Hey folks, Crush the Commonwealth is on April 24th. I know you all were dying to know that. What is it, you ask? Just google it, m’kay?
My feelings about CTC are a bit mixed.
In my opinion, the highlights are: The abandoned turnpike at night. The route between Somerset and Cowans Gap is pretty great. Hilly as hell, but beautiful and fun. Ohiopyle is a treat too, as is the feeling of finishing at a notable place, after completing a fairly hard 620K-ish ride in April…in PA – this is not a minor feat.
….but the lowlights are: Much of the route is on busy state roads, and the traffic light homicidal motorist laden route through Chambersburg, York, and Lancaster sucks pretty bad. Riding on the GAP sucks, if the surface well, sucks. As in sucks out your will to live as it sucks your tires deeper into the trail…. (but the GAP is hard to avoid… so we live with it, and try to admire the semi-beauty of a still-bare springtime forest….)
Oh, speaking of York:
Really though, the lowlights mentioned above, combined with typically terrible weather (craptastic is the word Dan B. invented to describe it….), makes for an annually iffy proposition. I developed an alternate route, that keeps the good stuff, and removes most of the above mentioned suckdom. But its not the official route, so therefore is meaningless. I may fully scout and cue this and submit it as a RUSA permanent one of these days. If I did, I could crush the commonweath on a nice route, on a spring weekend of my choosing. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Naturally, I’d pick a weekend with reasonable weather. I’d argue the only reason to put up with total crap weather-wise is if the official event still holds a large degree of magic for you. It still has some magic for me, but not enough to endure 20 hours or more of 30 mph headwinds and/or a 40 deg F + rain.
So, anyways, here is the alternative route (still being worked on): http://ridewithgps.com/routes/6762091
Code name: Trans PA. (yeah, name concept shamelessly copied from Trans Iowa)
Anyone game to scout this thing come April? I would anticipate an overnight in Shippensburg, by the way.