2005 C&O Canal Ride
Cumberland, MD to Washington, DC
5-8 August 2005
Ten years ago I organized a ride down the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
Towpath for myself and eight friends. Five years later we decided that
we should do it every five years, so I organized another trip. Well,
now it's been another five years and it's time to do it again.
The first C&O Ride in 1995 started with nine riders and finished
with eight. This year would be no different. Introducing, in no
Bob: Forty. Organizer of the
ride (me). Naturally this was my third C&O Canal Ride.
Scotty: Forty-something. A
rider of the original C&O in 1995 who did not participate in 2000.
He was the designated "JT"--the guy who would not finish. JT barely
made it as far as Hancock in 1995 before he had to be extracted due to
total bonkage (yes, this is the same JT who rode the Pacific Coast in
2004 with no problems). Unlike JT in 1995, however, Scotty had planned
all along to bail out after two days. His main goal was to get past
Hancock, and thus, past JT.
First-time rider. Natural athlete. Tall and skinny and riding the
crappiest bike of anyone.
Dave: Early forties. Rode the
middle day in 1995 when a single day option was offered and then did
the whole thing in 2000. Bad knees. Skinny legs.
Melissa: Twenty-something. The
first female rider ever.
Stretch: Extreme-late thirties.
Melissa's freakishly tall boyfriend (although not as tall as Kevin). A
veteran of all three C&O rides. His real name is Dave but since we
already have a Dave he'll have to be Stretch.
Jeff: Forty-something. He did
the single day option in 1995 and is now doing the whole thing for the
first time. He bought a whole bunch of new gear for this trip and rides
a fully-suspended mountain bike.
Curt: Forty-something. Claims
he's in terrible shape. Sandbagger. His third C&O.
Tony: Ageless. Also claims to
be in awful shape. No one believes him. A veteran of all C&O rides.
Getting To Cumberland
In the past, we've driven to Cumberland the morning that the trip
started. That meant getting up at 5am and driving around picking
everyone up and sitting in the car for three hours. Then start riding
as soon as we get to Cumberland in order to get in enough miles to
finish the ride in three days. Every year I'd say: "Next time we're
going to drive up the night before we start so things will be a little
more relaxed." Now I know why we always did it the other way. Picking
everyone up in the evening is way more logistically challenging.
But enough of my whining. I rented a UHaul and a minivan. The UHaul
turned out to be pretty decent and the minivan turned into a giant Ford
Expedition. We wanted to rent a Caravan and we ended up with an entire
Expedition. I suppose it could have been an Armada.
The entire operation was complicated by the fact that three of us are
on a softball team that was playing for the championship on the night
we were leaving. Unfortunately, the other team dispatched us so quickly
that we didn't really fall behind schedule and I was driving around
picking up bikes by 6:30. My wife Linda was driving the Expedition
picking up people. We made it to the Holiday Inn in Cumberland by 10pm
and unloaded our gear.
"2005 C&O Canal Ride" Copyright © 2005 By Bob
Clemons. All rights reserved.