Tuesday, August 11, 2015

On the Trail of the Lower NCR: Ashland to Mile Marker 10

Through fortuitous circumstances, I find myself suddenly needing to get my ass off the couch and start training for a 30-mile bikeride: the MS Bike-a-thon in New York City in early October. I can do 15 miles easy -- but that's only half. (I welcome your sponsorship, as I have to raise a minimum amount to participate. Click here if you're interested in helping sponsor our ride and donating to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society!)

I've blogged about riding on the NCR several times before (check out here), but with today's ride, I've now ridden almost the entire Maryland length of the NCR Trail (except for 1 mile of it). The plan for this ride was to meet at the parking lot off of Paper Mill Road in Ashland, then bike up to mile marker 10, and turn around: an easy 18 miles.

During previous rides, we saw posts with W emblazoned on it, and I couldn't understand what that meant. W for west? But they faced in both directions (besides, the trail runs north/south not east/west). I found the answer recently while reading about the Western Maryland Rail Trail: the W stands for "whistle," as in "blow the."

Ironically, at mile 15 we're all feeling good: WE CAN DO THIS! And we start discussing the C&O Canal tow path and I mention how I started biking just to do a 4-day ride along the tow path. Then we discuss how expensive the tours are for rides like that (I'd really like to spend each night at a hotel, with a hot shower and a really soft pillow). And suddenly we have crafted a plan for the ride next fall. So in addition to the MS Bike-a-thon, now I also must start preparing for 4 days and at least 120 miles (yeah, so we're not going to ride the WHOLE length), possibly also this fall.

Where: 1235 Paper Mill Trail, Ashland, MD

Hours: Dawn to dusk

Dogs: Absolutely. We saw dog walkers, joggers with dogs, and even a cyclist with a happy dog jogging along!

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