Men ride 185 miles of canal

August 04, 1997


Staff Writer

Two local men rode 184.5 miles along the C&O Canal from Cumberland, Md., to Georgetown. They began the trip well before dawn on Friday and finished at 10 Saturday night.

"It took us 19 hours exactly," said Randy Leatherman, 36, of Fairplay.

He and Dave Long, 32, of Williamsport, were joined by two friends, Pete Casazza of Hopedale, Pa., and Mike Edmondson of New Jersey.

"We finished it, but it got ugly," Leatherman said, explaining that Casazza experienced blood sugar problems, forcing him off the trail at White's Ferry, 36 miles from Georgetown.


Long, who has done the JFK 50-Mile Ultrathon and the 4.5 mile swim across the Chesapeake Bay, explained that Casazza has exceptionally low body fat that may be responsible for his loss of blood sugar and strength.

"The complexity of a ride like this is that you're isolated on that path. This year we had a cell phone and were able to call someone to meet Pete at White's Ferry," he said.

Both Long and Leatherman said they like riding the towpath along the canal and said they did the same ride in 1995 in 17 hours, 19 minutes.

"My great grandfather was a canal boat captain. We're descendants of canal people, so there's a bit of nostalgia for me," Leatherman said.

The four men adhered to all the regulations for riding along the canal, Long said, including having bells on their bikes, wearing helmets and keeping within the 15 mph speed limit.

"People might be led to think we did this as a race. But this was more of a mental challenge," he said.

Both he and Leatherman said they saw very few people along the path, even as they were approaching Georgetown on a Saturday night.

"We were two miles from a gigantic amount of people and we saw no one," Long said.

Leatherman got home Saturday well after midnight. He said he got four hours sleep before getting up for his once-a-month weekend duty with the 167th Air National Guard.

"My recovery time was pretty quick," he said of the ride, adding that it was in part out of necessity.

The Herald-Mail Articles