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 Riders

The first C&O Ride in 1995 started with nine riders and finished with eight. This year would be no different. Introducing, in no particular order:

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.

Kevin: Twenty-something. 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.