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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey gang,

I live in Phoenixville, PA, and would really like to ride the long loop at Blue Marsh this weekend.

All I know about the ride is that it's between 30 and 40 miles with a bunch of hills and nice double- and single-track trails.

Can anyone lay out where to start and where to ride? Again, I'm coming from Phoenixville.

Thanks - Rich
 

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Start with the website:
http://www.nap.usace.army.mil/sb/bm_guide.htm

Easiest way to go is park at the Stilling Basin. Ride towards the dam and take the trail to the left. Follow the trail markers, you'll be riding clockwise. It's well marked and there are maps in the box at the Stilling Basin. I'd suggest grabbing one for your first ride.

Bring enough water/food for 4 hours. The full loop is just a bit over 30 miles with options to cut it a bit shorter either on Church Rd. or multiple spots coming back along 183 if necessary.

I'm also in Phoenixville and was just up at Blue Marsh last weekend. The trails are in great shape.
 

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the map on the website is out of date and doesn't include the whole loop. i found a scan of a current map online and added it to my flickr. i'd also recommend the stilling basin as a start leaving church rd as a shortcut to cut out the 8 mile loop west of the road.
 

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Did you make it to Blue Marsh?

Hey Rich / rmagda58 - did you make it to Blue Marsh last weekend? I was there, did the big loop solo on Saturday AM. Was having a great ride and then my legs cramped up - first time that ever happened. I had started at Church Road going clockwise and got crampy heading up the ski hill, so I was in the last 1/3rd of my ride. Luckily the last 4 miles is a wonderful warm-down. If I ever bother with that upper loop again I think I'm gonna try it CCW; maybe it'll be more fun.

Re. maps, fxdwhl's link works well. That map can also be found at https://www.nap.usace.army.mil/sb/bmtrails2.gif. It's alright.

There's a pretty good map of the ~22 mile loop at GPS Bike Maps: https://www.gpsbikemaps.com/index.p...trailmapsmenu&mapImage=bluemarsh102807.gif&o=

Re. starting spot and water, if it's not real hot I can do the 22 miler on a 3 liter hydro. I can do the 30 miler on a full hydro and a big water bottle but I've found it's better to start somewhere that places you at the Visitor Center or Dry Brook mid-ride. When I start at Church Rd., the VC is about 8 miles into the ride. Bring food - like bananas and power bars - to eat about every hour. Not a ton, but something.
 

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I rode there today to explore a bit, and started at the parking lot off of Lake rd and rode the green loop there. I got back and wanted more so I rode counter clockwise until around mile marker 9 or so on that map. I ran out of time unfortunately. By this point I'd got my second wind and was really loving the terrain except for a gravel hill that made me wish for flatter ground. (I walked it! I am not worthy!) I noticed that the bridges, while nice, are not very mtb friendly as I bottomed my fork pretty hard getting off of one. I wasn't expecting that.

Over the course of the day I drank almost all of my 3 liter camelbak and will be sure to ration it a little better next time. I plan to explore the area more from Lake road and slowly expand. I'm still pretty out of shape and won't be doing the full loop until next year probably, but I feel pretty good about it for my first year as a serious guy.

This place is heaven to me. I love it. I wouldn't mind riding with some of you experienced guys except that I'd likely seriously slow you down. Cheers!
 

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Next time...

Energetik - personally I try to enjoy the ride more than race it. Sometimes I ride with a varied gang and - trust me - as a gang we are NOT fast. You'd fit right in. It took us 5 hours to do the 22 mile loop. OK, we did tack on 3.5 miles for a break at Dry Brooks rest area and getting sidetracked on the very loop at Lake Rd. you were exploring. I think I torture myself more riding solo, and in a gang you're constantly regrouping so it gives you welcome break opportunities. When we ride it next time I'll let you know... but it might be August or so.

Mike
 
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