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Civil War Century is just 30 days away!

Hear how Becky and Jim Matsakis did it last year on their own, after the Club had to cancel the 2020 event.

Becky said that doing the Civil War Century (CWC) had been at the back of their minds since they first heard about it in 2015. They had just started cycling again with the BBC after a 23-year hiatus. Volunteering for the event at the Mt. Aetna rest stop, they learned more details specifically about the 100-mile route. The last century they rode was the BBC’s Hunt Valley Hundred in 1990. And that, Jim would admit, was a few years ago!

For them, the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic offered the opportunity of time. With gyms and swimming pools closed and their summer vacation plans cancelled, they focused on cycling as their primary physical activity. They’d start from their home and ride in western Howard County three to four times a week. By the end of July they had cycled over 3,000 miles since the shutdown in mid-March so doing the CWC started to seem like a real possibility.

When the BBC had to cancel the 2020 CWC, Becky and Jim decided to do it on their own.

Civil War Century as ridden (tracked with STRAVA) They got a little help also from their BBC friends Carol and Walt Russell and Mary and Barry Menne, all of whom had cycled the CWC. The Mennes ran the event for eight years, and the Russells helped develop the route. The Mennes and Russells took them on two training rides in the mountains near Thurmont – the Red Rum ride and a shortened version of the Blue Ridge Summit ride. Mary shared a CWC Volunteer route that included places to eat and restrooms. Walt reviewed the major climbs of the ride with them and advised them about pacing, including not to panic at the initial climb at the route start!

Civil War Correspondent Memorial (Gathland State Park) They did the ride on September 12, 2020, the day on which it had originally been scheduled. By then they had logged just over 4,000 miles since the shutdown. They started at 7:30 A.M. from Thurmont Community Park and finished at 5:30 P.M.  Jim said the century was fantastic, scenic, challenging, and over low trafficked roads. Becky admitted that while they were tired, they were thrilled to have accomplished their goal.

Look for Becky and Jim at the Mt. Aetna rest stop next month and share your experiences. And send your stories and pictures from the CWC to us at websitemanager@baltobikeclub.org.