Woke early to a clear, cold (48F) morning in Cumberland. Enjoyed the hotel breakfast, filled my bidons with Water-Cran-Apple mix, glommed a few apples for a later snack, made my morning bike tweaks outside along with a group of touring motorcyclists who were also getting ready for their ride.
Some of us planned to ride up the hill to Frostburg and join the others coming up on the excursion train. We made what seemed like remarkable time, we got up to Frostburg in two hours and we weren't trying to make great time it was just a very pleasant cold morning and we cranked it out.
There was a bit of lag-time waiting for the train group, so we hung around the Trail Inn and tried not to get in their way too much. It was a bit too cold out for a bike nap.
The Trail Inn gets a headcount when the train departs and today's was 130 passengers. I was amazed when they told me that yesterday (Saturday) the train brought 500 people up the hill, which is a pretty big injection of people into a small train station. Peaks and valleys and staffing, all hands on deck.
We realized that there would be a rush for sandwiches etc when the train arrived, so our contingent on the train texted us their lunch orders from the online menu and we put their order in just before the train arrived, that seemed like it got us on our way a bit quicker. The bike car on the train was well organized and everybody seemed to enjoy the ride up the hill.
Was pleased to meet a trio of riders who I recognized as guys who work at the local REI store at Settlers Ridge, very nice folks and extremely cool to see them out in the field representing.
Between this and that we ended up in two groups, a breakaway group on the front and a sweep rider. Once we crossed Deal (new SST, btw) and started descending the speeds picked up, the conversation resumed, and it was a lot of fun riding fast to Confluence.