PAC Tour Day 30: Elkins, WV to Harrisonburg, VA

Monday, August 5, 2013

We started out in fog again today, with chilly temps around 50 F:

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We expected a long day, even though the mileage was a bit shorter, so managed to be a little more efficient and started out just after 7 am, back onto Rt 33 east, which we followed most of the day:

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We had about 6 miles of 4-lane highway riding at the beginning, with the first of 9 big climbs for the day. Here’s Jose just finishing that climb:

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This was Jose’s first day of riding since his little spill a couple of days ago – unfortunately, his back has been bothering him since then. Even though it was highway shoulder riding again, the views were still fantastic:

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and it was just a short time before Rt 33 narrowed and the traffic lessened, as we continued up 3 more climbs to the first rest stop. The climbs today were much longer than yesterday’s, with grades mostly in the 8-12% range, so it seemed much more strenuous. The descents were still pretty darn good, though!

The 1st rest stop was at the top of the 4th climb of the day, up Rich Mtn, and had a very nice view of the surrounding hills:

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My saddle had developed an extremely annoying squeak by this time, but we forgot to try to fix it at this rest stop. As we continued on, it got on our nerves more and more, so we were a little cranky by the time we made it up another climb and to the 2nd rest stop at a little church in Onego:

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The support van had some lube, so John thoroughly lubricated anything on my saddle and seat post that could possibly be squeaking, and we continued on – squeak gone! Yay! We passed Seneca Rocks shortly thereafter:

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then turned onto a very small one lane road:

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It was nice to be on a quiet road, but it turned out to be quite a strenuous long climb, and eventually led us back to Rt 33 again. Where we started another long climb, ugh! We did see a deer with two fawns in a field though, that was pretty cool. There was a short break in the climb at a 3rd rest stop at the German Valley Overlook, and another gorgeous view:

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Then we finished that climb, and another wonderful descent, and started the last long climb before the lunch break. We’d been riding with Bill & Jill off and on throughout the day, and happened to be just a little behind Jill when a young black bear suddenly darted across the road directly in front of her, and disappeared on the other side! She quickly made a U-turn to avoid it, and then turned again to continue back up the climb. Very exciting!

Lunch was a welcome break from all the climbing, but it was getting late and we still had one last big climb before the end. I think we left the lunch stop around 2;45 pm and continued on through Brandywine to the start of that last climb as we entered the George Washington National Forest:

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It looked innocent enough at the start, but it was the longest climb of the day, around 2000 ft of elevation gain, and quite steep as well, with lots of switchbacks:

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But as we’ve learned, if you just keep pedaling, you eventually get to the top – and to the Virginia border at the top of Shenandoah Mtn, with lots of cheering from Susan N and Veronica as we struggled up the last little bit. We paused for a quick snack and a photo:

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then mounted back up for the wonderful winding descent, which eventually became a more gradual descent through lovely Virginia forest:

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Then it was another 13 miles of rolling hills – which turned out to be more difficult than we had hoped after all the climbing of the day – to the Best Western in Harrisonburg, VA, the final state of our transcontinental tour. We finished at 5:30 pm, with a total of 106 miles and 10500 feet of climbing.

We had a very nice dinner with Bill & Jill at the Ruby Tuesday next door, then headed back to our room for the night. Our toughest days are done, just two more relatively easy days to go!

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