Once I left out of Big Meadows, there’s a really nice long gradual downhill, with some really nice straight pieces of highway. I remember thinking, “If someone wanted to pass me, this would be the best place for them to do so.” Heck, there were even some dashed road lines.
But once I got further down towards mile marker 61, the sky started to open up. On the uphill, the drops hit harder, but since I was climbing, it was manageable. But once I started the descent down towards Rt. 33, the rain became needles as I increased speed. You could tell it had been raining for a while prior to arriving there since the entire width of the road was wet.
Because of the wind and my ability to slow down by just sitting up, I didn’t have to brake very much on the curvy downhill. Of course, once I hit Rt 33 at the bottom of the hill, the rain subsided.
Because of the long downhill, this was the longest bit between stops. The climb out of the gap wasn’t too steep or long, just a bit tiring, as now I was getting past mile 70. At the Loft Mountain Overlook, I finally caught up with my wife again. I took a little more time here, as my daughter was done, and I still had 30 more miles to go.
For a 3 year old, I was asking her to put up with a lot, and instead of playing in the backyard, she was stuck in the backseat. We stopped briefly at the Loft Mountain Wayside to use the restroom, and then it was one final Rendez-vous at Moorman’s River Overlook.
The southern end of Skyline Drive isn’t as severe as the middle, nor is it as steep and picturesque as the Northern End, but that doesn’t mean you can slack off.
One day I hope to do the SkyMass loop with my friends, until then, that’s as close as I’ll see Massanutten.
After Moorman’s River Overlook, I figured I was home free. I knew it was mostly downhill, so it should have been really easy right?
Lets just say I’ve never known what it was to Bonk before, but I was about to learn what that felt like.
At about mile 98 I figured “Well, I’ve got 7 miles left, no need to eat something, it’s all downhill and should be really easy…” Except there was a climb… and it didn’t stop. I was just plugging along and I started feeling light headed, and while I was sweating, I felt clammy. So I quickly grabbed a gel out of my pocket and quickly downed that and some more Scratch. It took a bout 2 minutes to get some energy back, and luckily I had been able to handle it without any bad effects. From what I think I went though, the best analogy I could come up with in my mind was it could have been a low blood sugar situation, since I really didn’t want to eat anything more (I felt a bit bloated by this time) and I had misjudge just what efforts I had left.
I had planned to take the road down into Waynesboro and ride all the way to the hotel, but my wife had convinced me to get into the Xterra once we hit the end of Skyline Drive.
Partially it was due to the chill that was back into the weather, and the other piece was that the sun was getting low into the sky. After driving down the route that I would have ridden, it was a good idea after all; Rt 250 into Waynesboro was single lane going into town, and the road surface wasn’t the greatest, plus there were quite a few 18 Wheelers. Then getting through town was highly congested.
We made it to the hotel; it would have been easier to get on I-64. Lucky we booked the hotel earlier in the week; the entirety of Waynesboro was booked up. We did have to swap rooms because they checked us into a smoking room (I didn’t know those still existed), and there was no way I could deal with that and then try to ride tomorrow.
We had plans to eat at a local Italian restaurant, but because my wife had been dealing with an upset stomach all day, we ended up at Panera. I had the chicken and pasta dish, and the first Mountain Dew I’d had in a long time.
After dinner, it was rest and recover. I had my compression leggings and socks on, and made sure to get enough protein in my body. Time to go to sleep and get up early for the ride tomorrow!