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5 guys, 5 days, 500km in Virginia

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5 guys, 5 days, 500km in Virginia

Old 06-15-21, 12:15 PM
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5 guys, 5 days, 500km in Virginia

Back in the beginning of the year, @Spaghetti Legs sent out an email to the usual suspects titled "Bustin' out in 2021", anticipating vaccines, ability to travel, etc. sometime in the late Spring/early summer around the Commonwealth of Virginia (Hugh lives in Charlottesville). Sending us pics of rides in his beautiful area made us all want to go. At some point nearly 10 people showed interest, one by one some dropped out for various reasons, finally we solidified the list.



from left to right, @SquireBlack (Andrew), @nlerner (Neal), @rccardr (Doc), @gugie (Mark), Spaghetti Legs

Andrew and Mark flew in from Portland, OR to D.C. on a Saturday, Neal took an overnight train from Bostonto D.C., Doc lives in suburban D.C., we took two days to ride to Charlottesville, from there we rode 3 days up in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Key to doing this:


In spite of the heat and humidty, we had a great time.

I'll kick off this thread, my cohorts will add more pics, details, and personal experiences. Some bikes were C&V, others not so much, but we all shared that common interest.
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Old 06-15-21, 12:29 PM
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Must have been a great ride. It's been years since I've been up on Skyline Dr. Heck haven't been "home" back there since 2008.
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Old 06-15-21, 12:39 PM
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As @gugie noted, I started in Boston:



I took the overnight Amtrak to DC, and was surprised to see that I didn’t have to put my bike in the baggage car but instead could hang it in the coach a couple of rows from my seat:



That it extended into the passageway by nearly a foot didn’t seem to cause too much disruption, and it was very nice to roll it right off, and then hop on for the six-mile ride to meet Mark and Andrew for breakfast in Crystal City. From there we took the Metro to Springfield, where we met Doc on his beautiful Davidson. It was already hot and humid, a sign of things to come for the next 75 miles to Culpepper. A highlight was a halfway stop at a beer garden in the middle of nowhere:



After a night of blissful A/C in our hotel, we headed out to Charlottesville (Hugh had joined us in Culpepper to lead the way). Lots of VA scenic views along the way:



The next day was for climbing, specifically a couple of thousand feet up to Skyline Dr on a rural gravel road. It was awesome:



Our destination was Big Meadows Lodge, shown in Mark’s first pic. We had a rustic good time (and I must note that really good local beer was available everywhere). The next day was a ridge ride, specifically south on Skyline until it turned into Blue Ridge Parkway. About 11 miles from our accommodations for the night in Nellysford, the skies opened up, and we sought shelter at a ranger station. An hour later, we were on our way and had some amazing views of the clouds down in the valley:



The final riding day was a relatively short jaunt back to Charlottesville for some R&R and swapping tall tales of the trip. Finally, Mark and I headed back to DC on Amtrak where we parted ways.



Once home, my family members seemed glad to see me:

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Old 06-15-21, 12:57 PM
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Looks like a great ride.
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Old 06-15-21, 01:02 PM
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Looks like a great ride, and just down the road from me. Being a recent transplant from Florida my legs are still getting used to the hills here.
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Old 06-15-21, 03:11 PM
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Full disclosure, I didn't make it all the way to Charlottesville on Day 2. It hit 94F with fairly high humidity, the last 20 miles or so was a death march for me. I made a new BFF at a country store.


You'll have to take this bag of ice from my cold, dead body, which will be sometime in December. It's too hot still

I had a very difficult time eating dinner, and even breakfast the next morning, so I announced that I might not answer the bell. Hugh gave me an option of starting out on Day 2, and at around mile 20 there was an option to peel off around Orange, ride a few miles to Montpelier (James Madison's estate), cool off, maybe take a tour, and wait for The Wolf (Hugh) to bail me out. After having difficulty keeping up with the gang, I decided discretion was the better part of valor. As I made the turn for Montpelier I saw dozens of restored vintage cars in the visitor's parking lot. Model T's, a Cadillac, 100 year old FIAT, a Renault, Hupmobile, Locomobile, and others. So I had a very C&V day! There were air conditioned rooms to explore, so by the time Hugh pulled up to pick me up (after he and the rest of the gang riding 30 more miles to his house) I was reasonably cooled off. A car ride, a shower and a couple of beers later, I started feeling better.



Hugh was a great capo on this ride, always checking to make sure we regrouped. Doc, Neal and Andrew often slid back to my personal grupetto, most of the time I carried the lanterne rouge.
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Old 06-15-21, 03:54 PM
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Thanks for the reports, guys. Much appreciated! Sometimes I wish I was a little closer ...
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Old 06-15-21, 04:06 PM
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Oh boy I would have loved that ride.
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Old 06-15-21, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Full disclosure, I didn't make it all the way to Charlottesville on Day 2. It hit 94F with fairly high humidity, the last 20 miles or so was a death march for me. I made a new BFF at a country store.


You'll have to take this bag of ice from my cold, dead body, which will be sometime in December. It's too hot still
I had a very difficult time eating dinner, and even breakfast the next morning, so I announced that I might not answer the bell. Hugh gave me an option of starting out on Day 2, and at around mile 20 there was an option to peel off around Orange, ride a few miles to Montpelier (James Madison's estate), cool off, maybe take a tour, and wait for The Wolf (Hugh) to bail me out. After having difficulty keeping up with the gang, I decided discretion was the better part of valor. As I made the turn for Montpelier I saw dozens of restored vintage cars in the visitor's parking lot. Model T's, a Cadillac, 100 year old FIAT, a Renault, Hupmobile, Locomobile, and others. So I had a very C&V day! There were air conditioned rooms to explore, so by the time Hugh pulled up to pick me up (after he and the rest of the gang riding 30 more miles to his house) I was reasonbly cooled off. A car ride, a shower and a couple of beers later, I started feeling better.

.
Wow! Glad you're OK, Gugieman. You all looked heat stressed in the pictures on Flickr.
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Old 06-15-21, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by northbend View Post
Wow! Glad you're OK, Gugieman. You all looked heat stressed in the pictures on Flickr.
He was hurting on days 1 & 2, which I could tell because he was unusually quiet during our ride. But then the miracle of Dolly Madison occurred, and he was back to speed on days 3-5 (complete with ongoing narrative).
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Old 06-15-21, 05:11 PM
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Nice! Good to see group riding back on the menu.
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Old 06-15-21, 05:28 PM
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Lucky gang! Next year when I'm fully retired (and vaccinated)! Great read and I'm glad all are well despite the Mid-Atlantic heat and humidity.

My parents honeymooned at Big Meadows and returned often. They never took their three sons. Hahaha!
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Old 06-15-21, 06:37 PM
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Lots of beer. Lots of sweat. Lots of beer. Lots of climbing. Lots of stories. Lots of beer. Lots of friends:




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Old 06-15-21, 06:38 PM
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Lots of amazing scenery:




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Old 06-15-21, 06:41 PM
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And a TON of great riding with four amazing & supportive friends, but for some reason 3 of them had pedal problems:




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Old 06-15-21, 06:45 PM
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There were some

And some breakfast nachos

There were discouraging times

There were times we felt like chickens

And times we felt more, um, ursine
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Old 06-15-21, 06:49 PM
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But let's face it, how does life get any better than this?


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Old 06-15-21, 07:04 PM
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From left to right, Doctorate in Computer Science, Doctorate in English, Medical Doctor, and a guy we call Doc


BTW, I've got the exact same socks that Doc has, but he didn't tell me he was bringing them, so we avoided being twinsies.
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Old 06-15-21, 08:36 PM
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Oh man, do I miss Charlottesville now -- I moved away in 2007, but it lives on in my heart and username. Glad you had a good time!
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Old 06-16-21, 05:12 AM
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gugie --- Four Docs Not In a Box!
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Old 06-16-21, 05:23 AM
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A few more random photos from our tour:


Across from Union Station in DC.

Valley view.

Until next time!

Pano.

Outlaws.
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Old 06-16-21, 05:53 AM
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Looks like a great time. Being an ex-Virginian, I can say there are still some beautiful parts of the state. Used to hike the AT quite a bit and Shenandoah National Park is one of my favorite places.
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Old 06-16-21, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Back in the beginning of the year, @Spaghetti Legs sent out an email to the usual suspects titled "Bustin' out in 2021", anticipating vaccines, ability to travel, etc. sometime in the late Spring/early summer around the Commonwealth of Virginia (Hugh lives in Charlottesville). Sending us pics of rides in his beautiful area made us all want to go. At some point nearly 10 people showed interest, one by one some dropped out for various reasons, finally we solidified the list.



snip . . .
This is the handlebar bag crew which is what all the cool kids use on their bikes, right? This sounds like a terrific trip. These pics are good motivation. I need to get something lined up for this summer.
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Old 06-16-21, 07:06 AM
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Mike, you are correct. This was my first time using both a front rack/bag and rear rack/trunk bag on an extended trip. Probably an extra 25-28 pounds of clothing, personal items and support equipment.
Dave Dain at Waxwing did an outstanding job on the custom bags, they worked perfectly. VO front rack and a Sunlite rear.
Also the largest 700c tires I've ever used- 38mm Gravel Kings. Surprising road feel for such large tires at low pressure, but no issues either on pavement or long stretches of gravel.
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Old 06-16-21, 08:15 AM
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Looking good, gentleman! Gugie, I sympathize with a PNWer in the South, re: heat and humidity. Glad you survived to ride another day.
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