Troublesome Valley Road

Garmin data

The valley routes imply a reprieve from the sometimes relentless WV hill poundings.  These are generally north south in direction while any east or west bound excursions confront ridges lined up like waves, starting from Skyline drive before quieting in Ohio to rolling terrain and ultimately the central planes.

There is the valley foot hill which is a fork off the low line going to a ledge but not up and over. A parallel that drops back to the bottom further along.   And then there is pure valley.  The river meanders beside, giving way to smooth measured farmlands as the ridges beckon to the left and right but don’t impose their force.


For the rider this can be galvanizing; like being shepherded down a shoot or a runway.  Smooth state roads with little traffic connecting small one horse towns.

The main obstacles here, beside one’s own legs, are distance and wind.  To make it a true valley ride you must travel a long way before finally going up and over the land mass that until passage had been a piece of scenery.  One simple change of direction and the effort and view, as well as the mission, shifts sharply.

Wind usually travels up the valleys walled off by the ridges so if it is windy you are sure to have a sustained resistance, and hopefully an ally too.

Troublesome Valley road is a long way from the barn.  Not even on my radar.  I heard about it and saw that it was in reach of a big roll out.  It mapped out and seemed do able so the next step was to ride.

Talking about some of these routes with non riding local folks presents a paradox.   To me it seems easier by bike.  Ninety miles by bike, five and a half hours.  By car it could be close to three with all the turning.  Not really that much of a difference.  The bike is expansive and invigorating.  Senses fully activated while the car is confining and static.  Locked in position.  Obviously the car is easier but I do rides into the unknown out here that I have no interest in car exploring.

This junket worked out pretty good.  Solo and peaceful but without any draft benefit.   Full work mode.  Coming off the backside of the barn it is seven miles to the valley and then a firm thirty heading south before turning west on  route 33 and hitting the first plateau (and first store) at Troublesome Valley Road right at the 40 mile mark.  I didn’t sense any trouble on this stretch but it is only my first time through.  I was looking for clues.  Something ominous lurking maybe.  Open to the power of suggestion yet pedaling clear.

The road steps up sensibly into some ridge top up and downs and finally back to the valley on the other side.  Flats rollers, some more flats, and more rollers.  Towns click off.  Petersburg .  Moorefield.   Climatically the tall ridge with the towers and a little dip where the road goes looms large, front and center.  The back side of the barn climb.  It was there the whole time.

Even for a ‘valley’ ride this thing totals over 7000 feet of climbing.  A big long day in the saddle.  Another shade of the land.  A slice of the country and a day at work.


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