First Big Road Ride of the Year!

Remember when it was 50 degrees warmer 10 days ago?  So do I!  Last Sunday (2/8/15) David and I got out on road bikes to enjoy a high of 60 degrees along a 98 mile excursion into the wild and wonderful West Virginia.  The route was simple yet elegant, 5 mountain passes, 4 county's in two states, and short sleeves! 

Briery Branch Reservoir at the base of our first climb

Briery Branch Reservoir at the base of our first climb

The first and by far the largest mountain was reddish knob.  After climbing up 2000 vertical feet on clean pavement we crested the saddle to see something we hadn't planned for, 4 inches of melting snow on the road that descends the back side into W.VA. The normally 5-10 minute descent into West Virginia took us over 30 minutes!  Sitting on the top tubes of our bikes and scooting down the sketchy slush like toddlers on push bikes, complete with ear to ear smiles!  

Atop Moyers Gap looking back at Reddish Knob

Atop Moyers Gap looking back at Reddish Knob

Upon arriving in Sugar Grove later than planned and with wet feet we feared the worst for the road conditions on Moyers gap, a tight steep climb winding up over another mountain taking us further into the belly of the beast.  We went back and forth but decided to commit to our original route and race the sun home.  Moyers gap is a climb straight out of a European picture book, steep tight switch backs, weathered trees and little wooden huts line the road.  The Gap had perfectly clear pavement on both sides and amazing views all the way up!

Moyers gap winds along a steep mountain pasture

Moyers gap winds along a steep mountain pasture

After Moyers gap we road 20 miles south on Doe Hill road into a stiff headwind.  All along the road the ditches were so full of water from the rapid snow melt that the violently flowing ditches were spilling into the pavement.  We tirelessly pushed into the wind for an hour before we arrived in McDowell Virginia where we refueled and flipped our direction to hopefully take advantage of the wind to carry us home.

Burg bound in McDowell Virginia, the half way point

Burg bound in McDowell Virginia, the half way point

From McDowell we headed east on US 250 up and over three more mountains.  This was the busiest road of our entire route but it wasn't to bad on a Sunday afternoon.  RT. 250 is a winding two lane highway with a very small shoulder but it makes up for it with steep curvy climbs and descents that are a blast to hammer through.

David Taylor pushing it up the climb

David Taylor pushing it up the climb

After cresting the last of the 3 climbs on 250 we took a break at the confederate breastworks.  The breastworks cement benches provide a great view of all that the mountains you just conquered.  Also a great place to eat more candy!

Looking west from the Confederate breastworks.

Looking west from the Confederate breastworks.

After descending the last mountain, we made a quick stop at the store in West Augusta on RT. 250. This is one of my favorite stores to hit on a ride!  In addition to a vast array of beverages and snacks they pedal some of the finest warm country foods for every meal of the day.  Our chosen bounty was a bacon cheese burger and mountain dew cake.  With less then two hours until sunset we downed some food and made a beeline for home.  

Back into our home county with fading day light.

Back into our home county with fading day light.

IMG_5081.JPG