It’s not widely known outside of this household that I have a goal to bicycle to the highest point in all 50 states. Well, at least the highest point that is accessible via bicycle, generally on a paved road. It is a lofty goal indeed, but I’m not super strict about the rules… and I’m not in any huge hurry. I just like riding.
As of last week I had 4 states down, including some big ones (Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, & Hawaii). When I was planning my trip to Washington D.C. this past weekend I took a quick glance at some web sites and saw that Pennsylvania & Maryland had high points that were not very far out of my way (additionally West Virginia, Ohio, & Indiana, but I thought two would suffice for a single weekend). So I took my bike and thought if I had time I would ride them, if not no big deal.
I drove for nine or so hours by the time I reached Meyersdale, PA, at the foot of Mt. Davis. The weather was nice, and I was sick of driving, so I rode. As I was coming into town I noticed there were many wind generators perched atop the rolling hills. As soon as I stepped out of the car I realized why. It was windy. Really windy. And unfortunately, it was going to be a headwind the entire way up Mt. Davis.
The elevation of Meyersdale was 1935 ft. and the summit of Mt. Davis is 3213-ish ft. So it was a decent change in elevation, but it was no Mauna Kea. As I began the 10 mile ride to the summit I quickly realized this climb was going to be a little different than many of the previous mountains I have ridden. It was really just one large rolling hill after another. It wasn’t very steep (the average grade was 3.2%, with one short 13% section). There were no switchbacks. The strong headwind made it tough, and I didn’t have the best legs after nine hours of driving, so it was slow going.
I rode through lots of farmland and passed many people I assume were Amish. There were several horse drawn buggies and a few diesel powered tractors (diesel is apparently okay for the Amish). Everyone waved and seemed rather friendly.
Towards the top the landscape finally turned from large rolling hills into a real actual climb. It got a little steeper at this point, but it was still managable. There was a picnic area at the summit, a sign indicating the significance of the location, and a short distance away was an observation tower. The wind made walking up the tower stairs an interesting experience, but I survived.
The long, straight roads and strong tailwind allowed for some fast descending. At one point I passed a group of Amish children who all waved to me as I sped past at 35 mph. When I returned to Meyersdale, I packed up my bike, got back in the car, and drove the remaining three hours to D.C. It was a good way to break up the monotony of driving such a long distance in one day.
|High Point Ride Information|
|Date:||2008-04-04 3:19 PM EDT|
|High Point:||Mt. Davis|
|Climb Distance:||3.5 miles|
|Climb Ascent:||1010 feet|
|Climb Average Grade:||5.4%|
|Climb Maximum Grade:||13%|
|Ride Distance:||19.4 miles|
|Ride Total Ascent:||1973 feet|
|Ride Maximum Speed:||45.7 miles/hour|
|Ride Start:||Meyersdale, PA (1935 feet)|
|Ride End:||Meyersdale, PA (1935 feet)|