Ride Blog (Current-41)

Note that entries are written at the end of very tiring days. Please excuse any errors.

Ride 59 | Annapolis, MD > Georgetown, DE

Wow. What a special day! Thanks to Sarah for joining me for the rides on the eastern shore of Maryland and the arrival at Rehoboth Beach, DE. The roads today were smooth, the winds were calm, temperate, and the terrain was oh-so-flat. Couldn't have written a better script. #Speechless #BellLap #OneDayToGo

Ride 58 | Alexandria, VA > Annapolis, MD

Awesome!

 

Ride 57 | Washington, DC > Alexandria, VA

Essentially recreational riding with plenty of stops for pictures and to talk with folks about the ASP and the ride. Tonight in Alexandria prior to heading east to Maryland and to the shore.

 

Ride 56 | Mount Vernon, VA > Washington, DC

The historic and well-known trail from Mount Vernon along the Potomac River and up into Washington DC. This iconic ride is one I recall well from my first years in the area. A slight drizzle on and off kept the camera in the pocket and the wooden bridges quite slippery. 

Ride 55 | Manassas, VA  > Mount Vernon, VA

Delayed blast-off today, which was fine since it was a relatively short spin over to Mount Vernon.
Largely along trails - getting to the Fairfax County Parkway Trail - and then riding most of the 20 miles over to Mount Vernon.
The Google suggested a loop around/by the Burke Lake and Lake Mercer. It was kinda nice initially as there was (very) fresh blacktop on the first portion of the trail. However, once past the fresh stuff, it was rather brutal - a combination of roots pushing the asphalt up/down/around to go with overwash on sections - this was clearly an old trail - and with a good number of pedestrians and the beat-up surface, 5-8 mph was the going rate for an extended period. Finally tired of that, hopped back up to the FCPT and rode it out. The last couple miles included bike lanes on US Rt. 1. It was nice to have made it from CA-1 (Pacific Coast Highway) and the first main route of this trip - all the way across to US 1 which runs up and down the eastern coastal states.
Negligible breezes, an occasional spit or two of rain and numerous historical markers along US 1. (No surprise).
Tomorrow - into the district and onto the mall.

 

Ride 54 | Culpeper, VA > Manassas, VA

A relatively easy ride, made a smidge more challenging by a steady 10-15 mph breeze from the northeast. Sigh. The transition from Country to Suburban riding is complete. Volumes of traffic and travel lanes have exploded in all directions. Being on alert is now even more a priority - all the time!
Rolling hills with farming and livestock preceded the jump to suburbanville.
Hotel: Making up for the hotel in Winslow AZ that only had Hot and Very Hot water to shower in, this hotel has cold and cold. Sigh. Not sure the balance works out.
Looking forward to seeing Bea and Dort for a socially spaced dinner! Enchiladas. La Tolteca.

 

Ride 53 | Elkton, VA > Culpeper, VA

While it felt good to beat the rain yesterday, I was keenly aware that today would be different. Widespread morning rain, followed by widespread thunderstorms later in the day.
The good news? The climb to/thru Shenandoah NP was early and could be done even before the morning rain commenced. Riding big hills/mountain passes in rain is not fun. So yay to avoid it.
But oh, that first 3-4 miles.... Riding at 5 mph, yeah, that took awhile to gain that ~1000' of altitude. And then.... descending on dry road - another real plus. And then near Madison, VA the rain arrived.
And with today's morning climb, the last of the 'big' (1000'+) ascents was 'in-the-books' plenty of rolling hills remain, but good to have that behind me.
Skyline Drive in dense fog? nope. Based on weather conditions, it will be another time when I travel part of that route for the majestic views and vistas.
Time for clean-up, laundry, and planning for the DC excursion coming up.

 

Ride 52 | Weyers Cave, VA > Elkton, VA

A relatively short ride to cap a long day. 550+ miles in the car, returning from family time at DTO, followed by a quick fix-a-flat, and then the 25 mile race to the Elkton, VA hotel in advance of the oncoming storms. It feels good to occasionally win one of these races. (Usually just end up really wet!).
Reward for that success: Frozen Pizza and PowerAde on the Rocks!

Ride 51 | Lexington, VA > Weyers Cave, VA

Well, a bit of up and down. This ride started with an approximate 1000' climb over the first 10-12 miles, and then gradually gave it all back by the end of the 50 mile trek. Plenty of up-and-down overlaid on that gradual overall topology.
The second 'down' part was the final few miles were on gravel. (WTF, Google?) And shame on me for not vetting the route more carefully! The end result being, that as I put the Steed away for at the end of the ride, I noted that the rear tire was quite low. And going flat. So there will need to be a tube repair/replace session before the Steed is back up and running.
The route, however, 'Battlefield Road', was a good scenic tour of the battle in the Piedmont, where the Union broke thru the Confederate lines in 1864 and dealt a crushing blow to the railway systems of the Virginia Central Railroad.
It also verified the wisdom of a day off on Thursday, as numerous whole trees were uprooted and large limbs off others. Street-fronts were lined with branch and tree debris from Thursday's damage. #GoodToBeInside!
The pace/speed drops noticeably when riding gravel, which brought today's pace down below other comparable rides - 5-7 miles on gravel will do that. (as well as drive a tire/tube change!)
With the conclusion of today's ride, I will step off the trail for a planned (short) family vacation and return to the trail on Wednesday.


The end is in sight. Taking a break this close to the finish line is admittedly a bit hard to do, but the plans have been there right along, so here we go!
 

ps. Strava thinks these rides are "Massive" effort. What really happened was I just got around to putting in a more accurate (160 bpm) max heart rate, rather than than the default (190 or 200) which makes Strava think "Wow!", when really these rides are much like the preceding ones in effort. I wonder if there's a way for it go back and 'recalculate' the previous efforts with the new metric... Lol.

 

Ride 50 | Roanoke, VA > Lexington, VA

It seems the Weather Channel is pessimistic about rain and general precipitation in this area. The quantity and frequency of the rain has been well below what I might expect given the forecasted conditions. So for today, the weatherman said (effectively) - Be done by noon." - but at noon it was "Be done by 3pm", and then at 3pm, it was... Maybe some rain tonight. So today turned out to be a low pressure and surprisingly easy ride. Roads following/tracking rivers, rather than crossing them, is always a good sign! From the James in Buchanon to the various tributaries (Buffalo, Chance, etc), there was a good chunk of level cycling.
Top that off with some delicious BBQ at Foothill Mamma's and you've got yourself a good day!
Ran across two local cyclists, one who really felt I shouldn't be cycling in boots (oh well - he didn't "get it") and both had strong (but different) opinions on cycling on Skyline Drive. lol.
If you're in Lexington, don't miss Foothills' Momma's BBQ. Top notch, and of course, award-winning.

Ride 49 | Wytheville, VA > Roanoke, VA

Enjoyable, since I finished prior to the onset of rain - at least ON ME. There were damp roads for about 2-3 miles - evidence that a shower had passed thru the area near Christianburg not long before I got there.

More good conversation on ASP awareness-raising at the lunch stop and the afternoon gatorade chug (64 oz - 3 minutes.)

Today's ride was low-lighted by a 'bridge out' on the planned/proposed bike route that was not on any of the construction-check web sites. Grrrr. Forced a retreat back to US-11 and added about 7-8 miles to the day. Sigh. All's well that ends well. Tomorrow, may be our first weather-forced ride postponement. The call is for thunderstorms with pretty high probability for most of the day. Will check again tonight and in the morning, but I may be hangin' at this hotel for an extra night. We'll see.

 

Ride 48| Johnson City, TN > Wytheville, VA

Dunno why Mr. Garmin thinks this ride started on Sunday eve. This ride was Tuesday, starting about 7:30am! (And I don't know how to correct/change that.) Regardless - it was an eventful day.

First stop on the day: Bristol Motor Speedway! Cause every cyclist has a secret desire to ride a 25+ degree banked track! But it was very cool to be down on the infield and along victory road... very different perspective than what you get when you see these races on television with the packed infield and filled stands around the oval.

Next up: The TN-VA line. Yep. New state, same road: US-11. And a quick stop at the Blackbird bakery. Glazed doughnuts, Raspberry tart, cherry muffin - yep. They do a good job.

And then on to Wytheville. Note: More conversation starters with the bike decals/signage. Another on-the-spot donation ($4). Several pictures taken with strangers (and of course the bike).

Last, I want to give a big shout-out to Chad and the Trek Bicycle - Johnson City (https://www.trekbikes.com/) shop, that gave an excellent tune up to the steed. He was hummin' today!

 

Ride 46 | Knoxville, TN > Johnson City, TN

Kickin' off August with good ride. Perhaps last night's lasagna dinner (thanks Linnea), perhaps a good night's sleep or brekky oatmeal, or a combination of all of those, led to a comfortable easy (but long) ride. The items that usually announce along the way, feet, fanny, back, etc - none of them spoke up until the 85-90 mile mark, making for a comfortable ride nearly throughout.

Big bonus, Walter's daughter Tabitha, along with Josh, Jackson, and Truly (sp?) met me at 60 Beans in Jefferson City for an ice tea and some excellent conversation. Big add to the day's events.

With the extra miles today, there's a (bonus) day off tomorrow, although I look forward to a quick orientation spin thru JC with Erin in the AM. Good stuff.

 

Ride 45 | Oak Ridge, TN > Knoxville, TN

A quick jaunt over the last couple risers to UT land. The Volunteer "National Champion" signs on the edge of town were quite faded! The ones in Columbus, OH are much nicer :-)

Visiting with Linnea and catching up on 14 years since Davidsonville days. Good stuff.

 

Ride 44| Crossville, TN > Oak Ridge, TN

Today was a race with the weather - sunrise at 5:45 (CDT) and I was on the road. Rain was forecast to start between 10 and 11 and I was losing an hour en route to Oak Ridge.

Perhaps more important than rain in/near Oak Ridge - I wanted to get down off the Mid-State plateau - winding narrow road w/ ~1000' descent - before the pavement got wet. That was the real race. Anything beyond that was gravy.

Anyway, got a few spits on last couple miles, but fortunately the heavy stuff waited till the day's work was done. Add to that, the hotel has a 'guest laundry' and I was loving it.

Not loving the fact that the museum I was planning to visit is covid-closed. Booo. (Not the first, won't be the last).

D&C - You too stayed in Crossville (I was at the Hampton Inn).

If anyone is in Crossville, I fully recommend Big John's BBQ. Excellent lunch.

 

Ride 43 | Smithville, TN > Crossville, TN

Ok, so we know there are plenty of -ville towns in Tennessee. Smithville (Magnolia Inn) was a bare-bones hotel that dealt in cash only, so need to re-fill the wallet with greenbacks at some point. (only $60, but that's about what I carry on this ride).

Crossville is on the mid-state plateau, so today's ride was a follow-up to yesterday's rolling hills for the first half, followed by a 1000+' climb up onto the plateau starting as I left Sparta, and concludes with a cruise on into Crossville.

US 70 is in good shape and a good road to ride here. Another sunny and warm one with triple digit heat index. I'd intentionally shortened the distance unsure how ugly the climb leaving Sparta would be. Turned out not bad, so a relatively perfunctory day with the Appalachia scenery filling in all around.

 

Ride 42 | Franklin, TN > Smithville, TN

Awesomeness greeted me at the breakfast table, compliments of Steve M once again - avacado toast to go with French Toast, juice, diet pepsi, fruit and more. That propelled me thru southern Nashville suburbia on roads I wouldn't really recommend for joy riding. Rush hour traffic and some heavier units along with narrow roads (c'mon Nashville, elect a 'Road Board' that will 'Shoulder-Up'!) Anyway Murfreesboro was the perfect stop for a seriously good lunch - fruits, chicken salad sandiwiches, drinks, desserts, you name it, Trudi was on it! And that, my friends got me to Smithville. Once out of suburbia, the grading and the shouldering were quite acceptable.

 

Ride 41 | Hohenwald, TN > Franklin, TN

What an excellent day! Smokin' Hot per usual by mid-day, but several hours of riding in the somewhat cooler morning hours before the heat. Minimal vehicle traffic the entire route. Big climb to start paired with advertised sites that we farther off the track than anticipated and so a bit of grumbling ensued, but did not diminish the day. Landed for lunch ~11:40a with fellow Oberlin High alum Steve Merrill. Where to meet? Loveless Cafe of course! Delicious omelet & biscuits followed by even better (hotter) biscuits and fried chicken. A short cycle over to his house in Franklin completed the day. But man, the day was just beginning. Steve had assembled a variety of signage to trick out the steed. And it worked out amazingly well. Well conceived, and for someone that doesn't know ASP from XYZ, he did a remarkable job. So anyway, I'm now riding a 'conversation starter'!

Despite me expectations of seeing beaucoup orange from the Volunteer faithful, I've really seen zippo. Maybe I need to get closer to Knoxville for that to be a thing...

 

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