Crushing The Commonwealth

Location: pittsburgh, pa

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Final Stretch

One last thing we've been trying to figure out is the final stretch, from the end of the Youghiogheny River Trail (YRT) at Dead Man's Hollow near Boston/McKeesport, PA to Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh.

Reference the trail maps available at:

You'll see how the rail trail system turns to dotted marks, which means that the trail is not complete. I spent yesterday searching for a way around the busy highways of 148 and 837, but quickly found that reroute would involve hills and confusion and will not be worth the tradeoff of dealing with a little bit of traffic on these busy roads.

I advise going to AAA and getting a Pittsburgh city map. Print out the above maps, and highlight the route on your AAA map, knowing that you will need to deal with some congestion when you get into the city.

From McKeesport, follow 148N. Once you near the big blue bridge, follow the signs for Duquesne and 837. The on-ramp and the bridge itself has a small shoulder, but there's also a sidewalk on the opposite side of the bridge.

Once over the bridge, the road has construction cones closing off one lane. As of April 22, I was able to ride in the construction lane with zero traffic. Keep following 837 past Kennywood Theme Park, past the Waterworks Mall at Homestead.

Just after the Glenwood Bridge, the Rail Trail will appear again on your right. Hop the barrier, cross the railroad tracks, and ride the rail trail in to the new office developments in Pittsburgh's South Side. Take the Hot Metal Bridge across the Monongahela River, turn left, and take an immediate right, wrapping under, around and up to the Eliza Furnace Trail.

From there, follow whatever city streets you choose into Point State Park.

Sound good? Post with questions, and I'll try to clarify...

Tunnel Ride

I called up Penn DOT and got the low down on the tunnels.

On your Route S map, look at p. 15 at the little town of Hiram.
Where the route turns right, we will instead take a left on to an old pump station road.

This road is an old asphalt road and has not been maintained. Take this road about 100 yards, and you'll magically be on the old turnpike at the old Cove (or was it Cole?) Valley exit. Take this for 8.5 miles, watching the road carefully for any asphalt bubbles or potholes. This will take you all the way back to US Rte. 30.

the first tunnel is 1.3 miles long.
the second tunnel is .7 miles long.

We all must be very careful here. The adviser called the tunnel's condition ROUGH!


Saturday, April 22, 2006

6 Days Folks....

I've got way too much to do. Michael and I are nailing down last minute direstions for the trail out of McKeesport and the abandoned section of turnpike, I'm hoping the abrasions on my palms heal partially by Friday, and my packing and shopping lists are getting finalized.

I still need to pick up a few things; new chain and cassette, gloves, cheap sleeping pad, compass, buncha food. I also need to borrow a trunk bag from a co-worker whom never works the same shift as me.

I checked the long term weather for race day(s); highs in the 60's lows in the 40's, partly sunny. I probably just damned us to rain all three days.

My bike is in need of some love right now, I'm sure I'll end up staying up late Wed. night tuning up the poor old heap. I'll probably strip it mostly down to the bare frame, check the BB, pull the der. pulleys and regrease, check the grease in both hubs, check rim strips, lube cables, replace the rear pads, locktite the rack mounting bolts, and check the chainring bolts. I should get on this list soon rather than later.

I need to finalize the T-shirt logo and get to the screening studio. I hope 10 t-shirtrs are enough,but I'm guessing 5 will cover the field just fine.

Hope all is going well for you folks. Stay safe out there.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Rider Down

Well, I have some bad news regarding the insitgator of this race. Carol will most likely not be racing. I'd rather not go into details on a public website, so anyone who knows her personally should know that she's okay and is slated for a full recovery after a nasty off-road crash.

I plan on continuing the ride, and it sounds like the three other people who've posted here are still in. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to talk with Carol much about the race. Everyone, please keep her in your thoughts.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Two Weeks

Wow, 2 weeks to go. I'm still working on my packing list and regreting my lack of training mileage. Looks like I'll be depending on a good base from year round commuting and good endurance genetics.

I've rethought my packing list, going without panniers and bringing less gear. I also pulled a forgotten mid-size Topeak backpack from my stash of bags. I'm much happier with this bag than the Camelbak Hawg I was planning to use. When packed really full the Camelbak takes on a very round profile and never feels very secure to me. The Topeak covers a bit more of my back, but it sits much closer to me when full and has more pockets, including 2 I can reach while riding.

I still plan on camping and have procured an ultralight down sleeping bag and a bivy sack. In anything but a downpour I should be fine wioth these 2 items. If the weather looks bad I may bring a tent or just a small tarp.

How are your preperations going?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

What do YOU expect?

So I don't know if I'm the only one, but this is my first multi-day continuous road ride. Sure, I've done a few centuries and a few multi-day mountain bike rides based at one camp, but never have I ridden til I fell over, then gotten back up to do it again, and again.

I'm interested in hearing from everyone what they expect going in to this? Here are some baiting questions to get your mind brewing...

Do you have a mileage strategy? An eating strategy?
What do you think YOUR difficulties will be?
What are you going to do to pass the time-- listen to music, write mental poetry, hassle fellow riders?
Pedaling--are you a masher or a spinner, and how will this help or hurt you?
Most of all, what are you most looking forward to?

Either post here yourself, or comment in the comment box. Be sure to leave your name!
I'm super excited everyone! Can't wait til the launch date!