Our plan to ride a lot of miles this month got us out for one great permanent and, this last weekend, a two-day, “515K TuneUp Tour” from Warrenton, Va. to Lexington and back.
Today we start with George Moore’s “Wild and Wonderful 203” Permanent from Columbia Furnance, Va., on July 17th. (Tomorrow we begin two days of reports from MG about the TuneUp Tour).
George’s route starts at the West Virginia border and put us right into the low gears with a climb over Wolf Gap and then four other major climbs. There are many lovely sections, including Lost River State Park in West Virginia and a nice backroads finish. It is based on a popular Mountains of Misery training ride, if that gives any indication of the hills!
The weather started cloudy, hot and humid — typical Mid-Atlantic summer weather. Around noon a little front blew through and dumped a brief rain shower, then the skies cleared and we had sunny, hot and slightly less humid weather the rest of the way. We started 20 minutes late and did not go all out, but still managed to finish with two hours to spare. We were glad for the extra hours of summer sunlight!
It was tandem-friendly in that we topped 50 m.p.h. on one downhill and topped a couple of rollers, but there were not many flat sections. Our time was 11:32 overall with about nine hours of riding time. We sat down at all three controls and stopped for photos along the way. That approach allowed us to indulge our touring impulses a little, which always seem to take over when we’re out riding by ourselves.
MG and I learned later that we were the first riders to take on this permanent. It was an honor to inaugurate this lovely route. The roads were almost uniformly quiet, the drivers we encountered gave us plenty of room, and many of the roads were shaded. We also enjoyed the soft, lush valley views that make riding in the Shenandoah Valley area so satisfying. We saw a lot of wildlife, including wild turkeys.
MG has posted a brief report and a link to her photos at her Chasing Mailboxes blog.
We thoroughly enjoyed getting out of the hot city for a day. Thanks George!