Keystone MS-150


This was a two-day event held July 23-24. The route was from Hollidaysburg to Penn State University as the official meeting site was the Penn Stater Hotel.


We rolled out at 7:00 a.m. in waves. I was in the third wave. The first mile or two was sorting out faster from slower riders and getting in with the right pace. For a while I was sitting in with a guy on a recumbent and his friend, who was riding with his bib straps undone. I was going to say something but figured if his friend never told him then maybe he rides that way. Later I saw him at an aid station and they were pulled up.

Kristi is 31; Kayla is 25
Kristi is 31; Kayla is 25

Once on Reservoir Road I was pedaling a comfortable pace when a group of about eight riders came by. I jumped in with them. The pace was a little higher than I wanted but I was committed and didn’t want to drop out. But two riders did. Then a couple more. Then two more. And just like that, I was out in front by myself.


We rode through Roaring Spring to our first aid station at Ritchey’s Dairy. I wasn’t there long and head out through Martinsburg. When the one traffic light turned green four riders went in front of me and I was right behind them. We were riding the same pace and I was sitting in. I was willing to do some work but two guys were pulling and the other two were sitting in and I was behind them. I enjoyed a free ride to Williamsburg to the second aid station.


Ugh. I wasn’t feeling well and spent more time at the aid station than I wanted. Once one the road I rode solo and picked my way through the riders. We rode up through Spruce Creek to Camp Kanesatake, a Christian camp in Spruce Creek. Lunch was served and was delicious.

A free ride to Williamsburg. Sue Roadman (R).
A free ride to Williamsburg. Sue Roadman (R).

As I got ready to roll out I noticed the group of four that gave me a free ride was rolling out too. I made a conscious decision not to sit in with their group and I really didn’t feel like riding at any pace other than my own. I let them go up ahead.


The next 14 miles were surreal. I saw no one up the road and, occasionally, looked back to see if anyone was gaining. I was all alone. There was an occasional turn marking to let me know I was on the right road and/or someone at an intersection.


I did catch a glance at someone about a quarter mile up the road. For a while I wasn’t gaining, and the road, with curves and forest, made it difficult to see anyone. Eventually, about 13 miles in, I saw I was gaining and recognized the rider as the one woman in the group I was with earlier.


I thought when I caught her that I would offer to ride with her to Penn State. She was struggling. When I did catch her I chided her group about dropping her. Before I could tell her my plan, we came upon a rest stop. Never got her name but she splits time between Bedford and Boulder so we talked Ride the Rockies.


A group from the Blair Bicycle Club rolled out together and we both jumped in for the ride to Penn State. I talked with some of the riders and we kept a reasonable pace for the final 13 miles.


At the Penn Stater I showered then took a shuttle to downtown State College and grabbed something to eat. When I was done I made a a phone call back to the hotel and I was picked up within 12-15 minutes.


A delicious breakfast was served. I was in line to leave by 6:45 a.m. and was in the second group to roll out. Like yesterday, the first couple of miles was just sorting out different riders’ speeds.


I talked to Tina Kunstbeck who was wearing an awesome Kick Cancer kit. And then I was riding in Tina’s group. For 45 miles.


At the first aid station we rolled into together but I was not about to presume that I would ride with them. They rolled out then 30 seconds I left. I didn’t think I would catch the group of four but I did. Although we hadn’t been riding a pace line before we began in earnest.


One of the guys asked me how old I was. I told him 61 and he said “I sure hope when I’m old I can ride as well as you.” That made me giggle. I think it was a compliment.


We arrived at the third rest stop which was also a lunch stop. I went inside and got lunch and discovered my group had rolled on. Oh well. No malice intended and they may have even tried to find me before leaving. But it was all good.


I like to take pictures. I missed three good photo ops today while riding in the group because I was not free to hit the brakes and take a photo. Now I could.


I rode ahead to aid station four in Bellwood. I was alone. I did not catch anyone and two riders briefly caught me but I passed them back.


After the Bellwood stop, a group of five caught me and I joined in. We rode to the finish. The only obstacle of having a real good time today was the four to five miles in Altoona. City traffic.


I arrived back and was able to shower at the school (Hollidaysburg High School). We had lunch at noon which made that 10:00 lunch stop unnecessary which is, I’m sure, why my group kept rolling after a quick water break.


It was a good ride. I rode carrying a name on my back – I RIDE FOR _______*  – and only two people asked me about my name. My take is this is mostly a local ride well supported by riders, but many without an MS connection. In that way it was much different than my cancer riders. I had hoped for more of a discussion but oh well. It is a great cause and I’m glad I rode.

* There was a name on my back. But I am not displaying it on the Internet. If you really need to know, come ride with me.







I was here in October for what would be my last ride with my dad. However, on that day we rode from the Markleton to Harnedstown trail heads, not quite making it to Confluence or Ohiopyle.  Today would be a solo effort to Ohiopyle.

I put on some arm warmers for what looked to be a beautiful day. But it was cool. Leaving Markleton, I was in a thick forest. And I was way down in a valley formed by the Casselman River so no sunshine yet permeated the trail.

I came to the Pinkerton Trestles. Trestle. Tunnel. Trestle. This place is beautiful. No picture can really capture how beautiful it is.

Pinkerton Low Trestle looking towards the tunnel

Approaching Confluence I was crossing a trestle, not at high speed, when a boy not quite in control of his Golden Retriever, let her cross in front of me stretching the leash. I stopped. The parents were horrified and apologetic. I laughed. I told them they must let me meet their dog.

Always stop and meet the dogs

At Confluence I was on the original GAP rail trail. It may be just as popular today as it was in 1985. It is beautiful.

Youghiogheny River at Confluence

This may be the prettiest 10-mile stretch of the 335 miles between Pittsburgh and D.C. The trail hugs the Youghiogheny River. But it was also crowded with casual cyclists (think rental bikes – it’s what they do at Ohiopyle).

Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle

The trail has nice restrooms at Ohiopyle. It is a hub of activity including restaurants and outfitters (both rafts and bikes).


The bridge over the Yough was crowded with inexperienced cyclists. Good for them as the kids are learning to love riding their bikes! But just 1/2 mile farther to the loop bridge and the trail was empty.

Youghiogheny River from the Loop Bridge at Ohiopyle

The ride back was mostly uneventful. A stop in Confluence for some ice cream. And one detour by choice. At the Pinkerton Tunnel I chose not to ride 800′ through the tunnel but to take the “bypass” as it is now signed. For years the tunnel wasn’t open and one had to follow the river. It is an additional mile and one half of solitude. No riders on this section.


It was just a beautiful day on the bike. Trails are not my preferred method of biking but for a couple of days I have really enjoyed riding off road.



Cumberland by Dust


Fifteen years ago I was all about riding these great rail trails. They are still fun, for a change, but not generally my preferred riding.

Canal Place, Cumberland, Md.

The last time I was here with a bike the trail wasn’t open from Cumberland to Frostburg. Andrew and I took the train, the Western Maryland Scenic Railway, and put our bikes on the train. And that was cool.

But the rail trail has been open for years now. It is one of a handful in the country where a rail trail shares the right of way with an active railroad. Plus it also shares a tunnel.

I started at Mile 0 at Canal Place where the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) and the C&O Canal Towpath meet. From here is it 184 miles to Washington, D.C. and 150 miles to Pittsburgh.


The first two and one half miles are paved. I brought the mountain bike and was starting to wonder if this is now a paved route. (It should be.) The pavement ends once one reaches the bridge at the Narrows.


The trail opens up, following the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. Before 1975 this was a two track right of way. Today it is one track for the train and a crushed limestone path for bikes. And walkers.


At Mile 5.5 (I think) I came to the Brush Tunnel. I believe this was the big hang up in completing the trail from Cumberland to Frostburg. The lawyers for the railroad didn’t want anyone close to the tracks, especially in a tunnel. In the end, the tracks and trail both go through the tunnel, separated by a cable guard rail. And a warning sign not to be in the tunnel when a train approaches.


Although this was my first time on a bike, I have been up this trail before. Almost two years ago we took, Andy, Aiden, and Annabelle on a steam train ride up to Frostburg. And years earlier Andrew and I took our bikes up to Frostburg on the train.


The train had too much crushed limestone for my liking. Snap. Crackle. Pop. Every revolution sounded like Rice Krispies. And the dust was something else. My bike was covered in dust as was the water bottle.


About two miles from Frostburg the train tracks turn up towards the town and station while the “main line” continues straight. When I reached the Frostburg I was planning to turn around. But I checked the map and saw the Borden Tunnel was only a couple miles up the road. That was my new goal.


After reaching the Borden Tunnel I kept going. How far was the Mason Dixon line? A new goal.


I reached the Mason Dixon line. It is now a small park instead of just a sign which it was the last time I had been through here on my bike four years ago. Then I turned around.

Mason Dixon Line

At Frostburg I took the road up to the train station. There wasn’t much happening because the train has been closed since spring due to a landslide above two miles east of here. So no trains make it to Frostburg.

Near the site of the landslide closing the train

Back on the trail I was just shaking the lactic acid from my legs and adjusting my Garmin on my bike. A couple passed me. That shouldn’t have happened. Didn’t they see I was merely adjusting things and then going to ride?


I decided I would pass them back and they would never see me again. I did and they didn’t. I took off and rode @ 20 mph for most of the next hour. On limestone. On a mountain bike. It was a dusty day but otherwise very pleasing day on the bike.