It was a day that required breaking mental schemes. Ride a 49.5 mile auto scenic route through the Blue Ridge Mountains on a bike? Sure, why not. Violate a long held rule prohibiting cycling when the temperature is below 40 degrees. Well, it's not going to be 40 degrees until after noon at lower elevations and we're climbing to over 3000 feet, so we must! Sure, why not. So, the day began at the Devil's Backbone Brewery parking lot in Nellysford. Sunlight, no wind to speak of and the long climb up Wintergreen Mountain to the Parkway pushed the cold out of our awareness. Reaching Reed's Gap in a little over an hour had us psyched for the tough climb was behind us and the 15 or so miles of climbing to Montebello we knew from last year has gentler grades and even some down hill runs. The first long down hill we encountered on the Parkway was face numbing but a stop to view Bald Mountain seven or eight miles in the distance reminded us there would be plenty of opportunity to warm up.
At lunchtime, we stopped at the Twenty Minute Overlook where we met two couples; Tar Heel fans headed to DB Brewery for lunch and to assuage the pain from their team's loss to the Hokies last night. I told them my daughter was happy about the outcome, but David kept his allegiance a secret! The rest of the ride on the Parkway went quickly; beautiful ridge-line views on a bright, sunny afternoon. The turn onto Rt. 56 and its immediate climb found David talking about beer. After a quick stop at the Montebello store, we headed down the mountain toward Massies Mill. It was chilly. I swear I could feel shards of frozen sweat pressing against my thighs when I began to pedal again after the descent. ;-) Upon regrouping, Gary continued the tradition of pedaling in the lead so David and I can draft off him for the six or seven miles to Rt. 151; thanks Gary we needed that break!
Mentally, once we reach the intersection at Rt. 151, the ride is a piece of cake! It is still over 10 miles back to the start but all the major climbs and more than three quarters of the ride are in memory. So we pedal forth and soon the mountain top above Nellysford is under foot and we are coasting ( David in the lead speeding) back to the DB Brewery parking lot. Great ride today. We even did it a bit faster than last year. TOF Brothers picture after the ride, an Eight Point IPA pale ale, and an hour by the fire shows we are no worse for the ride. Will we drive or ride the Nelson County Scenic Auto Route next year? We'll keep you posted but if Gary has any say, we'll.....
Every boy needs his growler! Happy Birthday Gary!!