Crush the Commonwealth "rules" and/or route help

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willie p
Participant
#

I know the rules are pretty simple, but can someone clarify the following for me.

Does the “clock” start when the group leaves the Point State Park?

If the above statement is “yes” – is it safe and acceptable to presume that all other stopping is purely optional (ie – not required) after an individual competitor departs Point State Park.

Thank you for your help. Wpe


reddan
Keymaster
#

Willie,

I believe that’s the case, with the caveat that the initial rollout to the trailhead in McKeesport is a neutral group ride.

Of course, Eric’s got the final say…


willie p
Participant
#

Dan- you’ve been on this ride before (as have I)…you hit the nail on the head. I was confused as to what happens once someone gets to McKeesport.

I think neutral rollout is a good idea but once that’s done with – everyone cool with going their own pace and either riding or stopping (…at the C-store)…

w


eMcK
Participant
#

You guys have the idea.

I plan to control the speed a bit better this year, maybe actually use one of those newfangled cyclocomputer things.

The neutral roll out is mainly to keep everyone on the route to Mckeesport, it gets confusing.


reddan
Keymaster
#

Eric, you planning anything interesting for the McKeesport leg?

I liked the stay-on-837 approach when we did it in 2009; nice and simple.


nick
Participant
#

i heard a rumor that the bike trail is ‘finished’ between the waterfront and duquesne. anyone know if this is true?


sarapgh2
Participant
#

From what I saw and rode a few weeks ago, the waterfront to duquesne section seems finished to me (bridges are still gated, but they’re done). depending on when they’re officially opened, it seems like a much better alternative than 837. I’m on a quest to get an official date for the opening this year, I’ll post what I find out.


eMcK
Participant
#

If the trail is open, ride trail, if not, 837.

Heck, if the trail is open a neutral start is probably no longer needed.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Kinda curious – Have any women attempted CtC? Have any finished?


willie p
Participant
#

My2c/fwiw: Route 837 via 2nd ave and Hot Metal bridge at 6am (or whatever time we departed in ’09) was pretty low key and presumably as more people are doing this event, having all those folks wind through turnstiles at trail entrances/exits is kinda dangerous.


wsh6232
Participant
#

I recall there being at least two female starters in 2009. One of them was in the group I rode with during the Chambersburg-Ardentsville segment. I had a hard time keeping up.


willie p
Participant
#

I explicitly (right word?) – remember two females.

One had pigtails and had a very large battery powered radio taped to her handlebars (like, not a portable radio, per se).

the other one had a milk crate bungee’d to the back of her bike and that thing totally blew apart well before sutersville on the trail.

I remember one of the female riders posting after the event that she made it to Philly on Monday due to various mechanicals that she encountered.


wsh6232
Participant
#

Yes, the gal with the handlebar radio was the one in the group I rode with leaving Chambersburg on Saturday night. I remember hearing Radiohead and Bob Marley during the LONG climb up the mountain to mr ed’s candy shop.


willie p
Participant
#

…I thought it was Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum?

and for reference (personally), I was climbing up that stretch at about 9am on Saturday morning wondering what the hell I was doing. I was in some serious pain at that point and had to stop halfway up at about the playouse (Pine Grove Furnace) and again at the Pines Shoppes (on the right, in the parking lot) before hooking the left on the biglerville road (or whatever that road was called). I also had to walk a hill or two on that stretch before finally getting into a rhythm after arendstville.

I was on a 3speed so gearing was limited, but nonetheless – I was delirious from getting up at 1am in Breezewood. The ride from breezewood to Chambersburg was not that easy.


nick
Participant
#

both the women who attempted ctc in 2009 finished it.


oswald
Participant
#

Howdy folks,

I’m thinking about coming down from north-central PA to give CtC a try this year. I have plenty of experience with centuries, and just completed a double century last summer, but am a total novice when it comes to big miles over multiple days. Any advice for a first-timer?


wsh6232
Participant
#

If you can tackle a double century then you’re definitely fit enough to do CTC. Bring an extra warm layer and rain gear even if there’s only a 40% chance it’ll be needed…the forecast for Pittsburgh could be nice, but Philly could be dramatically different. Also, there are gigantic segments with very few services, so always load up on food when the chance arises (and make sure its quality food…not donuts). Other than that, you just need to decide if you want to stop at hotels or if you want to do the camping/stealth camping option. I would bring a light summer sleeping bag for emergencies, or if you bonk really hard and its a long way until the next town.


willie p
Participant
#

well, if you are making the trip all the way from Smethport or wherever you are from, you need to be able to do a double century (in one day) with about 3-4 hours sleep between the first double century and then on the second day, do the second double century.

…that’s all and then you are done!


nick
Participant
#

its really not as hard as it sounds, especially with your experience. the route from pgh to philly is mostly downhill (except for that one really big mountain..). stay on your bike as long as you can, getting on and off and stopping a lot will wear you out. if you’re new to big mileage days back to back, the second day will be the hardest. so do a practice two big days in a row before the CTC.


nick
Participant
#

wsh

i take issue with your doughnut comment. i did my first CTC while eating nothing but doughnuts! it was great.


reddan
Keymaster
#

+1 doughnuts.

When it comes to distance riding, I strongly endorse “listening to your body” when it comes to food, assuming you’re already taking in at least a minimum number of calories. If pulled pork, Krispy Kremes, or takeout sushi really appeal, go for it.

Of course, this philosophy might explain how I manage to remain slightly ovoid despite riding stupid-distance on a regular basis.


wsh6232
Participant
#

On one of Jim’s brevets I ate nothing but Sheetz donuts at every stop, and ended up finishing with a really bad headache. My normal day-to-day sugar consumption is really low, so that might explain it. But yeah, gotta replace those calories.


bd
Participant
#

Is there a single google map or something similar out there with the entire route on it or just the pdfs from the DOT for route S?


reddan
Keymaster
#

This is pretty close, but may not be entirely up to date with Penn-DOT’s changes.

When in doubt, follow the signs.


Mick
Participant
#

@reddan When it comes to distance riding, I strongly endorse “listening to your body”…

(Deliberately and misleadingly snipped)

About 30 hours into a 36-hour CTC, your body might be saying, “Dude, we’ve had enough exercise for now, thanks”


reddan
Keymaster
#

@mick: At 30 hours in, I can assure you that my body has long since stopped speaking in coherent fashion.


dwillen
Participant
#

There is also an elite group that totally ignores what their body is saying and even gives it a little backtalk.


reddan
Keymaster
#

Calling him a member of an “elite group” is like saying Chuck Norris is a “bit tough”.


oswald
Participant
#

Thanks for the tips, guys. The “eat what you’re hungry for” thing makes sense to me. And I have a little summer weight sleeping bag that I’ll pack for just-in-case. Probably a space blanket/tarp type thing too.

A couple of questions about logistics:

What do you recommend for navigation, paper maps/cue sheets or gps? Is the Route S marked well enough to be followed easily without too much cue sheet or gps reading?

And I have a ride home from Philly, but I’ll probably take the bus into Pittsburgh and will need to find a place to stay Thursday night. Any recommendations for a cheap room not too far from the start?


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
#

“…your lungs are burning, you’ve got the taste of blood in your mouth, your legs are burning…”

The taste of blood. Serious.


reddan
Keymaster
#

@oswald: With regards to navigation, you might want to prepare basic paper cue sheets just so you know how far it is until the next town; that said, the route is signed so well that you can plan on getting pretty much the whole way from Rockwood to Valley Forge just by following the signs.

The one exception is the abandoned PA turnpike; once you hit the eastern end, you’ll need to turn left and go 1/2 mile or so to rejoin Route S.


eMcK
Participant
#

I’m glad I can be out of town and away from the internet and these questions get answered anyway.

In fact I meant to start a general CtC thread, but I didn’t. This one is pretty swell. I’ve got nothing else to add.


reddan
Keymaster
#

Just ’cause I’m slacking at work, and I keep typing the same things in different places, I put together a FAQ for CTC.

Linky

Eric, if there’s anything you’d like added/changed/removed, let me know.


oswald
Participant
#

Awesome. Thanks again for the info and especially the FAQ, reddan. That’s a big help. See y’all in April!


that guy
Participant
#

HEY!

Remember this ride? It’s in like, one day.

Here’s the route: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/381082

Come try it!

Here’s some last-minute stuff:

Ride STARTS at 5:00 AM at the fountain in Point State Park.

Neutral roll out until we get off 837 and onto the new trail. We will be rolling out a bit slower to make sure we don’t drop anyone.

Follow the route. If you get off route, return to the route where you left it.

And of course: No support. Meaning bring what you need to buy/scrounge it along the way.


thehistorian
Participant
#

I was going to warn you about the road construction on the S route in Phoenixville, but it looks like you bypassed it. Well played.

Good skill to all the participants. Perhaps I’ll see some of you as you pass my house – I’m on the S route a couple of miles from Phoenixville.


edmonds59
Participant
#

Just out of curiosity, why do you do this now? Why not wait until the weather doesn’t suck a**? Like, June 21 would seem to be the ideal day to do this. Or is the weather part of the thing? Just wondering.


that guy
Participant
#

The weather is part of the fun! Looks pretty nice this year, except maybe getting cold on Friday night.

You can follow some of us as we go at twitter.com/bicycletimes


TheLivingTed
Participant
#

so jealous…


Mick
Participant
#

You guys are all very ill.

I mean that in the nicest possible way.

@that guy – Just curious – if someone gets lost and somehow makes a few dozen forward miles before he finds the path again, does he or she really have to go back to where they left the path?

(I’m guessing that even if the “rules” said yes, as a practical matter it’s “no”)

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