Wednesday, 5 July 2006
Cumberland, MD to Hancock, MD
40.8 miles, 4h27m, 9.2 mph
Elapsed Time: 5h21m, Max speed: 40.0mph
Total Climbing: 4015ft, Max elevation: 1639ft
Total mileage: 863.0
A short day today, but a hard one. I had two choices for getting
from Cumberland to Hancock: the flat, muddy C&O Canal or the hilly,
paved route down US40 and MD144. I chose the latter. The
guys from PA I'd been talking to chose the former. I got
rained on but came in dry. They got rained on but came in
muddy. I think I made the right choice.
It was raining when I woke up so I ate breakfast and puttered around
until about 8:15. By then it had stopped raining, but it looked
like more showers were on the way.
turns out there are five major climbs between Cumberland and
Hancock, and they started right away. The rain started soon after
that. The first climb was Martin Mountain. The road was
good, the grade was steep, but not too steep. The climb was about
5 miles long. Then there was a 5 mile descent through Flintstone
and right up to the next climb.
Nearing the top of Martin Mountain.
The second climb was Polish Mountain. It was steeper than Martin,
but not as long, so it didn't seem so bad.
Then came Green Ridge, which I thought was a big hill, but it turned
out it wasn't that big compared to the next one. It was really
steep because it was on "Scenic US40."
I thought this was a big hill, so I took a picture.
The climbs were very slow so I'd take
off my jacket, the descents were very fast and cold, so I'd put it back
on at the top. As I suited up on top of Green Ridge a guy in a
pickup stopped and asked me if I wanted a ride. I thought, "Why
would I want a ride? I'm on top of the hill." So I
declined, and descended.
Town Hill started right away. It was really long and really
There are two payoffs for climbing these hills: the view and the
descent. The views were cloud-obscured and the descents were too
scary to enjoy. I usually don't use my brakes on descents unless
I have to, but I kind of like to have the option to use them.
the wet rims and wet roads and the weight of a loaded touring bike, my
stopping distance could be measured in furlongs, so I had to be a
little more cautious about letting the bike run. Still, it was
more fun than climbing.
The cloud-obscured view from Town Hill.
Sideling Hill was the climb I was really worried about. I stopped
at a gas station for lunch and refilled my water bottled for the big
climb. It turns out it wasn't so bad. The first part was
steep, but the rest wasn't bad at all. Of course there was no
The top of Sideling Hill. There's no view.
The descent was about 5 miles long and very relaxing. By this
time it had stopped raining and my gear was drying out. There
were a few small hills on the road into Hancock. I was in the
motel by 1:30. Time to eat.
The run into Hancock: typical scenery.
Tomorrow I ride to Frederick. There should be only one big climb
over South Mountain. Hopefully it will be sunny.
"Erie Canal (and more!) Tour 2006" Copyright © 2006 By
Clemons. All rights reserved.