Sunday, October 22, 2006


I lay awake last night trying to decide not only where to ride, but what to ride. Now that I have another one-speed bike in the quiver, it adds new variables to my ride location choices. Should I go back to Michaux and try to figure out more of the Dark Hollow trails? Or, try the Tuscarora Trail west of town? I'd heard the Tuscarora Trail had been neglected for a long time, but had recently been opened up again by the PATC. I knew I'd be taking a chance on this trail, as I know it gets far less bike traffic than the popular Michaux trails.

Leaving the house, I pointed the Subaru toward the west, and the mountain gap on Route 30, between Fort Loudon & McConnelsburg. Getting dressed at the trailhead and ready to lock up one bike. Which bike? I still hadn't decided which to ride yet. I stall on that decision for a couple more minutes while loading up the camelback. Hmm,what size tubes to take, 29er or 26er? Finally made the call for the 29er, since I didn't know the trail or where I'd actually be riding, and rain was expected, I opted for the easier bike with a freewheel.

The Tuscarora is a mini Appalachian Trail, for bikes! It's 252 miles long from near Carlisle, PA to Skyline Drive in VA. It goes through the Sleepy Creek WMA near Winchester, above the Cove Campground in Gore, VA, through the Wolf Gap area, through Elizabeth Furnace, and ends at the AT in Shenandoah Nat'l Park. The Bear Wallow descent is part of this trail, as is the climb and descent of Shawl Gap.

This trail begs for further exploration and epic rides. The short section I rode today was very well maintained and recently blazed. There were numerous side trails for loop options, many of these were not on the map, even though they were named & blazed. It was rocky, technical, ridge riding, just as it is down in Virginia. If the rest of the trail is like this, I'll spend a lot of time on it.

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