Friday, October 21, 2011


I received an email a couple of months back from the folks at Shenendoah Mountain Touring inviting me to ride from Wardensville Virginia to Damascus, Virginia along what is being called the Virginia Mountain Bike Trail. 418 miles and over 65,000’ of climbing (or descending if you are a glass half full kinda person) in just over 2 weeks. I had squandered too much time over the summer to justify a 2 week vacation, so I figured I would ride the last 4 days of trail that would all be new to me. Chris and Matt started their journey at the County Line Trail off of rt 55, rode through Big Schloss, Trout Pond and down Secret South en route to the Stokesville Campground just in time to celebrate the Shenendoah Mountain Bike Festival with some riding and trail work. See previous post for those details.

From there it was the Southern Traverse, Douthat, Dragon’s Back and then into Blacksburg and the Jefferson NF where I hooked up with the gang on a rest day which consisted of just over 4 hours of riding on the local trails sans one Chris Scott who headed for the hosptial to confirm his fears of a shoulder separation he earned the day before. Before skipping town, I scoped out the weather which called for seasonable temps with a 90% chance of adventure. We rolled out early as there were some 65 miles to cover IF we could successfully ford the New River cutting out a road ride go ‘round that would tack on an additional 20ish miles. After scoping out several possible crossings, we encountered a local who asked us what we were up to. After some smoothing over, he gave up some inside info on the ledges in water and wished us well after saying we would never make it with bikes. The water felt surprisingly nice in the morning sun and we made our way across. The rest of the day was a mix of pavement, rail trail, double and single track before reaching the Sunrise Cabin just in time to take in a magnificent sunset from the deck.

The night was nice enough that Matt and I turned down soft beds to overnight on the deck. We jumped on the Virginia Highlands trail at the end of our driveway and continued on, riding blown out fall line trail for the first half of the day which opened up later on to some great contour riding in peak colors. Lots of Rhodo tunnels and some areas that the corridor was completely grown over, smacking faces and shredding arms before opening up again to fast and flowy track and half riding. We dumped out at the road where we spotted Tyler across the road with the tour mobile at our campground for the night.

During the night, I could feel the weather blowing in with a few showers and by the time we left in the morning a steady rain was falling. Heading for Iron Mountain, we had everything from morning fog to warm sunshine before the front blew in bringing with it heavy rain and temps dropping below 50. I ran out of film and seem to have lost at least one roll somewhere along the way. Boyes managed to triple flat on the final downhill into Damascus where everyone scurried to change out of wet clothes and get things packed so we could get pizza and celebrate the end another adventure. There was more to the day including some amazing, flowing, peadally goodness and “light rock” riding, but the memories seemed washed away by the wetness later in the day. In case you are wondering, Chris rode the final 4 days with his shoulder separation. MOre thought and images will follow. Here are some of mine...

Cue the music...

1 comment:

  1. photos are awesome, Nate. thank you.
    love, jennifer, on kurt's google account on fawley's computer