A fully supported four-day ride on the C&O Canal. Join us as we begin in Cumberland, MD and ride to Mile Marker 0 in Washington, DC. 184.5 miles of no hills, no headwinds and no cars. Plenty of food, lots of support, ride at your own pace, well organized. This is the 33rd annual benefit ride for San Mar Family and Community Services, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that maintains national accreditation and has provided services to children, families, and the community every day since November 8, 1883! Learn more about our important work online at sanmarhope.org.
THE RIDE INCLUDES
- Transportation by charter bus to the start of the C&O Canal.
- All meals and snacks.
- Free parking for your vehicle throughout the event.
- Rest stops every ten to fifteen miles.
- Camp fees paid for the first two nights or transportation to nearby hotels.
- Hotel on the third night.
- Transport of all gear throughout the event.
- T-shirt, water bottle and a TGBT keepsake.
- Return to your vehicle by charter bus from Georgetown at end of the event.
- A lifetime memory.
Join this popular four-day tour, or just ride for the weekend. Whichever you choose, you will want to be ready on the morning of Saturday, July 11th when charter buses transport the entire group to Cumberland for the start of this great adventure, but be warned… This event may become habit forming!
A fully supported ride from Cumberland, MD to Georgetown, DC | 184.5 miles
Friday Evening – 4 pm to 7 pm
Join us for the CARBO dinner! Bring your bike and plan to register early
Good friends, new and old, great food, and the opportunity to register early. Start your ride off right, and make Saturday morning a breeze by joining in on the festivities the night before. We will take care of getting your bike loaded while you enjoy the fellowship of your fellow riders and loading up on carbs. And, you are welcome to bring along a guest or two to join you!
Saturday – Day One
44.5 Miles – Cumberland Train Station (Mile 184.5) to Little Orleans (Mile 140)
We meet at the San Mar campus in Boonsboro and ride in chartered bus style to Cumberland, MD, where you will be reunited with your bike in anticipation of the adventure that is about to begin. Following a delicious lunch, the ride will commence by taking your bike for a walk through the Paw Paw Tunnel – remember to bring a flashlight! Once through the tunnel, jump on your bike and feel the wind in your hair as you travel along the towpath to Little Orleans. Here you will exit the towpath and proceed to the campground, about a mile from the trail. You can ride to the camp – challenging hill and all, or load into the waiting vehicles and meet your bike and gear at camp. If staying at the hotel, bring your suit and change in the bathhouse, then enjoy some well deserved time by the pool. We eat at 5:00 in the pavilion above the pool. The shuttle will depart for the hotel following dinner.
Sunday – Day Two
52 Miles – Little Orleans (Mile 140) to McMahon’s Mill (Mile 88)
Breakfast will be served in the pavilion. We will begin the ride following breakfast. We know you are excited to get back on the trail, but this day will go quickly and departing early may mean you get to the rest stops before we do. Use CAUTION when leaving camp: remember the challenging hill from yesterday? Once on the trail, you can choose between staying on the towpath, or switching over to the Rails and Trails path – a 22 mile paved alternative. Two rest stops are available, and an amazing lunch will be served along the route today. At Cushwa Basin in Williamsport [mile 99], MD, there is a short, easy ride by bike to the campground for those looking for a shortcut to end the day. Feel free to check out the C&O Visitor Center and Museum. The final stop is McMahon’s Mill, and transportation will be waiting, or you could go for it and earn an extra miler patch by riding your way back to the campground. Dinner is served at 5:00 in the pavilion.
If joining in the weekend only portion of the ride, you can be picked you up at the campground – you will want to meet them at the front entrance. Transportation to San Mar and the hotel will be available following dinner. You are welcome to invite friends or family to join you for dinner for $10 per quest.
Monday – Day Three
53 Miles – McMahon’s Mill (88) to White’s Ferry (35)
Breakfast will again be served in the pavilion. Transportation will be available, or you have the option of riding from the campground to the river. It is just a couple of miles over level roads. The upcoming section of the trail, Big Slackwater, reopened in the fall of 2012 and is one of the most scenic parts of the trip. You will ride thru the Big Slackwater area (mile 88 to 85.4) on the new concrete piers and bridges, giving you a most spectacular view of the river, and then returning to the original trail at Dam No. 4. You will again have two sponsored rest stops and a yummy lunch today.
Everyone stays in the hotel tonight! Rooming preferences should be communicated to the San Mar staff at registration on Friday evening/Saturday morning. When you arrive at Whites Ferry we will have vehicles waiting for you in the parking lot. You will be given your room key and check in instructions at this time. Dinner will be at 5:30 PM. Massage therapists will be available at the motel. Don’t forget to sign up for a session.
Tuesday – Day Four
35 Miles – Whites Ferry (35) to Georgetown (Mile 0)
Breakfast is at your leisure in the hotel. The buses will meet you in front of the hotel by 8:00; and your bike will be waiting for you at the aqueduct parking lot. We will have a rest stop at Seneca and lunch at Great Falls. We want to leave the Falls as a group so that we all arrive in Georgetown together. We don’t want to risk anyone missing the bus. It has happened! In Georgetown, DC we will complete the journey at Mile Marker 0, and board charter buses for the return ride to San Mar. If you are being picked up in Georgetown you can have your friends meet you on the corner of 30th and K street (Swedish Embassy) at 2 pm beneath the Whitehurst Parkway.
Our Sponsors | Generous Partners
We’ve spent countless months planning our event, and none of it could be possible without the support of our wonderful sponsors. An imperative part of our team, our sponsors give us both the financial and logistical support we need. We’re proud to present our 2019 sponsors below from last years ride, we work hard throughout the event to recognize their important contributions. Interested in being a 2020 sponsor? Contact us at 301-733-9067 x101 or email@example.com.
Go First Class
This popular tour of the historic C&O Canal is an annual fundraising event for San Mar Family and Community Services. Registered riders raise donations of at least $475. Riders who surpass $475 in donations, earn the following awards:
Riding Gloves or cooling towel
Helmet or Hydra-backpack
Professional tune-up of your bike (Get this much in prior to June 1, 2020, and get the tune-up BEFORE the ride. What a concept!)
Golden Retriever Plan, plus a new bike or Fitbit. (donations due by June 1 for the Golden Retriever Plan).
The Golden Retriever Plan: (For those who desire to travel First Class all the way while significantly impacting our non-profit) In addition to all of the regular benefits of the tour, when you turn in at least $3,000, prior to the start of the event, you shall receive your choice of the following options:
- Hotel accommodations each night of the tour, or camping if you prefer.
- If you decide to camp, your tent will be set up and waiting for you when you arrive.
- The support team will carry your luggage for you throughout the tour. (No tipping please!)
- A massage will be provided each evening by certified sports massage therapists
- Go to the head of the line for transport to the camp or hotel at the end of each day.
- You will receive special Golden Retriever swag designating your special VIP status.
- You may waive the above, participate in the tour as everyone else, and receive a new bicycle. To receive the bicycle prior to the tour at least $3,000 must be turned in on or before June 1. If you turn in $3,000 prior to the tour you may receive all of the above Golden Retriever benefits plus receive a new bicycle.
Sign up today to receive your personalized donation page! The page includes up to the minute donation amounts, and other information about the ride. You no longer have to ask for checks or knock on doors to raise the money, just email the link to your donation page and you’ll hit your goal in no time. It is a wonderful ride and an even better cause. Thank you for your time and we look forward to seeing you in July!
Early Bird Registration- $10.00 through December 31, 2018 |
*2019 Golden Retrievers can register for free*
Standard Registration – $40.00 January 1 – June 30, 2019 |
Last call Registration – $55.00 After June 30, 2019
A “Dog Team” Production!
Several years ago, in the heat of the Dog Days of Summer, several of the riders began calling each other by “dog” nicknames. It was a big joke at the time, but one that resonated with many. Participants determined that everyone who completed the tour would become a member of “The Dog Team”. Since that time, numerous individuals have smiled at the summer camp style of such a concept, only to find themselves searching for a proper nickname as they near the end of the event. We hope you too will feel the pride that comes with being part of the “Dog Team”.
What if I am not an experienced cyclist… Can I still do it?
It is important that you train for this event, but it is not necessary to be a fast rider. There are plenty of rest stops, and even support vehicles at the rest stops to carry you if you decide you have reached your limit. The ride is designed for all ability levels.
What if I cannot keep up with the others?
You will be behind them.
Bringing up the end of the line is a nice place to be too. We have found that those who delay training until the first morning of the ride, end up with a less than positive relationship with their seat. So, ride often to prepare, and you will be fine. If you have difficulty maintaining the pace of some of the others in the tour, slow down. There will be someone from the support team riding at the end to make certain no one is left behind.
I have had some health problems, but I think I am alright. Is it ok to participate?
You are advised to discuss the tour with your physician and follow his/her advice. In most cases, we recommend that you encourage your physician to go on the tour along with you as a Golden Retriever! If the physician agrees, we suggest you then ask your banker, broker, lawyer, mechanic, and hairstylist. This is not a requirement, but it certainly helps the fundraising aspects of the tour!
Do I have to carry my gear with me?
Nope. We have support vehicles to transport your bags, however, you may if you prefer. You may also drag a cement block behind you if you would like, although we have yet to have anyone do so.
How can someone get in touch with me during the tour?
We will provide you with emergency numbers, which can be used to reach you during the ride. These will be provided far enough in advance of the tour, for you to pass out to anyone who might have a need.
How often will we get to rest during the ride?
Rest stops will be approximately every ten to fifteen miles. You can ride at your own pace, as the group will spread out for several miles. You may also opt to ride in a sag vehicle from one stop to the next.
What kind of bike do I need to ride on the towpath?
The majority of the towpath is a dirt trail. There will be a couple of sections that are paved, and a couple that are crushed stone. You would be wise to bring either a mountain bike, trail bike, or a hybrid. It is possible to complete the ride on a road bike (which has very thin tires); however, if it happens to rain before or during the tour, some of the trails may be soft and difficult for a road bike to travel. In such a case, if you choose a road bike you will no doubt remember the tour for years … and will probably be remembered for just as long.
If I only ride for the weekend how am I going to get back to my car?
Once we arrive at the campground on Sunday evening it is only about ten miles back to the San Mar Campus in Boonsboro, where you boarded the charter bus the day before. We can transport you back to the San Mar Campus; or, provide you with directions to the campground, if you would like to have a friend meet you there.
What do I need to bring with me?
When you register we will send you a Participant’s Handbook which lists everything you will need, and everything you do not. If you have specific questions email us.
I have some questions that are not listed here. Now, what am I supposed to do?
E-mail us your questions, or call us at 301-733-9067 x101!
What if I want to leave my entire estate to San Mar?
We have decided not to make that a requirement for participation in the ride. However, if after participating you find that this is your desire, proper direction can be given.