For many years here in the Baltimore Washington area, one of my favorites rides has been the Thurmont MD Civil War Century put on by the Baltimore Bicycling Club in mid September. I generally do the 65 mile metric century, which takes you through 4 different covered bridges, through the Gettysburg Battlefield National Park and gives you about 3000 feet of climbing – including some 12% climbs near the Liberty Mountain Ski resort.
I’ve done this ride unsupported before. Fairfield PA is at about the 31 mile mark and is usually the site of a CWC rest stop at a fire station featuring fresh tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches, but there was also a small grocery store across the road for a DIY rest stop. But, that has shut down and I had to go off route a bit to the Fairfield Mini-Mart, which in the best of times is pretty sad. I now know that during a pandemic, it is off my list…
But, after climbing the hills from Emmitsburg MD to Fairfield PA, the rest and a SANS meal bar did the trick. The next stretch has a few short steep hills, but then you ride through the Sachs Covered Bridge into the Gettysburg Battlefield. The bridge is closed to cars, only bikes and pedestrians can cross – I was surprised to see lots of cars and people. As the picture above shows, they had setup for a small wedding inside the covered bridge but they had to leave room for walkers and cyclists to cross the bridge – inventive measures for challenging times.
The Battlefield has more short steep ups and downs but many interesting monuments to distract. Once you leave the Battlefield, it is a 20 mile or so shot mostly south, thorough farmlands with great views of the Catoctin Mountains to the west and over a few more covered bridges. The wind was out of the NW, so I actually had a nice tail wind for a few segments.
My wife had dropped me off in Thurmont and then went up to visit her brother in Fayettville PA, and we were meeting other friends for dinner in Baltimore later on, so I had time constraints – Carole would be waiting for me to arrive no later than 2:30pm. I cranked hard, made it by 2:10 or so.
Next year I hope to be doing that ride with the usual crowd of 750 or so other cyclists.