I was intending to scout a new route out of Sperryville, on a lot of gravel hugging the eastern base of the central section of Shenandoah Park. But then I got a hankering for soup — from a favorite hole in the wall in Charlottesville. So I sorta combined them, without the gravel. It would be a sun-up to sundown ride, I expected — about a 150 miles as I plotted it. As usual, I veered here and there as the notion struck me.
Among the highlights: the many views of Old Rag in the morning sun; the ups and downs around Ruth, west of Madison (where I found a cottage I wouldn’t mind having); the grounds of the Blue Ridge School in Albemarle, where everyone smiled and waved, especially the boys emerging from their dorms in ties on a Saturday; the views of Fox Mountain riding along Blackwells Hollow Road; and the long descent toward Charlottesville on Browns Gap Turnpike and Garth Road. Finally, the soup menu on the downtown mall, after six hours in the saddle.
The best thing about the return was the strong tailwind all the way to Old Somerset. When the wind turned from the east as I made the left turn toward Beautiful Run, I thought I had been delivered a supernatural gift. The real gift was being able to spend a Saturday marveling at the natural wonders of a favorite part of the world — and to finish just as the light of the day ebbed.
The pics are here.