Monday, October 31, 2005

Gwynns Falls Trail

Originally uploaded by bre.

The Gwynns Falls Trail has been one of my training ground of choice over the last week.
It's an interesting beast, winding through downtown Baltimore, past some blighted industrial wastelands, and shady neighborhoods, but also taking in some stunning wooded areas right in the City. The Trail is a biking/hiking path that is part of the east coast greenway.
It's not perfect, but it's a wonderful glimpse of what it would be like to have a network of bike paths covering the area. With a good bike path it's just as fast to get around town by bike...and more healthy...and a heck of a lot cheaper!

Why do I like it?
-Except for a few bits where the path becomes a bike lane on the street you don't have to worry about cars.
-It's mostly flat so you can ride tempo with a steady effort or push some intervals. Most everything else around here is made up of many short hills, which makes for a lot of brief, hard effort, followed by brief low effort descents.
-There are long stretches where you can pedal for miles without stopping.
-It's scenic. The Trail roughly follows the Gwynns Falls from the Inner Harbor out to West Baltimore. It's really a pretty, but heavily polluted, stream.
-It's perfect for the cross bike. Parts of it are dirt path and there's plenty of city debris, but mostly it's fast so cross tires are the ticket.
-I can leave from my front door and get in a good 2 hour ride with minimal time on city streets.

Another fun training ground for 'Cross is Patterson Park, site of CX Nationals in 2001 and a short ride from my house. Yesterday, Bernie and I frightened the dogwalkers as we zipped around the Park on a sweet cyclocross training loop that he and Joern devised. It had plenty of elevation gain and more than enough stairs and steep run-ups. We added a bunch of off-camber and tight twisty turns to prep for the Lower Allen race this Saturday. We had fun and got in a solid hour and a half of training. We should be going good if we can start somewhere other than the back of the scrum on Saturday.

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