From Eric Goldberg:
Adam Newman, lots of photos
Jason Oddo convinced me to do this ride with him. I set out with zero training and a drive to have a good time. Spent the thursday in west philly sleeping in someone's back yard after running around chasing pizza and raw milk. At the liberty bell I was surprised by how many riders were planning to do the ride without any gear. Looks like the first year the majority opted not to do this ride self-supported. Leaving Philadelphia on the bike trail we very quickly got dropped by nearly everyone. I saw Chris and two other folks on route 100 and that was the last we saw of anyone else.
I brought a lot of cheese on the ride but left it in my bag for a few days before the ride so it tasted weird, but it still got the job done. Cheese plus gatorade, doughnuts, coffee and sheetz 4$ foot longs is mostly what I ate for the ride. We made it to Lancaster around 1pm and I decided to eat a quart of ice cream, it was a good idea. Friday was a beautiful day. It got dark about 3 hours from Chambersburg, we kept going with our lights on and up some monster hills. After we got to 30 it was a breeze all the way into Chamber-sprawl. We stopped at the dunkin doughnuts and grabbed a sizable bag of doughnuts from the dumpster. Someone called the cops and The Man came and hassled us. We made it to the Farm I worked on last year and slept in the barn. We slept a full eight hours then hung around the farm for several hours in the morning. The chickens we're really happy to see me, so was the barn cat. Although the barn Rat ate my sandwich.
Leaving Chambersburg took a few hours. After we left the farm we stopped at the mennonite mall and got delicious whole wheat butter soaked soft pretzels and mexican food. Then on the way out I bought quart of strawberries from a roadside stand. We talked about making an herbal gatorade out of wild plants that can be commonly found on the side of the road (maybe: coltsfoot, nettles, red clover, chickweed and catnip). This is when the wind started getting really bad. It remained bad all day and night until we finally made it to new baltimore for the night around 12:30am. It just started to rain as we pulled into the baseball field where we would sleep in the dugouts.
We woke up to near freezing temperatures, so we went back to bed, we slept for eight hours. Later when we finally got up, it was still really cold. The climb up to the top of the continental divide was OK. The mountain sheltered some of the wind, not all of it. When we rounded the bend at the very top we were buffeted by one hell of a breeze. Between the mountain top and somerset was horribly awful. When we got the sheetz in somerset it was 36 degrees. I bought a half dozen doughnuts and some coffee and sat outside to eat it. Then I saw snowflakes so I went back inside. We stood around inside the sheetz for an hour and a half eating, talking and pooping. The chocolate milk really hit the spot.
Finally made it to the bike trail around 3pm. We soon thereafter found ramps! lots of them in fact, we brought home about 5 pounds. It got dark around west newton, it got cold around boston. The riverton bridge was cool, we made it to the point at 1am. I called Eric when we got there and tried to trick him by saying we got there on sunday morning instead of monday, it didn't work.
From Dan (dmg)
My report: this year, I tried to 1. take it easy on day 1 to avoid collapsing after the halfway point (as I did 2 years ago) 2. make sure I was eating every hour and drinking every 30 minutes regardless of actual hunger or thirst. I started out feeling terrible, got thigh pain 20 miles into it and was dropped by everyone else on the Schuylkill trail in Philadelphia. Later, I managed to not get off the trail at the right spot and took an unintended trip to Phoenixville, where I somehow managed to get my first wind by the time I made it back to the route. Was feeling good all throughout York, then started lagging again so stopped at Sheetz for a sandwich and milkshake around 1. Met up with and was dropped by Bill somewhere thereafter, ate in Chambersburg, and continued on my own through Cowan's Gap State Park (which was really nice despite inky darkness and a couple of huge trucks. Somewhere after Burnt Cabins I caught up with 3 people from Philly, and together we found our way to the abandoned turnpike. I was somehow feeling better than I had all day, but everyone else was tapping out, and I figured that taking it easy was the best policy. We all split a room in Breezewood, and in the morning two of the Philadelphians threw in the towel and got someone to pick them up.
Eric and I continued on and met up with Ryan, who rode with us to Bedford before feeling like he needed to rest. As soon as we left Somerset, we started getting buffeted by 30-40mph winds that made the climbs oh so much worse, and the descents near death experiences. Finally made it to Somerset in the 3 worst hours I've spent on a bike in recent memory and ran into Jim Logan, who guided us to Walmart for some emergency clothing and then to the trailhead. The trails were littered with branches from the winds, but were otherwise pleasant enough. The trail was rocky enough to loosen one of the bolts that held my front fender in place, which required some emergency zip-tie surgery in the gloom. Stopped in Connellsville for food, and then headed back on the trail in the dark. Somewhere in this section I began to lose my mind, but Jim kept everyone talking and awake during the remaining 40 miles. As soon as we got off the trail around midnight and headed to McKeesport, the temperature fell into the 40s and started raining in earnest, and that plus the delirium sent us 5 miles in the wrong direction. Whoops. Jim eventually figured out our error, and we backtracked from Elizabeth to McKeesport, then got on 837 to Carson Street, to the jail trail, to the Point, and to victory at 3:30am. And then, as a final kick in the pants, I got a flat (the only one of the ride) a mile from my house in the pouring rain. Definitely the hardest day in the saddle that I've experienced yet, but I'm glad I did it. And that it's over.