Two Day Tour Return: Martinsburg – D.C.

We woke up a little tired today after our big ride yesterday and we never seemed to shake the fatigue on the return from Martinsburg, W. Va. to home in Southwest D.C.

That didn’t stop us from having a good day, it just meant that we took more stops and spent more time off the bike.

Shepherdstown Farmers Market
Shepherdstown Farmers Market

See all my photos from the weekend here and MG’s here.

One of the goals of the back-to-back long rides is to get the body to adapt to that second-day effort, so that it’s not a shock when we get on the bike day after day during our Colorado tour next month.

The overnighter is also a good way to make sure you get in that followup ride. We had to get home, and that meant riding there. No sleeping in and going for a shorter ride!

We hauled ourselves up before we’d rise on a workday and got going from our hotel. The roads were quiet, the skies were a little rainy. Sharing the countryside on a Sunday morning ride with your true love is a fair payoff for the early getup, for sure.

After a short 12-mile run to Shepherdstown, W.Va., we lingered in town for nearly two hours at the Sunday farmers market, the Lost Dog Coffee shop, and the famous-to-randonneurs Shepherdstown Sweet Shoppe. We bought fresh strawberries and espresso, and did our best to enjoy the laid-back summer vibe. A fair number of cyclists rode through on group outings and asked us about our little tour.


Our other stops included the Appalachian Trail headquarters in Harpers Ferry, and Beans in the Belfry coffee and sandwich lounge in Brunswick, Md. after a six-mile jaunt on the C&O Canal Trail.

AT Headquarters in Harpers Ferry
AT Headquarters in Harpers Ferry

The short way towards home, on Point of Rocks Road, is very hilly, and we ended up turning off on a road we had not used before to rejoin the C&O for the ride to Whites Ferry near Poolesville. Back in Harpers Ferry we saw a couple of younger guys on touring bikes and then saw them stopped on the trail. When we stopped to fix a flat tire, they came steaming past, and then we saw them again at the Whites Ferry store.

They were making the full run from Pittsburgh to D.C. on the Great Allegheny Trail and the C&O in two days — a huge outing. It was motivating to hear about it!

Monocacy Aqueduct on the C&O Canal
Monocacy Aqueduct on the C&O Canal

We trundled off via the gravel section of River Road towards Potomac, Md. under darkening skies. By the time we got to Potomac, about 17 miles from home, we were riding hard trying to outrun a storm behind us. In Glen Echo, 10 miles out, a huge downpour hit and we took refuge in a bus shelter until it passed.

On the gravel section of River Road, before the rain
On the gravel section of River Road, before the rain
Edwards Ferry on the C&O
Edwards Ferry on the C&O

As we arrived got home at mile 97 a bigger storm was brewing and we rushed into the door minutes before the deluge hit. We were damp, tired, indoors and satisfied.

Tonight we’ll sleep well. We have another big weekend set of rides coming up and shuteye will be high on our priority list this week. That, and cleaning the C&O dirt off the tandem!

4 thoughts on “Two Day Tour Return: Martinsburg – D.C.

  1. Good to see you both Saturday. Sorry we couldn’t stop to chat. I wondered where you were heading. Did you make the Blue Moon, Sweet Shop or expresso place.

    1. Us too. We’ve been there; when you’re steaming down the road there’s no time, there’s not time!

      Glad you had a good ride. What’s next, a 1000K?

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