Today MG has the second installment of her story of our two-day tour last weekend.
Tune Up Tour 2010 Day 2: Lexington to Warrenton – 146 miles
Felkerino and I were so happy to arrive in Lexington at the end of Day 1. One, we were determined not to eat the cost of our reservation. It’s surprising how much that can inspire a person to keep moving! Two, it meant we could take a break from pedaling our brains out.
We settled into our room and crashed for a little over three hours. At 2:40 a.m., I heard Felkerino say, “Happy anniversary.” This 146-mile day would be our anniversary ride. I threw on my Voler shorts and Shebeest jersey. This sure was a stark contrast to one year ago when I was getting my hair and makeup done, and then slipping into a lovely silk dress and strappy satin sandals.
Felkerino and I wandered over to the Waffle House for a romantic anniversary breakfast and then made our way out of town at 4 a.m. via the Bike Centennial Route. The moon was bright in the sky and except for a little breeze moving the trees, the night was quiet.
Even though I enjoyed the route itself, I was having a tough time moving in these early miles. This drag in my stroke led to a pre-dawn tandem team meeting. “Mary, what’s going on?” “Well, I’m tired Ed.” Ok, let’s move along. I later learned that we were also doing a steady climb on this section, but the darkness makes terrain somewhat difficult to discern.
The moon set, the sun rose, cows started stirring (yes, I think we were up before the cows), and the day seemed to feel more manageable. First light was gorgeous. My photos don’t come close to capturing the beauty of the sun rolling out its rays onto the countryside, but I’ll share a couple, anyway.
We continued our quiet meander through the farm country, and then met up with a new friend.
S/he declined our offer to join the ride after running beside us for a couple of minutes and we pedaled on, alone, to our first rest stop. This stop was EXCELLENT, as they offered “special” coffee drinks as well as the normal drip coffee. I ordered a latte and proceeded to conk out for fifteen minutes. I woke up just as I was about to start drooling. Thank goodness. I’d already cried and vomited. I didn’t need to add drooling to my list of tour accomplishments. Ed and I refueled on ice and made our way up the road.
We caught up to Route 11, or what our friend Crista likes to call the “Great Fleche Highway” and followed that for the next twenty or so miles until we passed through Harrisonburg, Va. Felkerino stopped to have a coffee at the Little Grill, and as I went inside I saw this sign.
That sign was perfect for us! I had been daunted by our 146-mile day and nervous about the second consecutive day of heat advisories. However, we had put our heads down (I had literally put my head down :)) and made good time on Route 11. We now had 67 miles in the bank and less than a century to complete our weekend plans. I felt confident we would make it. If only I literally could have made a popsicle out of my obstacle, life would have been perfect.
At this point of the ride, the knock-your-socks-off climbing started. We hauled up New Market Gap (Massanutten Mountain), taking a couple of shade breaks along the way. The grade of the climb was such that the unshaded sections quickly overheated me. The heat itself didn’t bother me so much, but I noticed that the extra effort because of the heat would make me nauseous. I love the way our bodies communicate with us.
We descended off of New Market Gap/Massanutten Mountain into Luray. There, Felkerino and I ate lunch at “A Moment to Remember” (a very cute lunch spot) and he gave me an anniversary gift. How much did it weigh, you ask. Ha ha! Lucky for him, the gift was light!
We pedaled out of Luray into the heat of the day. We saw one bank thermometer that read 93 degrees and one two blocks up that read 102 degrees. Of course, Ed took a picture of the 93 degrees and I wasn’t able to get the 102. Grr. Now everyone will think we rode in mild temperatures!
The climb up Thornton Gap was six miles, but offered some shade and the grade was not killer. Also, while we climbed we got a lot of love from the bikers. You know, the ones with motors. That was fun. Several rode by and gave us big thumbs up. Yay! I told Ed we were getting props from the “big kids,” since I sometimes see bicycles as the kid sibling to the mighty motorcycle.
While we rested a few minutes at the summit, I looked behind me and noticed that some dark clouds were moving in. The wind picked up, too. Hmmm… “Felkerino, we better get down this mountain.”
We took off down Thornton Gap, got a couple more thumbs up, and as we reached the foot of the climb in Sperryville, Va., the rain began to fall and we took shelter under a small awning.
The storm ripped through quickly and we got back out on the road about 15 minutes later. I stashed my camera for the remaining 30 miles. We covered familiar back roads into Warrenton, Virginia, including everyone’s favorite, Piney Mountain Road, and arrived back at the car with a total of 321 miles for the weekend.
The route was a work of art. Crista Borras adapted this route from a Lynn Kristianson ride. Thanks to them for finding these amazing roads and guiding us over the miles this weekend.
Felkerino was a great tandem partner. As we rode the final miles of the weekend, he commented, “I don’t know how we can top this anniversary.” Me neither, but I think I need to start planning for next July!