Seeking a Century

Light snow on Hogback Mountain, Shenandoah National Park

Despite the mild winter, I hadn’t managed to ride a century since December. I’ve been on the bike nearly every day, but the short days combined with cramped schedules and weather that went lousy (only cold rain and wet snow meet the definition) kept me from riding a full day.

Chester Gap, from Crest Hill Road, Fauquier County

By the middle of February, I was feeling charged to brace whatever the weather gods might throw at me. As my buddy Harry Campbell says when heading to the White Mountains to camp in January, we’re just after a little discomfort in our oh-so-comfortable lives. So when I awakened Sunday morning in Sperryville to 22 degrees and howling winds, I was excited about the day’s potential for a little discomfort. But by the time Laurie and I headed down the driveway it was already 10 o’clock, and I would’ve been hard pressed to make it home before dark. I had her drop me in Washington so as to avoid starting 94 miles facing the wind on a highway. I would have plenty of blustering breeze — and a very nice tailwind from Leesburg to Arlington. Pics: Washington to Washington.

The following Saturday, Lane drove us to Marshall to meet Ed and Mary’s tandem for a modified, 113-mile “We Can See Clearly Now,” a route circumnavigating the northern section of Shenandoah Park and the Massanutten Valley, with Front Royal on the north and Thornton Gap on the south. But we hardly felt discomfort in the weather. Temps at the start were high 30s and rose to the upper 50s by the time we stopped for lunch in Luray.

Lane, Mary and Ed, near the northern end of Massanutten

We did a lot of dawdling over a 10-hour day: a coffee break in Front Royal, the long lunch, a couple of other pop stops, pauses to take in the views — and cautious approaches to unrestrained canines. It was Lane, who never seems to tire, who dragged me safely the last six miles behind his headlight and his draft  back to Marshall, a good half-hour after dark.

Pics, with a few by Mary: On a clear day.

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One Response to Seeking a Century

  1. Kelly says:

    Nice, I got in 75 yesterday which was my biggest day for the year so far.

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