Fall Riding

River Road Loop:  http://connect.garmin.com/activity/52324136

The roads remain but the scenery changes.  Routes change, surfaces change, conditions change and we change.

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Apple Orchard Loop

Garmin data:

Note:  Garmin mapped version goes to a vaguely marked but rideable dirt road and an unopened interstate.   Good terrain but maybe hard to find.  This is in the early section coming from Moorefield on Walnut Ridge Road heading west.   If you continue on Walnut to Patterson Creek Road the ride maps out similar and maybe more logically.

The Apple Orchard Loop comes off the back side of the barn and heads west crossing the next ridge beyond Moorefield and landing in a lightly traveled valley on Patterson Creek Road .

Heading north on the state road it’s a smooth riverside glide.  Scenic stuff: old schools, barns and mills.  There is usually a prevailing tail wind.  This section follows the ridge that will be traversed back to the Apple Orchards and Twin Mountain Road .  A bonus is that once up top and heading back or south the wind isn’t as big or noticeable.  What forms a current in the lower valley seems to skip across the ridge top, especially since, in what is a unique feature, the mountain road is actually in a valley.  It resembles a bowl on top of the mountain, thus ‘ Twin Mountain Road. ‘.  Not something I’ve seen before.

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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.

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Dolly Sods

Dolly Sods has been there a long time.   I’ve seen the pics.   The spooky barren ridge top. Trees bent to the winds current, and rocks making way where the brush can’t get.

After six years in Lost River I should have experienced it by now but hadn’t quite stretched far enough.  The volume of DC car back and forth means when in WV most travel is by bike.  Dolly Sods is just on the perimeter of a big ride.  I have studied the map and come close, brushing up against the edges in Smoke Hole and Cabins.

Until recently I thought only one road went over and going over would mean landing close to Davis 65 miles away.  Some kind of cruel out and back and not a loop.  There is a psychological advantage to a loop.  This is my preference but I was resigned to retracing steps if that is what it took to see what I wanted to see.

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More Crooked-Ness

Memory is an approximation colored and reshaped by distance.  It is a recall of details that are themselves just slivers of a wider version.  The whole thing is capped by emotions and projections.  Of the way stuff is and the way we want it to be.  Sometimes we are limited to the laid out boundaries and suggestions while other times we willfully forge our own expanded reality that crystallizes through our persistence.

That’s the kind of mind reel I had pushing the pedals up Crooked Run Road.   To bring it back to point it kicked in because I hadn’t done the east bound approach in a while and as the grade hit 15 plus and the gravel surface played its own samba, what I remembered and what was happening now, intersected in a jumpy way.  Some was accurate recall while other aspects were based more on an overall triumph rather than the multitude of specific pieces needed to achieve it.  All-in-all similar but different.  A process of attempting to sync up while also trying to read the changes.  You know, I remember this being hard but was it this hard or do I just need to buck up.

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Getting Crooked

Following a strange edition of  the Poolesville Road Race,  I set out to find some roads and chart some hills.

The event itself was great.  The area, the weather, the organization, the action and the competition.  Dudes throwing down and generally handling the dirt well.  NCVC had things on point – props to them.

Unfortunately there was some confusion and miscommunication (or no communication) in the 1/2/3 field between the officials and the riders.   The officials have the safety of the riders as a priority:  a tough job to manage and wrangle the group.

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Panhandle Pedalers

The Panhandle Pedalers, a touring bike club from Charlestown WV, took a turn on the mountain this weekend for some hills (and stops) Lost River style.

They are the first West Virginia group to come through (which had me on my toes).  There was also an added surprise bonus in that they brought a true Lost River native with them; Scott Bean, who was raised in the Mathias area and whose lineage traces back to the Bean Settlement just beyond Baker.

He grew up on these roads and has a wealth of history and stories.  Turns out his family are Beans and Funkhausers, which means he is on a long strand connecting back to the barn which was built by Grover Funkhauser in 1930 and was originally a cattle operation.

His family had the Lost River General Store in the early 1900’s.  At that time it was the only place for goods and supplies in the area, which was and still is primarily farming.   The town of Mathias was accented by a tannery operation near where the Summit Bank now is, and Route 259 connecting those places was of course an old dirt road.

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Hinkle Mountain

The search for new roads.  The quest for hidden truths.   The exploration of space.  Looking for the biggest wave or the most challenging rock.   Delving deep into the cave.  Wanting to always know what’s around the next corner and what’s up and over the impending ridge.  All of the above and more, depending on what form your thirst takes, but for the inquisitive cyclist traveling a new lane is a call and a lure.

Pedaling the roads of Hardy and Grant County for over six years has been an adventure but as my reach grows my options, while being satisfied, inevitably shrink.  At the same time, as I expand my radius I look harder for stretches that may have initially been discarded as impassable, or overlooked entirely, as unmarked paths most likely leading to long forgotten homesteads.

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Steel City

The women from the Steel City Endurance Racing Team made the trek down to RTR for a long weekend of cycling  majesty.

The pace was steady yet relaxed and as they articulated on their site ‘riding not racing.’ For me a nice and timely distinction.  I like both.  Equally.

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A wind down day in the hills.  This would be Sunday after the Morgantown Road Race.  A chance to stretch the legs, connect some roads and air out prior to  four days of barn carpentry (popping in windows/working with the pine) and grounds crew (lawn and mulch ) before camp rides Friday/Saturday, and the  Tysons  race Sunday.   This is what my program called for and I do what the eye in the sky says.

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