Wow! What a weekend. I don’t know if it qualified as epic, but it sure was fun. Spent the weekend up in the mountains, riding my Razorback and having a blast with about a dozen of my Tripower teammates. We tallied six hours on the bike Saturday at Sherando and at least three more on Sunday hitting the Shenandoah Mountain Bike Club‘s Super Bowl Ride to Reddish Knob. That’s me on the summit Sunday above.
We crashed in a rental chalet at Royal Oaks, enjoying a lot of good beer, including the awesome Bells Hopslam Ale (another in the 100th percentile on Ratebeer.com) and a late Friday night. Saturday morning, over oatmeal and eggs, Liz convinced us to descend Love Gap to Sherando before riding Big Levels so we could have a long climb waiting for us at the end of the day. I’m convinced most cyclists are masochists; we seem to like to hurt ourselves.
Liz and Blair plot our course.
The day before an ice storm hit the area after it had rained all day, so the normally dry or trickling streams were quite full and flowing, which makes for tricky crossings when you want to stay dry.
Taking Blair’s lead, many of us were soon pulling off our shoes and socks and wading across like BillG here; though Liz, Mark and Wes gave up on keeping shoes dry and started riding through the streams.
The Big Levels switchbacks brutalized the group, stringing us across the mountain as they grew steeper and steeper toward the top. I alternated between riding and trudging. Above at the top, Kevin needs a hug, Jerry and Liz showing how we all felt.
Crazy Mike and Jimmy D pose as Silly Sally and Bill G descend.
Once we finally reached the bottom, we regrouped and sunned ourselves atop the Sherando Lake dam, then headed out for the long climb back to Royal Oaks. Who’s idea was that anyway? We feasted Saturday night on Mike’s ribs, chili, gumbo, potatos, salad, sweet potato curry and who knows what else.
The next day we got up and Aunt Jemima made us all pancakes. Then we piled in the car and drove over to near Harrisonburg where riders from all over the valley were gathering for the traditional Super Bowl Ride. This was my first time participating in this long established event.
The ride started uneventfully enough on a slightly climbing road up into a little glen. We turned off this road onto a narrow steeper climb that just went on and on. We slowly climbed eight miles to a little windswept saddle where we again regrouped before tackling a muddy, snowy and icy dirt road that climbed the last three miles to Reddish Knob. I felt great climbing this section, but it was very slippery because of the mud and ice as you can see in these pictures…
Here’s the view from the summit:
After a while it started to get cold and it was time to roll. We dropped down a slippery wet dirt road from the summit to a meadow and entered the singletrack downhill, which dropped semi-sanely across a rocky ridge for a while before falling insanely straight down a steep hillside. No switchbacks, just down, a little curve here, a tree crossing there. Wes tried to clear one of those right in front of me and didn’t make it, endoing face first into the ground. He said he was all right and I helped untangle him from his bike, but he ended up cracking rib. Ouch.
Once we got down the trail we came out on a dirt road that continued to descend to Hone Quarry. We bombed it and got covered head to toe in wet dirt…
That’s Kevin and Jerry and me eating a little extra after our ride.