pace.


the beast

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Sep 3 2013 at 2:14pm #

If you are planning to camp in Ohiopyle and are not aware, the campsite is up a very steep, rocky hill that you will more than likely push your bke up. So, if you plan to go into ohiopyle for dinner or anything, I would recommend doing it before heading to the campsite.


Mikhail

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Sep 3 2013 at 3:20pm #

Drewbacca wrote:@Mikhail, 32?s are ok on the GAP with recent rain… 28?s, not so much (based on recent rainy day riding through there; and it had more to do with debris on the path than mud).

May be it’s my weight… :) But last time I used my old Fuji with 27′ by 1 3/8 tires for this purpose I cut through trail in some parts pretty deep — around inch or so (my tires up to the rim were in crashed limestone). It was 3-4 years ago.


sierramister

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Sep 3 2013 at 3:27pm #

“That Dam Ride” is this weekend. If you’ve never road this type of distance with the combination of gear, perhaps you guys should consider doing the official ride.

You can only do one “first” at a time: lots of gear or lots of miles. It’s not a good idea to do both for the first time.

“That Dam Ride” will haul your gear for you in a truck to Confluence (ten miles past Ohiopyle), starting at Little Boston.

The elevation wasn’t that big of a deal to me.
We did a similar ride this past weekend: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/368980821


Drewbacca

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Sep 3 2013 at 5:09pm #

Mikhail wrote:May be it’s my weight… :) But last time I used my old Fuji with 27? by 1 3/8 tires for this purpose I cut through trail in some parts pretty deep — around inch or so (my tires up to the rim were in crashed limestone). It was 3-4 years ago.

Maybe they are taking better care of the trail… most of the mud spots had been filled with gravel within hours of a big rain storm, when I went through. I was having more of a problem with the gravel than the mud. Either way, going down the slight down grade in wet conditions was hair-raising.


Vannevar

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Sep 3 2013 at 8:21pm #

As you ride south-east into Connellsville, about two miles before town, look to your right and about fifty yards off the trail you’ll see a series of little holes in the ground. To me they look like little hobbit-arches. Those are old coke-ovens from back in the day.

When you ride into Connellsville, you’ll see the stained glass archway, and if you stay on the trail proper just before you get to the segregated bike boulevard you’ll see a sculpture of coke ovens, and the smoke coming out of the coke ovens turns into bicycle wheels.

Somebody explained to me that the Connellsville economy used to be coke ovens and stained glass, and the arch and the sculpture are momentos of that. Just FWIW. Amaze your companions with your knowledge of local trivia.


J Z

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Sep 3 2013 at 9:12pm #

Mick wrote:

J.Str. wrote:Mostly because we have a range of experience with the people riding.

It’s about 80 miles to Ohiopyle. The last 20 miles have a 500 feet rise. That is a heck of a day’s ride for an inexperienced person.

My computer had it down as 76.29. Paddlers Pizza is a new place that opened up and had some good eats, especially after a long day in the saddle. I don’t think they expected me to eat as much as I did.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Paddlers-pizza/670499462965824


Lee

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Sep 4 2013 at 8:49am #

28mm tires on the similarly surfaced ghost town trail in the rain with a small load really sucked. just sapped the energy right out of me.


jonawebb

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Sep 4 2013 at 8:56am #

There are good books if you want to study up:

The Great Allegheny Passage Companion: Guide to History & Heritage Along the Trail by Bill Metzger, a paperback that gives you the history of the areas you’re passing through, and other info.

An Uncommon Passage: Traveling through History on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail by Edward K. Muller and Paul g. Wiegman, coffee-table book that has lots of good photos of the trail, along with other info.


Drewbacca

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Sep 4 2013 at 10:49am #

Lee wrote:28mm tires on the similarly surfaced ghost town trail in the rain with a small load really sucked. just sapped the energy right out of me.

Ghost Town Trail is different though, it’s really finely ground and I have to agree that when it rains, it is like wet sand. It’s not any one spot that is problematic, the entire path will slow you down (my parents live off the trail, I’ve put in 1000s of miles there). Even with 32s and no gear, it will sap the energy from you.

The GAP has a harder gravel which doesn’t soak up the water so much. It’s more of a problem over older sections of the GAP where it is mostly a hard-pack of dirt (such as the climb to OhioPyle). The gravel itself isn’t really affected by the rain, but you do tend to see a lot of pot-holes fill up with muddy water (and obviously, slick patches of mud on either side of the pothole).


Mick

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Sep 4 2013 at 11:51am #

J Z wrote:My computer had it down as 76.29.

From Millvale? Or from Pittsburgh?


J Z

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Sep 4 2013 at 8:00pm #

Mick wrote:

J Z wrote:My computer had it down as 76.29.

From Millvale? Or from Pittsburgh?

Oops, Oakland, actually.


J.Str.

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Sep 10 2013 at 2:55pm #

http://faunaviolet.blogspot.com/2013/09/pittsburgh-to-ohiopyle-fail.html?m=1

I wrote about it. It was hard. I am glad we got a ride up to camp! All your advice was wonderful! We had great weather!


sierramister

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Sep 10 2013 at 8:18pm #

J.Str. wrote:
http://faunaviolet.blogspot.com/2013/09/pittsburgh-to-ohiopyle-fail.html?m=1

I wrote about it. It was hard. I am glad we got a ride up to camp! All your advice was wonderful! We had great weather!

Great write-up!

I can make one simple inference about your experience: You did not consume enough calories during your ride, especially the second half. You were presumably hauling 30-50 extra pounds. You need extra calories to make the 700+ foot climb just because of the weight. You literally need to force yourself to eat and drink every half hour.

I have learned that I can ride all day as long as my energy is up. And the only way to do that is to EAT!

So the next time you ride: chamois shorts, chamois cream, and food!


cburch

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Sep 10 2013 at 9:25pm #

and a thermarest pad.


Drewbacca

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Sep 12 2013 at 6:37pm #

Nice write up. I think the lesson here is to camp at Connellsville (for free) right off the trail with easy access to the Giant/Martin’s grocery store that is 24hours FTW. It’s an easy ride from there into Ohiopyle the next day to enjoy the park before heading back.


Ahlir

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Sep 12 2013 at 8:39pm #

I would tend to agree with Drewbacca.

Connellsville has these nice shelters where you can spend the night (and thus not have to schlep tent stuff). That turns Ohiopyle (and beyond!) into a pleasant day trip. Of course, you do end up away for two nights instead of one.

Do be nice to your butt. There’s a version of the Aesop fable “the belly and the members” that puts this in perspective. Unfortunately I can’t quite get the google on it just now. But use your imagination.


Benzo

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Sep 13 2013 at 11:18am #

There are two kinds of cyclists. People who have cycling shorts, and people who havn’t done a long ride without cycling shorts.


J.Str.

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Sep 13 2013 at 11:21am #

I actually had cycling shorts and on the rode home decided to go without around the West Newton stop.

Next time we will def camp for free somewhere and make a longer multi- day trip of it.

I am glad we did it though. It really pushed me hard.


Benzo

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Sep 13 2013 at 11:27am #

Yeah, shorts do only so much. Chamoise cream really does help avoid those saddle sores too. I apply it a couple times a day on really long rides. Those little packets are handy.

But if you’re not used to doing that kind of mileage, it can be rough. I tend to be really good at over-exerting myself for several days before my body just quits. After a week or two of recovery, you’ll probably feel faster than you have before.

Thanks for the writeup though, it’s always good to hear people’s stories.


J.Str.

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Sep 13 2013 at 2:35pm #

Yea, I will continue writing about my biking mishaps as I learn about my body, my bike and my sanity. :) Thanks for reading.

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