What I Didn’t Know

Decoration at Hancock hotel.jpg

My strategy has been to look at the next day’s route just the night before. No point in worrying about a ride that will take place days or weeks away, right? So when I gloated in the blog about the ride from Cumberland to Hancock that I had completed the last mountain climb, I’m betting that my good friends at RAAM were all snickering, but also politely maintaining radio silence.

As it turns out, what I didn’t know was that today’s ride had one more mountain. Worse, it had two killer uphills. One was near the beginning. It was the steepest hill I have encountered on the entire route – 15%. For a few feet, it relented and I stopped to get my heart rate down and my breathing calmed before finishing it. The second killer hill was about 13%, but I didn’t get into my granny gear in time, a newbie technique error. At one point, I could neither shift into my granny gear nor go forward so I had no choice but to yank my shoe out of the clip and stop. I was not going to be defeated by that hill. I spotted a bit of a driveway to my left. I walked the bike across the road and aimed it so I’d have the slightest bit of downhill to try to get enough momentum to shift into my granny gear. It took three tries, but I finally got it and cranked up that hill. The mountain came later and it was not especially different from other mountains I had done with a 6 -8% grade. It was followed by a delicious downhill. Here’s the video.

Pumpkin painted on hayroll.JPG

It was a social cycling day with both lunch and dinner plans with friends. Susie was sagging with Harriet and we were to meet Harriet’s mother in Greencastle for lunch. We had selected a Chinese restaurant. Susie waited at the roundabout and pointed it out to me and I cycled over to it. Though the “Open” sign was on, the message on the door said it opened at 4 PM on Mondays. I waved like crazy to the sag car and Harriet saw me in the nick of time. I gave them the news and tasked them with finding another place. They called shortly and told me to go to B Street 104 Restaurant and PubI got there quickly but couldn’t find the entrance door. Thinking it might be closed as well, I looked it up on my phone. I was standing in front of the building and my phone told me it was 2328 miles away. I looked some more and finally went in a hotel entrance. There was the pub, quite a nice one. The hostess looked me up and down in my cycling clothes. I offered that the other three people in the party would be dressed more appropriately.

The four of us gathered and perused the menu. I had no fewer than four vegetarian options for lunch — unheard of! During lunch, I needed something from the car. A fellow was putting up letters on a marquee right next to the car. He volunteered, “I’m going to find the owner of the building. He’s a cyclist.” Expecting the unexpected now, Brian, an enthusiastic and avid cyclist appeared at our table and we had a delightful conversation about the route, about cycling, bikes, where we were headed for the night, etc. Then he said, “Let me call my friend and see if he’s in town.” Bob appeared a few minutes later and the conversation continued. Before we knew it, between Brian, Bob, and Kevin, the guy who was working outdoors, they had upgraded our hotel in Rouzerville to a really nice one, the Cobblestone Hotel. Thank you, Brian, Bob, and Kevin!

Bob, me, and Brian

We bid farewell to Harriet and Marce.

Marce, me, and Harriet

After checking in to the really nice hotel, we went to have dinner with the Polings, friends of 40 years ago. Susie and I taught together with Don Poling at Western Junior High School in the late 70s.

Sue, Susie, me, and Don

Ride details

Start location: Hancock MD

End location: Rouzerville PA

Distance: 50.0 miles

Cumulative distance: 2930.0 miles

Elevation gain: 3553.1 feet (surprise!)

Special features: State crossings #11, 12, and 13 – MD to PA, PA to MD, MD to PA

PA State Line again.jpgStrava track: https://www.strava.com/activities/747943264


5 thoughts on “What I Didn’t Know

  1. Lynn, our local small newspaper did a little article on you along with the photo I took of you outside Harrisville (Greenwood, I think.) If you would like me to send you a copy, message me via the American Discovery Trail Facebook page with an address. And let me know whether you want the entire paper, or just the page with you, our just the cutout of your article. Or I can scan and send. Just let me know. Safe journey!!


  2. When do you find out if you get the GWR? In keeping with your goal, you are being followed from another part of the world. Greetings from the Aegean Sea!


    1. Jenn, I love that you are following from the Aegean Sea! When I finish on Sunday, I’ll stay at the beach a couple of days and consolidate records and submit them to GWR. I don’t know how long it takes them to evaluate and decide. I know if I pay, it goes faster, but I won’t.


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