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  1. #1
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    Blue Marsh Loop - How Bad is It?

    Until June I had not been riding much at all for several years. Since June I have been riding about once per week. I am in my late 30s and a borderline Clyde (about 6'1" is and maybe 203). I am in reasonable shape but nowhere near what I was in my younger days. My longest trail rides have been about 20 miles. On Sunday I covered 22 miles at Middle Run and White Clay. I was pretty beat by the end of the ride.

    I know Blue Marsh is about 30 miles and there aren't many easy escpe routes. I also hear some of the hills are killer. I am not sure I'm ready for this but might give it a shot tomorrow. Is it doable? I don't want to get stranded and have to sleep in the bushes. What do you think, go for it?

  2. #2
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    You don't have to do the entire 30 miles, opting for loops of about 20 or 10. Not technical so that will save energy, and the climbs are short. Someone here should be able to give you more details. I say go for it. Take plenty of water and some energy bars.

  3. #3
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    Go to the visitor center and get a trail map. Make a right out of the visitor center (in your car) drive a short distance to the Stilling Basin parking lot. You can park anywhere, but I feel like Stilling Basin is the best trailhead/starting spot. Hit the trail clockwise. Keep an eye on the arrow signs and watch for faint painted arrows on the occasional asphalt trail crossings. I think it's around the 14 mile mark that you get to Dry Church Rd. Make a right on the road, cross the bridge, and pick the trail up to the right continuing clockwise. That is the shortcut to skip about seven miles and the longest climb going clockwise. It's not technical, but doing the whole 30 miles isn't exactly easy for an occasional rider. I did the whole thing last week and felt great until about the 27 mile mark when my thighs cramped pretty bad.

  4. #4
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    I do the skip 7 miles thing (that bridge crossing that sammon287 described) and I was fine, I'm probably in similar shape to as you describe. It is not technical in the least. It'll be a good way to exercise your endurance- and it's not summer so you won't be dying of thirst. The few times I've done it I've gone counter clockwise from the visitor center, unsure if clockwise is better though.
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  5. #5
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    Yeah, I rode there relatively recently with a guy who races on the weekends (and more) on a singlespeed. He kicked my butt up and down so I'm not sure if it's because we set a fast pace (for me) in the beginning or what. But it was much more difficult than I expected. There is a lot more climbing than I expected.

    I opted to skip that extra loop that adds like 800+ ft of climbing. I think it was an old ski slope or something?

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  6. #6
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    Blue Marsh Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by XJaredX View Post
    I do the skip 7 miles thing (that bridge crossing that sammon287 described) and I was fine, I'm probably in similar shape to as you describe. It is not technical in the least. It'll be a good way to exercise your endurance- and it's not summer so you won't be dying of thirst. The few times I've done it I've gone counter clockwise from the visitor center, unsure if clockwise is better though.
    This is good advice.It always seems easier going counterclockwise for whatever reason(I guess the hills are easier this way).Skip the extra loop around the old ski hill and stop at Church Rd. picnic area for a snack and soak up a little sun(unless your in serious training mode and don't want to lower your heart rate for too long),..makes for a nice ride and you can still get a good workout in,...at least for us non-racing types.

  7. #7
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    Dung Hopper - If you're putting in 20miles you'll be fine there whether you do the 20 mile cut off or the extra 7miles. I love that place for the fast pace, nice views and no trail traffic to speak of, with a bonus dip in the lake when done. IMO clockwise is the best direction. Its not technical, but the distance, climbs and speed make it harder.

    As for the extra 7 miles, you hit the hill off the back of the ski resort and my recollection is that was one mean hill climb. It's switch backed but steep and hitting it clockwise, the downhill is a butt puckering straight down waterbar endo screamer then the other side is pretty flat and winding. Its been a couple years since I rode that side, but it was fun and will make you really earn those beers at the end of a full loop. There used to be a great race that started and ended at the ski resort. I think it was part of the Superseries back in the mid 2000's.
    Buy the ticket, take the ride. -HST

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