This is close to the same route I took on my first big ride when I was 15. At that point I was riding a Gary Fisher Hoo Koo e Koo. I used to lock up the brakes to skid the tread off that bike's tires so that they would roll better.
Back then I rode on the wrong side of the road, wore a lime green bandanna instead of a helmet, and cramped up climbing the ridge in a 22x32 low gear. The loop took me almost 8 hours. I thank the great puffy hamster in the sky that it doesn't take that long anymore.
After the first few miles in Greensburg, there wasn't much traffic on the back roads. We rode past the St. Vincent wetlands, through the only traffic circle in Western PA, then started up the ridge.
The climb over the ridge gets real steep towards the end. I still cramped, but this time it was with a 40x17. In an unprecedented reversal of roles Don Powers had to wait for me at the top.
The sun was scheduled to come out and warm things up to 30 degrees. Predictably, it never did. We were pretty warm after getting to the top of the ridge, but all that sweat instantly froze on the way back down. I couldn't bend my arms or move my hands for a few minutes when we finished the 40mph descent.
After rolling past the base of Laurel Mountain we cut through the grounds of the prestigious Rolling Rock club. A few target pheasants were clucking around in the snow. I guess the former VP left a few standing.
We stopped at the Pie Shop in Laughlintown and I refueled with a peanut butter chocolate gob. Easily the most calorie dense food on the planet.
After that it was a straight burn from Ligonier to Latrobe on Rt. 30. We held about 22 mph through the gorge, which I'm delighted with on a single speed with risers.
Back into Greensburg with about 4 hours of rolling time and a 15mph average. That's a solid ride for January.
And bonus awesome, the maintenance people are salting the bike parking at school now. I feel so spoiled.
Way better than last year: