A New BlueRidger

MARSHALL, VIRGINIA

Oh how Strava Live Segments change everything. I came to ride the BlueRidger Proper (counter-clockwise). The weather was mostly sunny at the start but with a strong wind which would be cross-head or just a headwind for much of the ride. The temperature was 70°.

A few weeks ago I had ridden on Rectortown Road and found a segment I liked: Frogtown Road to Atoka Road. My goal for today: PR on that segment.

Rokeby Road, Upperville, Va.

I am loving my Live Segments but not every segment I sat seems to show up on my Wahoo. Once it’s there it stays but I never no until the next time I approach a segment if it will be a Live Segment. I rode off into a very strong headwind. Part of me said to just pedal through it while another part said to go for it. I listened to the bad me.

It did not show up as a Live Segment. Nor do I think that it would have done any good. I changed my time display to see elapsed time and went passed Frogtown at 8:48. As I approached Atoka Road I could see I was around 11:24. I knew I needed 2:24 and not 2:36. I was way off. And it was the wind. Well, at Atoka a woman looked at me and pulled out right in front of me causing me to sit up. I didn’t have to brake but I could no longer keep the pedals moving. So I settled for 3rd best of my time which was really tied for the second-best of my times. But way off the mark.

General Store at Airmont

The rest of the ride was uneventful. On Rectortown Road the road “bottoms out” as it crosses Goose Creek. I wanted to hit 40 mph here and I did. And then I got a Live Segment – GO! This was for Rectortown Test Climb. And even though I was riding into a strong wind, I decided to see if I could PR it. I was happy when 3:53 (New PR!) popped up. Old PR had been 4:15. Then I could rest the rest of the way.

House on Snickersville Turnpike near Bluemont

Fighting the wind, I averaged 16.1 mph out to Airmont. Without doing a deep search, I found a ride from 11 years ago where I averaged 18 mph on this part. But that was in a group; I didn’t fight winds in my face; and I was 11 years younger.

Bluemont, Va.

Passing through Bluemont, it appeared to me that some new construction has taken place since the last time I rode through here. There was a building on the left and then I saw the E. E. Lake General Store. Apparently it is a welcome center but has the old General Store facade.

General Store, Bluemont, Va.

The climbs were pretty much as I remembered them. Moderately hard. There is a steep climb out of Bluemont on Snickersville Turnpike. It has a 180° switchback at the top and is flat over to Rte. 7. Rte 7 has a wide should as it climbs to the top of the pass. This is the easiest of the three sections here. And turning on Blue Ridge Mountain Road is a pretty steep climb with no end in sight. I still don’t know where it finally ends and dips down.

Ashbys Gap, US Rte 50, Paris, Va.

The ride off the mountain is nice. When I got to U.S. 50 I found it was too windy to descend without braking. That may have been the first time I rode here using brakes. But there were cross-wind gusts hitting me making it hard to control the bike.

Paris, Va.

Once on Leeds Manor Road I expected and received, a Live Segment for Naked Mountain. Once it starts the Wahoo displays the elapsed time, a contour map of the climb, your estimated time, and your PR time. My PR coming in was 9:06. Today I went through in 7:44.

Ashby Inn, Paris, Va.

There is pavement on this road but it is rough. I wanted to descend faster but didn’t trust the pavement. Rounding a corner on a downhill the road turned up and a GO! appeared. This was for Naked Mountain Winery. It’s a short climb but I had no legs. Pretty much left everything I had a few minutes ago on the Naked Mountain climb. Wahoo disagreed. My old PR was 2:21 and I lowered it today to 1:41. I would like to see what I could do when I didn’t fight the winds.

Naked Mountain Winery

The last 10 miles from Markham I had great pavement and crappy pavement. I thought I had a tailwind but my speed was only 16 mph – the same as the first 20 miles into the wind. Maybe my legs were fried at this point.

I wanted to beat four hours and came in at 3:47. Goal accomplished. It was a good solo ride fighting the winds. Wish I could do better but Strava thinks I had a good day.

Strava PRs


Distance: 55.2 miles
Time: 3:45
Average: 14.7 mph
Weight: 180

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