I had planned to do this ride a week or two earlier, but weather didn’t cooperate nor did a broken bike help, but I just couldn’t wait and set out with my friend Steve to ride up a real climb towards getting real suffering and experience in.
There were several routes to ride Mt Weather, but I decided to start it at Trail’s End in Purcelleville, since getting out there seemed to be a bit easier than getting to Marshall.
So we got on the road around 9:15am, and after about a hundred yards, I realized there was an issue with my front brake… I forgot to put the caliper back together, so we stopped, and then about at a mile, there was an issue with the front caliper rubbing the wheel/tire that we spent about 10 minutes fixing.
Back under Rt 7, into Round Hill, and hang a left… then onto Snickersville Tpk, and then the climb starts, after crossing a one-lane bridge. At first, it’s a normal gradual climb into town, and then it really kicks up. Got into the granny gear and ground up the hill. There are a couple nice 10% kicks, and then up and around a hairpin. Dips down abit, then up to Rt 7 again, and then a nice 7% average grade up Rt 7.
Then there’s the turn up towards Mt. Weather. Starts out steep, and keeps it up for a while. At some point along there I’m wondering what it is that makes me do this. Then you start trying to talk yourself out of stopping. “Just get up to that flat there and we’ll stop.” “See, that wasn’t bad, just up to the next one and we’ll rest.” etc. Lets just say, It was suffering and painful. I didn’t stop howeever. I kept mashing pedals. At some point early on, Steve went up ahead of me, then came back, and then we crested what he thought was the top of the climb. But we weren’t to Mt Weather yet, so we kept going. And then it pitched up again stiff. And back down… And back up. But I didn’t stop…All while riding a hybrid bike.
We did eventually stop at Mt. Weather. Took a couple quick pics, then got back on the road after seeing a black truck come up the road.
We followed the undulating road across the mountain, and then down a couple descents. The first was easy and clear and sitelines were easy, but the second and last one had a lot of loose pebbles and had a couple more turns.
Quickly we made it to the bottom of the hill and down to Rt. 50, where we stopped and re-fueled.
After chomping down some power bars we headed off for the return loop. Now, if the road up Mt. Weather was a nice well kept road full of big houses and SUVs, Mt Carmel and Frogtown road were the back roads you’d expect out here. Lots of rusted out shells of vehicles, posted no trespassing signs, the sounds of someone firing a pistol, you know, Country.
Though when Frogtown (as punchy and short hilly it was) flattened out by the Shenandoah River, it was beautiful.
We then climbed up to Rt 7 a third time… And probably made the worst decision we made all day. We decided to stay on 7 and climb all the way back to the foot of Mt Weather on Rt. 7, instead of crossing and getting on the side roads. My right knee was in a bit of discomfort, mainly from having ridden the Trek all day, and I was a bit tired from hauling a 40 pound bike around. But we did it; climbed up Rt. 7. It was almost as bad as Mt Weather. Considering from the foot of Mt Weather at Rt 7 (i.e. taking out the steep climb up Snickersville Tpk) the gradient and feet climbed were almost the same, just here we were doing it on the very narrow shoulder of a 4 lane divided highway with traffic streaming past us at 70mph. But we did it.
Back down thru Bluemont, and then up towards Round Hill.
We got back into Purcelleville, used the facilities. I did visit Trail’s End Cycling. Suggestion guys: stock up some post-ride merchandise. Chocolate Milk, Bananas, etc. Might go a long way.
Though I got Steve to stop for my post-ride treat: Double-R-Bar Burger and Fries!