So, I finally managed to get another half century in on July 4, 2020. I was initially a little hesitant because I was afraid that the trails might be a bit crowded on the Fourth of July (which is both detrimental to the riding experience and also a slight risk factor for COVID-19). I eventually decided to go early in the morning to mitigate this. This also conveniently avoids the midday summer heat.
I set out at 7:30 am and headed to the north shore, ending up at the Allegheny Observatory. (As a side note, I finally figured out why I couldn’t find the observatory during my previous north shore trip: Google Maps has the location off by about two miles!) I was going fairly slow during this part of the trip, both because there was some nontrivial climbing involved and because I needed to use the bathroom really badly. Fortunately, there was a port-a-potty in Riverview Park that was stocked with toilet paper; after relieving myself, my riding experience became much more enjoyable. I stopped in front of the observatory to take some pictures and snack on a Clif Bar before retracing my journey south again around the Point to Hot Metal Bridge.
I had originally planned to finish my trip on the GAP by heading out to Dead Man’s Hollow / Boston and back, but I ended up not making it that far, since the north shore portion of my trip resulted in a little more mileage than I had expected. Overall, it was quite a fun ride; I averaged 13 miles per hour for a total of 3:50 moving time. My goal was to keep it under 4 hours, so I’m happy with that. I actually feel like I could have gone a bit farther and stretched it to a metric century (100 km / ~61 mi), but I probably would have had to tone down the pace. I had met my goal anyway, so I just decided to stop after 50 miles.
The trails seemed more crowded than I usually see them, but I don’t typically ride in the morning, so I can’t say if it was any more crowded than a normal Saturday morning. Here are a few reflections on the overall trip: