Montpelier & Birthday Wishes

At a "civilized hour" this Saturday, Gretchen and I headed north to celebrate my birthday at the Barboursville Vineyards Palladio Restaurant. The two course lunch with wine pairings was outstanding as always; unique menu items, deliciously prepared and presented with excellent wines. Thank you Gretchen, it was a fine treat! BTW, we learned a few years back on one of Gretchen's birthdays that the five course lunch with wine pairings was not a good idea around the noon hour. It's those pairings!

After lunch, we continued on to Montpelier since we had never been there. It is a beautiful spot on the edge of the Piedmont; James Madison's family home. It was interesting sitting in the room where Madison did his research, reading books in seven languages about world governments, that lead to the Virginia Plan and subsequently the Constitution. It was a novel idea. A well researched, contemplated treatise on governing adopted by all parties for the good of the nation. Today, there are surely well researched, contemplated ideas generated by intellectual folks like Madison, but the politics of partisan, lobby driven parties prevent most from being adopted for the good of the country. Let's hope that changes before we face economic turmoil like countries in Europe are facing today.

Looking west from the manor porch, is a scene from Virginia horse country with the Blue Ridge in the distance. The DuPont family who owned the estate for most of the twentieth century revamped the landscape including race courses and an English style garden. It is a great place for an afternoon stroll so Gretchen got her steps!

The sun is fading so we head south. A quick stop at Whole Foods in Charlottesville will be our only stop before home. It was a great day!



Nelson County Loop

Well, the bikes made it to Reed's Gap, but where are the riders? Collapsed in the field? No, it was a fine climb up the mountain past Wintergreen today and we completed the 48 mile loop with a 10.8 mph average. But this is still the toughest ride we do each year. The big difference now in our third year is we know we can do it; it's just another day in our retirement routine! Yes, we are slightly eccentric! What is the best thing about the ride you ask? Certainly, it's the tradition that Gary buys the beer at Devil's Backbone Brewery at ride's end as penance for getting us into this event! Great day Gary and David and glad you could join us Norman for a beer at the 'bone.


Metric Century

Last fall after the TOF Brothers annual Nelson County Tour, I was looking at the Charlottesville Bike Club's website and became intrigued with the Tour de Louisa ride. So one day last winter, on a trip to Charlottesville, I detoured and checked out the route. It is a beautiful route through the piedmont between Louisa Courthouse and Lake Anna. I concluded that the 66 mile route would be a good one for a 2012 Metric Century.

Lake Anna
Two weeks ago I proposed riding the metric century to the TOF Brothers and they quickly committed. I told them there was an opt out at 42 miles for a 50 miler if needed. Subsequent emails staunchly rejected the idea of an opt out, so when we headed up Route 29 last Wednesday, I knew we were riding 66 miles. It was a beautiful, crisp fall day, perfect for riding with temperatures in the sixties.

We began the ride at 10:00 a.m. at the old Louisa Courthouse, rode east along the western boundaries of Lake Anna and put in 34 miles by lunch. Heading back to Louisa, one could feel we were heading back upstream, but the hills were gradual and there were still long stretches where we could roll. Stopping at 42 miles, I gave the Brothers the choice to opt for the 50 miler, but they would hear nothing of that sort. Stopping at 62 miles, I told them I had reached my goal of riding a metric century, would they get the car and pick me up? But they would hear nothing of that sort! So after 5 hours and 7 minutes of riding we found ourselves back at the old Louisa Courthouse, feeling rather buff and proud of our accomplishment. For me, it was the first metric century I have ridden in over 20 years! Retirement is great!

Still standing and smiling at the end!
P.S. Gary and David are yearning for still more mileage in one ride this season, so later this month, they have signed up to do an English century ( 100 miles ) on the Eastern Shore. Good luck and God's speed boys!


Last weekend we traveled to Hillsborough for a visit with our daughters and the grandchildren. As always, It was a fun weekend of family fun with soccer games, playgrounds, a brewery tour, a ride in the Alexander's new Toyota van ( a van..... the type of vehicle that Katie swore to me that she would never kids change life ) and a trip to Trader Joe's to pick up our coffees!

Gretchen and her girls!
The grand kids are are going through normal growing stages. Audrey is beginning to babble and smile, Maggie is emerging from stranger anxiety and learning to walk, and Henry is learning to ride his two wheeler. In fact, if he gets started, he can really truck on his bike. He totally wore his dad out at the playground as David ran to keep up with him speeding around the bike path. Henry just needs to learn to start and stop without falling and he will have the two wheeler mastered.



He took us on dirt!

Yes, that is dirt and gravel my bicycle tire is resting on. It was a traumatic event for her (I assume bicycles like sailboats are referenced in the feminine). When we got home I had to give her Zoloft and a deep frame massage! The tragic event happened in Campbell County, some where on a road far, far removed between Rustburg and Gladys. So lets grade the ride.

  • 20 Fine cool fall day, wonderful, challenging 39 mile ride
  • 20 Beautiful rural countryside with large family farms and fine lunch spot
  • 10 Tons of domestic animals including the cutest goat ever
  • 0 Riding on Covered Bridge Road with no covered bridge
  • -100 Dirt road
  • -50 Total Points
He took us on dirt! Who did? Well, we can eliminate the author of this entry, and the rider with a hand made bicycle fit to his body specs, so that leaves..... ;-)