Saturday, I had 40 miles to knock out in Training Peaks. Earlier in the week, I scoped out a trail that I had not done before that I had heard was awesome! Paved, flat and uninterrupted – The Western Maryland Rail Trail.
I wanted something a little closer to home that I wouldn’t have to worry about cars and such. The weather was looking iffy, but the weather report said it would be cloudy on Saturday and rain on Sunday. It would suck for the Half Marathon but so be it. I packed everything up on Friday night and was ready to roll.
Mmmm Hmmm…I want that job where you can be dead ass wrong 50%+ of the time and still get paid the big bucks. I woke up early on Saturday to rain. Uggahh!!
I piddled around and wasted a hour debating what I would do. I stared at my trainer for what seemed like an eternity dreading 40 miles on the trainer. It is just like the dreadmill…hours of going nowhere, not fast – just ongoing suffering. I then tried to figure out when I could fit it in? After the half marathon? YEAH RIGHT. I’m dedicated, but I know EXACTLY what would happen – NOTHING.
Then it hit me – these conditions just might be what it will be like at IMMD. Cold, raining, windy. Before I could talk myself out of it, I grabbed my rain jacket and got in the car. Western Maryland Rail Trail is a fast hour and 10min from my door and I was there in no time. I started at the beginning of the trail at Ft. Frederick State Park (exit 12 of of I70). Less than a mile off the exit is a free parking lot (Big Pool Junction). There are restrooms to use so you can relieve yourself privately before you get started.
The trail is BEAUTIFUL. 22 miles of almost totally uninterrupted (nolights, road crossings – except for the occasional tow path crossing and the parking lot entrances in Hancock), completely flat, paved trail. AWESOME!
At approximately mile 10/11, you come into Hancock where the C&O Bike Shop is located. There are other wonderful restaurants and ice cream shop if you are so inclined. If you drive up to Exit 3, there is another free lot right before the town center. This might be a better option if you plan on doing a double. You are at the mid point of the trail and thus you would never be that far from the Bike Shop and your car if you ran into trouble that you couldn’t fix on your own. I noticed that there were plenty of places along the route if you had to jump off for sustenance or a restroom. Plenty of nature though. The view and sights are along the way is beautiful.
Me – on the trail w/C&O Bike Shop in background
The first 15 miles were not bad at all. It was a light drizzle but most times it was just cloudy. At 15, the rain started to pick up so I decided to turn around before it got too bad.
Mile 15 – Snack break & decision to turn around
NOPE. The rain steadily pick up and was a pour for my last 10 back to the car. Amazing how you find energy and speed when you want to GET OFF THE BIKE AND OUT OF THE RAIN.
I got 30 of the planned 40 done in the rain and I survived. My goal was to maintain a 16mph pace and I did approx. 15mph (rain, cold, wind). Not bad. I’m going back next weekend and do the whole trail. Who’s coming?
NOTE TO SELF: Also throw in car a change of clothes & towel when you are planning on crazy stuff. Actually, just put a jump bag in the car and leave it there.