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Votes

Ways To Exercise in Potomac

<ro> Take a Challenging Hike on the Billy Goat Trail

<lst><b>Billy Goat Trail

C&O Canal National Historical Park

301-767-3714

www.nps.gov/choh/Recreation/ and click the links under "Trails."</b>

More than 16 side trails are accessible from the C&O Canal towpath near Great Falls Tavern. Among them, the granddaddy is Section A of the Billy Goat Trail, which begins 0.6 miles below Great Falls Tavern and requires climbing over rocks and boulders as it follows a cliff until its end, 0.7 miles above Old Anglers Inn. Don't be fooled by the moderate-sounding 1.1-mile distance — this section is strenuous.

<ro> Take a Moderate Hike on the Billy Goat Trail

<lst><b>Billy Goat Trail

Carderock Recreation Area, C&O Canal National Historical Park

301-767-3714

www.nps.gov/choh/Recreation/ and click the links under "Trails."</b>

The downstream portions of the Billy Goat Trail — sections B and C — are longer than Section A, but are also flatter and less treacherous.

Area or the parking lot across from Old Anglers Inn. Section C of the Billy Goat Trail is 1.4 miles of "moderate" hiking, according to the National Park Service. Hikers may access it from Carderock Recreation Area, and it is marked with blue blazes.

Section B of is 1.6 miles long, also dubbed "moderate" by the Park Service. Hikers may access it from Carderock or at Old Angler's Inn.

<ro> Take a Leisurely Hike on the C&O Canal Towpath.

<lst><b>C&O Canal National Historical Park

301-767-3714

www.nps.gov/choh for hiking information and a trail map. </b>

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas raised support for turning the C&O Canal into a national park when he led a group of nine men on a hike along the entire 184-mile canal. Naturalists will enjoy the flora and fauna along the towpath, while history buffs can see surviving lockhouses and locks of the 176-year-old canal. Between Georgetown and Seneca, the towpath has a smooth gravel surface. Remember to walk on the right-hand side of the path — pedestrians are sharing the towpath with bikers, who don't always signal as they approach a hiker (although they're supposed to).

<ro> Start A Running Routine

<lst><b>Montgomery County Road Runners Club

301-353-0200

www.mccrc.org </b>

Montgomery County Road Runners holds weekly workouts for various ability levels in Rockville, Gaithersburg and the Kentlands. They also conduct race training, youth clinics and regular member events. Membership is $25 per year for individuals and $40 per year for families.

<ro> Start a Hard-Core Running Routine

<lst> <b>Montgomery County Road Runners Club

301-353-0200

www.mcrrc.org/program.html</b>

The Montgomery County Road Runners Club offers a six-month program that trains first-timers to run the Marine Corps Marathon. The club also sponsors races, training runs, special events and other activities for runners of all ages and experience levels.

<ro> Run For A Cause

<lst><b>Cure Autism Now 5-kilometer Race

Potomac Library

10101 Glenolden Drive, Potomac

www.canrun.org</b>

It's a Potomac Fourth of July tradition since 2001. Cure Autism Now hosts a 5-kilometer road race or 1-mile walk to help raise money for autism research by Potomac Library every July 4. Runners and walkers enjoy food and music after the race, and random prizes are given out. Registration for the race is required.

<ro> Go Mountain Biking

<lst><b>Seneca Creek State Park

11950 Clopper Road, Gaithersburg

301-924-2127

www.more-mtb.org (Click “Where to Ride”)

Cabin John Trail

Parking and access points on MacArthur Boulevard, River Road, Democracy Boulevard and Tuckerman Lane

301-299-0024 </b>

Mountain bikers who crave hills and tricky terrain may grow tired of the C&O Canal's flat towpath, but they need not despair — two local unpaved trails permit mountain bikes. The Cabin John Trail is 10 miles long and runs alongside Cabin John Creek between the Beltway overpass near Seven Locks Road and Montrose Road. Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg offers multiuse trails at Schaeffer Farms that are especially popular with mountain bikers. Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts is a nonprofit organization representing area mountain bikers. Done these already? Another good resource is "Mountain Biking the Washington, D.C./Baltimore Area" by Scott Adams and Martin Fernandez, published by Globe Pequot Press. Find it online or at local book stores.

<ro> Bike To Work

<lst><b>Washington Area Bicyclist Association

www.waba.org; 202-518-0524</b>

For far too many people in the Washington, D.C. area, the morning commute is a miserable, traffic-choked affair. Biking to work, or at least to a nearby bus stop or Metro station, is a more realistic possibility than many people in the Potomac area think. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association has an online Bicycle Commuter Assistance Program, an interactive guide that provides commuter information and maps online. Each spring, WABA hosts Bike to Work Day, and provides pit stops, convoy routes and information for those who join.

<ro> Walk Or Bike To School

<lst><b>International Walk to School Day

919-962-7419 (long distance)

www.walktoschool.org

Beverly Farms Elementary

8501 Post Oak Road, Potomac

301-469-1050

Cold Spring Elementary

9201 Falls Chapel Way, Potomac

301-279-8480 </b>

Every weekday morning throughout the school year, elementary schools are choked down amid gridlock from buses and a parade of SUVs dropping students off. In recent years, Beverly Farms and Wayside Elementary schools were among dozens of county schools participating in Walk to School Day, to show families that there's another option for many students and a healthy way to get to school in times of increased child obesity and Type II diabetes. Walking isn't an option for every student in Potomac, but it may be worthwhile for parents to explore this possibility with their children.

International Walk to School Day 2006 is on Oct. 4.

<ro> Go Road Biking Locally

<lst><b>Montgomery Bicycle Advocates

301-767-5998

www.internetigloo.com/mobike

Washington Area Bicyclist Association

202-518-0524

www.waba. org

Potomac Pedalers Touring Club

202-363-8687

www.bikepptc .org </b>

Every weekend, Potomac's roads fill up with hard-core and not-so-hard-core bikers enjoying the area's scenery and open roads. The most popular routes are along MacArthur Boulevard, Falls Road and River Road, which conduct bikers to popular and less-trafficked areas upcounty. Montgomery County Bicycle Advocates (MOBIKE) and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) conduct bicycling advocacy and provide maps, safety information and other resources for bicyclists.

<ro> Go Road Biking Upcounty

<lst><b>Washington Area Bicyclist Association

202-518-0524

www.waba.org/new/paths/gwaba.php

Montgomery County Department of Public Works and Transportation

240-777-7170

www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/dpwt/ (Click “Sidewalks & Bikeways”</b>

Poolesville, 15 miles away from Potomac Village, has roads better suited for bike riding than many of the narrow and busy roads in Potomac.

Montgomery County's Department of Public Works and Transportation has a bikeways map that includes a route along roads in the Poolesville area. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association publishes the "Greater Washington Area Bicycle Atlas," with suggested routes for 67 bike tours. The last (fifth) edition is out of print, but a revised edition is supposed to come out soon.

<ro> Bike the C&O Canal

<lst><b>C&O Canal National Historical Park

301-739-4200

www.nps.gov/choh

Bike Washington

www.bikewashington .org/canal

Alzheimer’s Association Tour de Canal

703-359-4440

www.alz-nca.org/development/tour.php </b>

The C&O Canal towpath is 184 miles of biker's paradise. It is almost completely flat, making it great for families, children and inexperienced bikers. For most of the 22 miles between Georgetown and Seneca, the towpath is smooth and wide; it's rougher and narrower above Seneca.

Looking for a long-distance biking odyssey? The canal offers the opportunity for long, scenic rides that more serious bicyclists will enjoy. There is one major detour along the 184 miles, one just below Great Falls along Widewater, the other 84 miles upstream from Georgetown at Big Slackwater near Williamsport, Md. The National Park Service conducts occasional canal through-rides, with overnight camping and a support vehicle to carry gear. Other organizations, including the Alzheimer's Association, conduct through-rides for charity.

<ro> Rediscover Canoeing

<lst><b>Canoe Cruisers Association

www.ccadc.org </b>

These days, kayaking may seem to hold more of an "extreme sports" appeal, but for cruising the C&O Canal, or in the Potomac River above Seneca, canoeing may be the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors. CCA holds beginning whitewater canoeing courses, beginning whitewater kayaking courses, and swiftwater rescue classes. The Club holds general meetings at the Clara Barton Community Center on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. You must be a member of CCA to enroll in classes.

<ro> Swim Outdoors in the Summer

<lst><b>Bethesda Pool

Little Falls Parkway and Hillandale Road, Bethesda

301-652-1598

Western County Outdoor Pool

20151 Fisher Avenue, Poolesville

301-349-2217

www.montgomerycountymd. gov/rectmpl.asp?url=/content/rec/aqua.asp </b>

Washington summers are famously humid and muggy. One sure way to cool off is a swim at a local pool. Potomac has numerous private neighborhood swim clubs, and easy access to several of the eight pools operated by the Montgomery County Department of Recreation.

One place not to swim is the Potomac River. Almost every year, somebody will drown in the Potomac River between Georgetown and Seneca, and others are rescued from life-threatening situations. Though a few victims fall in, most either wade in, try to swim to an island or just decide to "take a dip," and are swept away. While the surface may appear calm, strong currents exist underneath.

<ro>Join a Summer Swim Team

<lst><b>Montgomery County Swim League

www.mcsl.org/teamdiv/team.html

Potomac Area Swim League

10531 Oaklyn Drive, Potomac

301-983-0390

www.potomacswimandtennis.com/index.htm. </b>

Where can local children ages 6-18 join together on summer weekends? At any of the local summer swim clubs, many of which field teams that compete in the Montgomery County Swim League. Saturday morning meets are chock-full of shouting, cheering and splashing as the swimmers compete in five different age groups at the “A” meets. Six pools — River Falls, Potomac, Potomac Woods, Country Glen, Fallsmead and Montgomery Square— form the Potomac Area Swim League and hold “B” squad competitions every Wednesday night during the summer months.

Many parents are involved as team reps or officials, and the clubs often have social events for the adults.

<ro> Swim Indoors Year Round

<lst><b>Montgomery Aquatic Center

5900 Executive Blvd., North Bethesda

www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rectmpl.asp?url=/content/rec/aqua.asp

301-468-4211 </b>

Even on the coldest of winter days, local swimmers need not despair. The Montgomery County Department of Recreation operates three indoor pools. The Montgomery Aquatic Center's facilities include an indoor pool, hot tubs and hydrotherapy pools, a 10-meter diving platform, an exercise room, a snack bar, locker and shower facilities, saunas and racquetball courts. For schedules and fees for both pools visit the Web site.