A New Year’s Day Ride


The temperature was 37° when I headed out for my New Year’s Day ride. The road in Camp Harmony was mud covered by ice. I tried to stay on the side in the mud rather than risk spilling on the ice.

Memories abound at Camp Harmony. Last year I was one month removed from cancer surgery. My exercise last year was to walk up Plank Road during a blizzard. And dealing with post-surgical issues.

This year I had to ride. Bundled up, I started up Plank Road to Slagle Hill Road. It started raining. I thought my ride would be cut real short riding in a cold rain but I lasted longer than the rain.

Plank Road

My descent down Slagel Hill could have been fun but the road was treated with a dirty black gravel mix, presumably with salt. But unlike treated Virginia roads which are noticeably white, these roads were black. In short, the descent was pretty treacherous.

Lake Quemahoning

At Mile 4 I stopped to photograph the steel grate bridge, presumably called the Green Bridge since this was Green Bridge Road. At Mile 8 I could have turned up Plank Road and made a nice 10-11 mile loop but I continued to Hollsopple. I had ridden this stretch three times last summer; once in a Somerset-Johnstown-Ligonier loop, and twice on my way to Punxsutawney. It’s much nicer in the summer.

Green Bridge

I followed Whistler Road next to Stoney Creek. Stoney Creek flows from here to Johnstown. A cyclist on this road is a rare site – even more a cyclist in January.


At Hooversville I saw a suspension bridge and knew I had to follow it. It crossed the Stoney Creek over to Hooversville Road. 

I then took Hooversville Road up to Plank Road then back to camp just as the rain started to come down harder. A 20-mile loop is a great way to begin 2011!

Royal Order of the Iron Crotch


My local cycling club, Potomac Pedalers Touring Club, has an award, which may be tongue in cheek, but it is called the Iron Crotch Award. This recognition goes to anyone who rides 5,000 miles in a year. And I qualified.

To qualify, I had to submit a simple questionnaire.  

  • TOTAL MILES: 5,102
  • LONGEST RIDE – Civil War Century, with some extra back tracking — 104.2 
  • % MILES COMMUTING — 11.4% – It’s 40+ miles one way and I rode 14 segments plus bonus miles
  • % MILES PPTC RIDES — 9.2% on 9 rides including one which I led
  • Date on which 5,000 was achieved – November 27 on Oysterburg Road, Oley, Pa., the longest and steepest hill on the LIVESTRONG Philly route. Just me on that bitter November day coming back to make a statement that I won’t be stopped by cancer.
  • Most miles in a Month — 841 (June)
  • Most miles in a week — 300 – in France, during the Tour de France
  • Number of Zero mile weeks – Eight
  • Number of 100 mile days – Five
  • Most interesting story – Tie — On August 7 I was biking 80 miles from Somerset, Pa. to Punxsutawney, Pa. About 30 miles from my destination I came upon two angry Rottweilers who decided to attack me. I dismounted and was trying to hold them at bay when they were suddenly counter-attacked by a five pound Yorkshire Terrier. The Yorkie came out of nowhere and attacked them to protect me. She quickly fled, unharmed, and when other people arrived, they did too.
  • On August 20, I was riding in North Conway, NH, when I was approached by two guys wearing full Garmin kits. I had to do a double take to see that they weren’t club riders imitating Tyler Farrar. I instantly knew they were real Garmin riders from their U23 team. And they asked me if they could jump in. And let me pull for five miles.

Maybe the worst thing about riding far in one year is the desire to surpass that the next. It’s going to be tough. I tried to recreate 2009 with Garmin and log entries and it appears that I rode 2,100 miles the year before. So double mileage in one year. Not too shabby, I’d say.

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