I’m not updating this blog regularly, so it’s hardly worth it to try to catch up on everything that has happened since last time.
On the cycling front, I’m just back from an epic day in the
The group was a near repeat of one we gathered last year in August. Without Eric, who was stuck doing housework, it was a trifecta—me, Evan, and Matt. They were decked out in their City Bikes mountain bike team kits and each sported PowerTap SLs. They looked ripe to team up on me and stuff me into a cave of sheer and unbridled pain. Speaking of caves, I should clarify part of why I love to ride Skyline. The après-ride ritual is now deeply etched. On the way home, we generally stop off at the world famous Spelunkers burger joint in charming Front Royal, VA for calorie uploads. I’m partial to the double cavern burger and a side of fries…fried in 100% peanut oil. I don’t have the photo evidence to prove it, but the burgers there are pretty effin’ dope. They’re adequately greasy, piping hot, and generally thick. Certainly not the toppest notch, but pretty darn good enough. Back to the ride.
To sum up the ride, I think it’s fair to say we all suffered. About 27 miles in, I was already hurting in a way that left me wondering if I was gonna even be able to complete the route. BTW, the route took us from Front Royal down to Luray and back to Front Royal. I guess the cue is known around these parts as Mass-Sky. The name derives from the featured climbs…up Massanutten and up
The ascent up Massanutten was good times. It’s a steep little hill, but is probably only about 3 and a little more miles long. I stuck with Evan and definitely felt like hurling a few times. Kept my composure and summited feeling a little more hopeful about the rest of the day. The descent off the hill was screaming fast!! I hit 45 mph at one point before realizing I should probably slow down. I think the brakes might’ve been getting a little hot, as they started howling at one point…something they’ve never done on any ride.
There wasn’t much time for banter on this ride, as we pretty much kept it single file and took pulls of varying lengths. After a refueling stop in Luray, it was off to 211 and the rise into the park. 211 is a spectacular climb. The pavement is nearly butter, the grades are consistent, the length is challenging, the road is wide enough for feeling safe, and suffering is all but assured. We all put in a good ride up 211. I did some extra climbing (dropped my cue sheet and had to double back), so I’ve got all sorts of excuses for why my performance might’ve dipped after that climb. Of course, I’m only kidding. My double back was only about 200 meters, but the brief downhill quickly got my body ready for some descending and a respite from the crippling burn in my legs. For some perspective on how steep the pitch was, consider that, as I approached my fallen cue sheet, I ended up locking up my wheels trying to slow to a stop from only about 4 mph.
We finally made it to the entrance to
To sum up…another successful pain fest out in the beautiful
We’ll aim to do it again before the weather turns cold!!