Loneliness of the long distance runner

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner is a book (or rather, a short story), and a film.
More than anything though, it a very evocative line. Especially if you are, or have been, a long distance runner.

I read the story ages ago, and I remember - having been drawn to it by the title, and the thought of solitude via athleticism - I remember being disappointed because it was really something else. A story about class, or boarding schools, or something... something that wasn't running.

Why it comes to mind though, as part of this GAP series, is how, when I encountered other travelers during my week on the GAP trail, it was evident that what we were all after was solitude.

(just north of the Salisbury Viaduct)
I'd meet someone, Troy at the KOA, Rowen in Cumberland, the former minister in Frostburg, the guy with the Surly at the KOA when I was northbound, and we'd talk, and it'be good. Where are you going? Where have you been? Had that bike long? You done a trip like thi…

Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) Trail : Day 5 : Confluence to West Newton

Also known as "gunshot" day - but more on that below!
On Friday, Day 5, I rode from Confluence to West Newton - the primary feature of this ride is the long trek through Ohiopyle State Park.

And for the elevation geeks out there, click on this image below to see this better, but from Confluence, headed north to West Newton, you benefit from a very steadily downward grade.

Not much to report on the stretch from Confluence to Ohiopyle, which is roughly 10 miles. It had rained during the night, so packing my tent in the morning, everything was wet. I was pedaling by 7:00am... and like I did almost every single morning of this trip - I left without even attempting to make some kind of breakfast. Instead I relied on mid morning breaks where I would eat a power bar, or some bread and peanut butter.
Today - feeling very meditative this day - I just softly pedaled the 10 miles to Ohiopyle, and when I got there, I parked at the Visitor's Station and wandered around the small town…

Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) Trail : Day Four - Cumberland to Confluence

On day 4, after a great sleep in a hotel in Cumberland, I headed back north towards Pittsburgh.

As I mentioned in my Day 3 post - with every turn of my wheels, as I coasted for 20 miles down into Cumberland, I was thinking "oh my God oh my God oh my God - I have to pedal up this thing, hauling the trailer behind me, tomorrow!"
Here's what a graphic located at the Eastern Continental Divide scares you with:
And while that portrays the climb as insanely steep, which it isn't (not at all).. it is STILL A GREAT BLOODY LONG CLIMB! It's 20 miles of going UP!  Here's what it looks like from my Strava data for this day's ride:

If you click on that image to enlarge it, you'll get the point that this is essentially 40km of long steady climbing. Again, not a bad grade, not steep, but long, man. Yikes it's a lot of climbing.

I was out of the hotel and pedalling through Cumberland by 5:30am... the mist still rising from the forested mountains around the city.. …

Isn't that cute, he's pulling a little orange trailer!

I thought I'd pause in my daily GAP reports, for a few "interlude"' posts - this one being about my choice to use a two-wheel Croozer Cargo trailer for this adventure.
PS - I didn't exactly hear the comment which makes up the title of this blog post, but I heard some very close equivalents while I was out riding for those 6 days!

As you can see in this picture (taken somewhere south of Connellsville I think), I ran rear panniers, and the trailer. The bulky stuff that I felt required the trailer, included:

tentsleeping bagsleeping mattcooking items (gas cannister, little cannister attachment, pot to boil water, etc)foodclothes, including rain gear
In my panniers, I had bike locks, bike repair tools, spare tubes, the large paperback book I was reading, spare bottle of water, a bag of miscellaneous things, like wallet, passport, Garmin charger, iPod Touch charger, flashlights, etc.

I guess there are two questions which arise here: a) did the Croozer work? b) would I …

GAP / Great Allegheny Passage : Day Three - Rockwood to Cumberland

On Day Three I rode (and coasted) from Rockwood into Cumberland, Maryland. Cumberland would be my turn-around point, and I would head north on Thursday, Day 4.

I woke early at the Husky Haven, had my coffee and packed up.
Rockwood to Meyersdale was uneventful. Good weather. The trail forested, and slightly uphill.
You pass the Salisbury Viaduct on this stretch, which is just an embarrassingly wonderful trail connection over highways and river.

I biked through Meyersdale and would eventually stop at a little trail-head called Deal, where I had my power bar and guzzled down some water. After Deal, you hit several interesting things all in one fairly short stretch:
The Eastern Continental Divide At 2392 feet, this is the highest point on the GAP trail, and you quickly descend down to Cumberland, which is at 620 feet.
The Big Savage Tunnel
Big Savage is a km of biking through near darkness. When I biked through on this southbound trip, the orange lights you see in the ceiling were out for th…

Greater Allegheny Passage / GAP Trail : Day Two - Connellsville to Rockwood

On day two of my six day GAP trip, I went from Connellsville to Rockwood.
Actually - since I departed on day two from the KOA, which is at mile-marker 92, my full mileage would have been around 48 miles / 77km.

Connellsville to Rockwood is pretty much the most intensely journeying through forest and nothing but forest stretch of this trip. Despite the couple of towns you pass (Ohiopyle and Confluence), you fly right past them, and are immediately back in forest again.

I had great weather to start. The river on the left again, and cliffs on the right. The Youghiogheny River has a lot more rapids down here though, so it is actually more scenic and more beautiful a view over these miles.

As I was headed southbound, I had three different groups of cyclists fly by me, headed northbound. They looked like local club cyclists out for a morning ride. They were really tearing it up, but they also had the advantage of the slight downhill grade of the trail. Everyone talks about how flat the GAP …

Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) Trail : Day 1 : Pittsburgh to Connellsville

On Monday June 12, I started the first day of a six day trip, south on the GAP trail from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, and then back north again, returning to Pittsburgh. This was a solo, self-supported ride, on a Kona Dew Deluxe hybrid, hauling a Croozer Cargo trailer (I'll have more to say about the logistical and spiritual consequences of hauling a cargo trailer in a separate post later on!).

Day 1 = Pittsburgh to Connellsville, or more accurately, the KOA a few miles north of Connellsville.

In theory, if you're biking the GAP, you start at the trail-head in Point State Park.

I started seeing some conflicting news about an immediate disconnect in the GAP trail, starting right at Point State Park. There isn't a continuous trail that you just start riding on - you have to do some Pittsburgh street riding right away, and then return to the trail a few blocks away. I registered for an account in the Bike Pittsburgh message boards, and got some insider advice on how to handle th…

Great Alleghney Passage aka the GAP Trail, Part 2 / Gear

I am indeed doing the GAP trail, in just a few weeks now.
As mentioned in my previous post, I'm doing Pittsburgh to Cumberland, and then biking back up to Pittsburgh again. Most nights tent camping along the trail.

I thought I'd do a post about the gear I'll be using. At least the "big" pieces, i.e. the bike!

I wanted to use my 2006 Jamis Nova... a cyclocross bike that has lots of mounting ability for fenders racks etc.

I actually love my Jamis. It was one of the bikes I was riding when I started this blog about 10 years ago now, doing my crazy bike commute to / from north Oshawa from downtown Toronto. For about two years now it has been my "Zwifting" bike... sitting in my basement on a trainer, never seeing the light of day. (sniff!). Anyway, I "wanted" to use my Jamis, until I tried attaching the hitch for my new cargo trailer to the bike (see cargo trailer below). Not sure if you can tell very well from this picture, below, but the dropouts…