PAC Tour Day 29: Parkersburg to Elkins, WV

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A little cat greeted us as we stepped out of our room this morning, and then scampered away when it saw the bike – very scary! The Red Roof Inn was shrouded in fog as we ate our breakfast out by the trailer, and anticipated the climbing ahead:

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The fog stayed with us for the first hour of the ride before it started to burn off:

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The first third of the ride, 47 miles, was highway shoulder riding on Route 50 east, part of the Robert C Byrd Appalachian Highway System, with long gradual climbs followed by long gradual descents. On the positive side, the grades were gentle and we had great views of the rolling, forested West Virginia hills, and wildflowers in the median:

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Here’s Steve – a crew member – nearing the top of one of the climbs. Crew members get to ride every other day.

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Although it had a nice wide shoulder, there was a lot of debris, so several riders got flats throughout the day. And of course the traffic isn’t very pleasant. So we were relieved to turn off the highway onto Snowbird Road, a much quieter road

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which led us to Doddridge County Park for the 2nd rest stop of the day, where we had our official PAC Tour photos taken. I think the climb back out of the park was one of the steepest of the day!

We continued on quiet rural roads through some small towns. The climbing on these was quite a bit steeper than on the highway, usually in the 10-15% range, but the climbs were fairly short and almost always followed by a nice descent, so it was actually pretty fun.

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Eventually, we arrived in Weston for lunch on the grounds of the Weston State Hospital:

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We all managed to avoid getting committed there, in spite of this crazy ride across the country, and continued on Rt 33, which turned into more highway riding. Fortunately for us, a long section of this had recently been repaved and the right lane blocked off from the rest of traffic by orange cones, so it was actually pretty nice riding.

We turned off onto old Rt 33, another pretty rural road

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with some more climbing and an exciting 50 mph downhill section. We were back on Rt 33 for a short section before exiting toward Crystal Springs and then just a few more miles to Elkins, WV, where we saw this church with an unusual tiled roof.

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And a couple miles later, we arrived at the Super-8 right around 5:30 pm, for a total of 123 miles and around 6500 feet of climbing.

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We walked across the street to the Steer Steakhouse for a buffet dinner with Paul and Karen. It was a long day, but the climbing had seemed pretty moderate, and hadn’t been as difficult as we thought it might be. By the look of the profile, tomorrow’s gonna be much harder.

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