DC in 24hrs
Has anyone posted this yet and is it anyone on here? I put my name down. Sounds miserable and I hope it’s not on the GAP but, I bet it’s on the GAP.
Why must ou tempt me? Yes, probably the gap. F the gap. I don’t know if I can physically do 24 hours awake.
I ahve not interest in that, myself, but I’m thining the best route might ahve a bit on the GAP. After all “Crush the Commonwealth,” does.
There are some hellacious ridges that the GAP or C&O avoids. Like the one the Big Savage Tunnel goes under for 5/8 of a mile.
Given that it’s 325 miles, that sounds almost certain to be GAP/C&O. Ouchie.
I’ve never gone more than 270-280 miles in one day (20-ish hours)…325 sounds rough.
an average of 15mph on the GAP is achievable, on the C&O it is a bit less so, imho.
An average of 15mph is if you never stop. You would have to go faster than that in between breaks.
Reading about this makes my hands, neck, and ass hurt. But for some reason I’m still oddly compelled. I’ve done the whole GAP/C&O before, but it seems like this ride removes the parts of the experience that were worthwhile…the conversational pace, the camping, and the leisurely meal stops.
I’ve done 24 hours on the bike before, during a 400k in 2010. Kilometers 200-300 were on the GAP, from Meyersdale to Connellsville, in the dark. Only during that segment I was sure I was going to fall asleep while pedaling. Once I was off the trail and on hilly pavement again, I woke up and had an easy time with the last 100k.
I think the C&O is technically a state and/or national park, so the park rangers may have rules about trail use after dark. I wonder if the organizer has considered this.
Of course, if a lively bunch of like-minded PGH area cyclists decide to do this, I would probably do it too. It’s too bad getting back from DC is such a huge pain the butt.
i know I could do it in two days.. And actually I was Gonna try to do just that in September sometime.
Personally, I’d be awfully tempted to go on-road after Cumberland, rather than deal with the Canal.
I signed up for the mailing list..figure hey, why not? Email’s cheap.
Here’s a report of someone doing the towpath in a single push. There’s some discussion further down the thread about riding the path at night.
Oh my. I was joking about that Stef please don’t.
Would doing this on a BMX bike be a bad idea?
I rode about 25 miles of the C&O in the dark and the rain, once. Might not have been the dumbest thing I ever did, but it makes the top ten list.
I had the vague impression that the C&O would have more civilation on it than the GAP. The gap has a town every 10 or 15 miles. Not so the C&O.
I had a sleeping bag, but no tent.
I had some insect repellent that worked fine in in the aerie mountains, but not so well next to the 300 miles of fetid, mosquito-breeding heaven that is the canal.
Any time I stopped long enough to bring out the (“herbal” HAHAHA!) bug spray, I would get half dozen bites in the time it took to whip out the spray bottle. I think the skeeters there dealt with the repellent the way one might eat over-spiced Thai food.
The rain was the “40-days-and-40-nights” variety of steady downpour. I’m never a fast rider anyhow. The soul- and tire-sucking muck didn’t help.
I have good clearance on my fenders, but I had to pry the mud loose with a stick a few times. Once I rolled the bike back and forth in a puddle to wash some out.
For lights, I had 3 or 4 small flashlights fitted to my handle bars with large rubber bands. It was just before LED’s became common. Not too terribly bright and getting dimmer with battery fade.
The “trail” there was two ruts of rain-slicked mud in long grass. Often precipitous drop-offs on either side – to the river on one side and to a mud-filled ditch on the other.
For the most part, I was unaware of how evil that was, because my light wasn’t bright enough to see the dropoff. Occasionally I contemplated how lonely it would be until morning should I slide and break a bone or otherwise disable myself. I decided that didn’t want to think about that, so I stopped looking at the side of the trail. “Let my heirs worry about that.”
I had the image that I could get out of the rain the Paw-Paw tunnel and sleep there.
Then the tunnel.
There is a little ledge of mud on the side of the tunnel with instructions to walk your bike through and a drop-off into the moat. Mosquitoes. There’s places where irregular drips of water were falling from the roof into the canal with rich and echoes all round.
Hand made, medieval-looking stone walls, give the general impression of the forgotten dungeon of a minor castle in a failed kingdom with few wretched, bearded creatures chained to the walls, living on rats they catch.
The bats seemed none too pleased at a bike rider in their territory.
The tunnel was obviously filled with ghosts of zombied orcs or something.
“Dank” is a word that comes to mind.
So all together, sleeping in the tunnel seemed like not-so-good an idea once I got there. Actually, sliding into the river and drowning might be preferable.
I progressed on.
It stopped raining, but there was no place for a sleeping bag except on the sodden mud ruts of the trail itself. There was a moon out. The moon drifted from my left rear, to my front, then over to the right rear, then back the way it came. Freaked me out, becasue at one point I thought I ght have gotten turned around. A peak at the map, gained at the cost of a few dozen skeeter bites, indicated the trail meandered there. Gratitfying, indeed, to know you have turned more than 180 degrees from the direction you were going half an hour ago.
When I got to Little Orleans, so I slept on a picnic table, until some fisherman started up with the loudest little motorboat I have ever heard (and I lived on boats for over a year), so I got up and went on my way.
I had not planned on it being quite so much type 2 fun.
@ marko82. Trust me, I learned a bit from my experience there.
I’d be way more into this if it was two days. But yeah, i’ll pass. I did the MS150 and felt accomplished haha. 24hrs to DC is out of my league.
24 hrs is possible if you’re a freakish RAAM-solo winner or something.
My goal someday is 36 hrs., or at most two full days.
Sadly, 325 miles in 24 hours isn’t even RAAM qualifying. I think you need to do 400 in 24 hours to be allowed to do RAAM, and that’s in the 40+ division.
I forgot about those C&O water pumps…so yummy and refreshing. Finding food on the C&O during daylight hours is tricky enough, forget about locating a hot meal after sunset.
I’m perfectly fine with shooting for 36-48hrs. I’m not at all going in this if I do it thinking I can do it by the same time the next day. I did speak with a guy in Ohiopyle during CTC who was returning from Cali and Mexico who claimed he has done it in 24hrs before and left at night to get through the parks during the day.
“Sadly, 325 miles in 24 hours isn’t even RAAM qualifying. I think you need to do 400 in 24 hours to be allowed to do RAAM, and that’s in the 40+ division.”
BTW, this is the same weekend as IronCross, which is a shame. Otherwise I might have given it a go.
I’ve done 300 miles in one push (no sleeping) but it was more like 36 hours, which included at least 3 sit down hot meals.
Unless I could ride on the back of a tandem and watch action movies on an ipad the whole way, I’m thinking this would get mighty boring for me.
I’m glad there’s some interest in this – I wasn’t sure if I was going to be doing this alone or not.
Just to be clear – the idea of doing it in 24 hours is just a little extra challenge – certainly not mandatory.
The idea for DCin24 was born out of my curiosity. I was planning a trip to DC (the start of a vacation, actually) and wondered if it would be possible to do it 24 hours. Everyone kept telling me it was impossible and I was crazy; my obsession ensued.
I kind of doubt that I’ll be able to do it in 24 – but I am going to push to see how fast I can do it.
I’m looking forward to hopefully meeting some of you (I’m new to long distance cycling). I’ll be at North Park on Sunday for the BMC demo day – I’d love to talk about some ideas (like start times, etc.). I’ll be on a silver Gary Fisher with a blue helmet – don’t be shy!
Have a great weekend!
I had told people I was going to do it in 3 days and was told I was crazy. (http://tasigh.org/gps/gap1999.html) Granted, that was when the section between Meyersdale and Cumberland wasn’t done yet but still, a little over 100 miles a day doesn’t get into crazy. Doubling that is maybe just a little nuts. Tripling that, well. . . I know I couldn’t do it. Maybe when I was younger and in better shape.
NPS rangers may give you a hassle riding at night. The C&O towpath is a national park that closes at dusk as far as I can tell. That said, you may be able to fly under the radar without hassle.
I was glad to see Kordite’s response, he has a lot of experience riding Pgh-DC at night. (much respect++)
The C&O Trail is a civil war donkey path – mud, roots, puddles, fetid miasma, significant dropoffs.
The combination of conditions and fatigue (IMO) make Pgh-DC in 24 hours a bit unwise.
I’m glad I read Mick’s post. I don’t see any rules though… :p
I rode the GAP/C+O this spring and the C+O was in no way as bad as everyone make it seem. Aside from a few spots it was smooth sailing. I could see it getting swampy if it were really wet, but the GAP does that too.
I thought Nick and Kayla did this last year, but maybe they took longer.
It sounds like one of those things that would be awesome to be able to say you’ve done, but would be less awesome to actually be doing
@That Guy I could see it getting swampy if it were really wet, but the GAP does that too.
No disrespect, but if you think that, then you really don’t know how bad the C&O can get. You hit it lucky on the C&O.
3 days on the gap and C&O, that’s totally doable. I did Frederick, MD to Pittsburgh in 3 days in June. It’s only a few more miles to DC, and the climb is much easier coming from Pittsburgh.
I could see 48 hours (even 36) being doable as well if you packed light (you’re not going to be cooking / sleeping much anyway) and kept a fast pace.
However, I wouldn’t want to do that in 24 (not that someone else couldn’t). An average pace of 15mph would put you at 22 hours to do 330 miles. If you want to rest or sleep at all, it’s going to get pretty rough. RAAM riders do way more miles in a day, however those people are both a) crazy, and b) riding on roads, not riding on crushed limestone and dirt trails.
If I was doing it, I’d prefer to set off in the late evening and do most of my night time riding on the GAP so most of the C&O canal riding is done during the day so you can navigate the puddles, drops, and other hazards, aiming to reach D.C. By sunset.
@stef: It’d be an even greater challenge if the RAAM folken had to carry all the supplies they need.
RAAMwRAT: Race Across AMerica with Racks And Trailers.
Yeah I was just joking. I don’t think I could ride as fast as the RAAM people fully supported.
Just doing a few calculations…
If you can keep an 18 mph average, that would take you 330 miles in about 18 hours. That leaves a nice chunk of 6 hours to rest. I can imagine doing something like the following:
– 4.5 hours riding
– 1 hour break
– 4.5 hours riding
– 4 hour nap
– 4.5 hours riding
– 1 hour break
– 4.5 hours ride to finish
I haven’t done this distance before (let alone all at once) so I’d love to get feedback from the more experienced randonneurs on here.
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