Visiting West Virginia was on my checklist for some time. Last Saturday I headed out to ride Stone Soup 200k. This was a really scenic ride, visiting some historical places. Starting in Glen Echo, then moving north towards Antietam Battlefield on the way to Shepherdstown, WV. Then back south towards DC visiting the cities of Harpers Ferry, Lovettesville and Point of Rocks.
My journey started at 7 am to avoid night riding and the heat. I love how quiet and relaxing the first few hours can be. Before I know it I am on River Rd for about ten miles.
Few more turns and I was at my first Control in Poolesville,MD. According to the forecast – today is going to be cloudy, possibly raining in the afternoon. It appeared like the sky is changing colors every 10 minutes. From almost clear to dark blue, from just few clouds to dark and nasty rain.
Hour and twenty minutes for the first 21 miles. Who cares ! I still have over 100 miles to go. Further north I entered Upper Montgomery county. Nice view of the peaks from the top opened on the horizon. While some light showers passed, a group of cyclists were taking a break on the side of the road.As I climbed the first real mountain, there was this foggy peak in front of me . It just takes your breath away ! ! !
I was riding on these awfully quiet roads between cornfields, providing a nice shield from the wind. We played a catch and go game with the rain, as I never got soaking wet. I was also not completely dry either 🙂
The clouds were flying fast and the wind was coming up in a gust. Scary picture. I continued with a nice pace. Suddenly a familiar sign – Road Work, Road Closed! There is always a way to avoid road work on foot I thought. Even if you have to carry your bicycle few feet . . . . As I approached , it looked like this would not be the case today.
There was heavy machinery and a creek. I got mood on my shoes and carried my bicycle over it. Almost slipped and got wet. Before you know it I was on the other side taking pictures. What a success I thought 🙂
After few more flat miles and countless time crossing the Potomac River I was finally in West Virginia. The first city across the state line was Shepherdstown, est. 1734. I passed along Shepherd University and their RAM stadium. Had few sweets at a Bakery, refilled my supplies and headed back. The sooner I leave, the less possible rain I thought.
My ride continued along the Potomac river. Many tourists were doing activities outside. Children were in the river on these yellow flotation devices carried by big school like looking buses. . .I know, I wish I had a picture. I then made a turn on Limekiln Road. It offered zero traffic and plenty of rough road surface in a super narrow asphalt. Where am I ? I climbed over he next hill to Dargan ,MD. Such a beautiful country side. The nature in West Virginia was amazing !
Lets try again. I crossed the Potomac River yet today. Fisherman were trying their luck under the dark skies. . .
I now had 3 to 4 hours of riding and hoped to avoid the rain.
Soon afterwards I was in Poolesville again – 25 miles to go. Yeyyy. As soon as I left Poolesville the asphalt was suspiciously wet. It looked like a heavy rain took place not long ago. Before I know it, there was heavy traffic in both direction. And a heavy rain. I can barely see 30 feet in from of me. Branches were laying on the ground. My hope was that I am visible. The rain washed away the sun block from my face. All that sunscreen was now in my eyes and they were burning. I had to stop and wash my face. Soaked already I put my jacket on 🙂
Lets get back on the road. A good test on riding under the rain. I think I learn few lessons :
1. Get your rain jacket on before the rain starts 🙂
2. Don’t forget the seat cover?
3. You got so see and you want to be seen! – Wear reflective vest, reflective triangle in the back, tail light on . . .
4. Wool hat is great – keeping my head dry and warm. The visor blocked some rain so I can see.
5. Wear wool socks. I was late with that as well. As soon as the rain stopped I had to wring out my socks.
The skies cleared for the last few miles and I still rolled into the last control under 10 hours. Great day !
Next up is Delaware. Doing Tour De- La Mar next week