Sunday Morning


Car problems led me to drive to Purcellville to meet Andrew who was in Pittsburgh. I did not plan to bike home simply because it was very cold in the morning with ice on the roads.

As it warmed up I decided it would have been a good day but I wasn’t prepared, either nutritiously or mentally. Nor did I have the clothing I needed for four plus hours on the bike in the cold.

Instead, I decided I would ride to Leesburg, spin a little on the W&OD, and Andrew could pick me up once he got to the car.

I tried to avoid Rte 9 as much as I could and decided not to take Hillsboro Road over to Purcellville. Instead I would ride to Round Hill but still have the sketchy portion of Business Rte 7 to Purcelleville to contend with. There is no perfect way to Purcellville but this trading one mile of Rte 9 for one mile of Rte 7 seemed like a fair deal.

At Purcellville I found my old friend, the W&OD. At Hamilton I jumped off the trail and onto the road before coming back at Clarks Gap. When I reached Leesburg I went exploring.

I turned on Catoctin Circle to see where it would lead. It lead me to a back entrance to Movern Park. I knew the main entrance was off U.S. 15 so I went through the park. The roads weren’t in great shape, potted and dirt, but no traffic.

It was easy from here to ride to Whites Ferry. I passed the stately home that overlooks the Potomac and saw it was For Sale. I guess $3.0 million but it’s a bargain at $2.4 million. Buying it now.

Back in Leesburg I jumped on the trail until I heard from Andrew. I then returned to Leesburg and picked up U.S. 15 South and told him simply to look for me. My cell phone died so I figured we had one chance to get it right. We did.

It was a nice ride on a Sunday morning. A beautiful Fall morning.


Horrible Hundred


Parking will be an issue here, even when you arrive early. I did a test run/ride yesterday so I thought I was prepared. I arrived before 7:00 a.m. for the Horrible Hundred bike ride. Even as I drove in people were parking a mile or two away and biking in. I thought from scouting this yesterday that I could find even parking near the start. And I was right.

Logo on a T-shirt
Logo on a T-shirt

It was cold. It was just 48 degrees at start but I refused to wear my 3/4 bib tights. And why would I unless I would wear knee warmers all day? I did wear knee warmers of the removable kind. And arm warmers. And long finger gloves. And a vest.

Bike parking at Aid Station #1
Bike parking at Aid Station #1

I met my friend, John Dockins, at start and we were off and rolling. We rode at our own pace for a mile or two and then were passed by a group of guys from Team New Tampa Velo Club. We jumped in a rode for nearly 20 miles, well, ultimately to the first aid station. But group riding was sketchy. I got boxed in by them on one climb and there was severe yo-yo-ing in their paceline. One rider came dangerously close to touching wheels and crashing. I’m not saying the guys from NTVC were sketchy because they experienced it too. Once we reached the aid station we let them go.

Volunteers at the first aid station
Volunteers at the first aid station

Horrible Hundred? Hills in Florida? Yes. In this area there are hills. No mountains, at least by my definition, but most of the day was spent on rollers. Not much flat, just lots of ascending and descending.

John Dockins, looking sideways
John Dockins, looking sideways

The ride was well supported. Very well although I cannot account for the SAG support. Thankfully. The intersections were all manned by police and I never had to stop for traffic. There were aid stations at Miles 20, 40, 60, and 80. The course was well marked but to view it on a map it is probably the weirdest course of cross overs and pipe stems.


Riding with John, I was more interested in talking and enjoying the ride. I didn’t want to burn too many matches in the interest of shaving off some time time. It wasn’t my goal not to breathe heavy but almost. I didn’t attack any hills but chuckled when I heard riders worry about “Sugarloaf” or “The Wall.” My Garmin recorded over 7.000′ of climb, and while I don’t think there was that much, it was probably 6,000′ of climb over 100 miles.

Barry and John
Barry and John at Aid Station #3

Before Sugarloaf, I stopped at the bottom and removed all my cold weather gear. The temperature reached the mid-60s and it was comfortable especially since we were doing some moderate climbing.


As far as riding, this was the sketchiest I have been in a group ride. I noticed it within the first 20 miles when we decided not to ride in a pace line any farther. But it continued. On one right hand turn I was side by side with a rider. I was on the outside (left side) and he was on the inside. He went wide and just missed pushing me off the road.


It was strange. It was the most uncomfortable I was all year in a massive group ride or any ride. Many riders were just hard to read. Couldn’t quite figure it out.

Aid Station #4 (Aid Station #1 in the morning)
Aid Station #4 (Aid Station #1 in the morning)

Two other times while descending at more than 40 mph I went to pass slower riders who inexplicably moved into my passing lane forcing me to go over the yellow line. This while yelling “passing left!”

Barry and John and lunch
Barry and John and lunch

I had to constantly be vigilant of all riders around me. This was in contrast to our group yesterday where 40 people stayed together in a tight pack with no issues. Yesterday’s ride was sweet!

Aid Station #3 at Little Lake Harris
Aid Station #3 on Little Lake Harris

At the finish was a full meal: BBQ, Chicken, or Vegetarian. And for desert: ice cream.


For a $45 fee we had a fully supported ride, T-shirt, fully stocked aid stations, and a full meal. You really can’t beat that. And at the end of the day I had a good ride with a good friend.  It was windy and hilly but it wasn’t horrible.

The ice cream was extra but worth it
The ice cream was extra but worth it



That Sinking Feeling


Post-ride, I was taking a picture of Lake Minneola and saw a crew boat (scull) go by. The water was choppy. It was windy. They took on water and capsized. I scaled a fence and ran out to the dock. I stopped. I was prepared to go in the water but wasn’t sure what to do to help. One person, Mitchell, panicked, and with good reason – he didn’t know how to swim. But the others were as calm as could be.


I wanted to jump in and swim out to them, especially when Mitchell called out for help. I had that sinking feeling not knowing what to do. I quickly decided that swimming out to them was not a smart option as it would mean only that 10 people were holding onto the capsized boat.

But after a call to water rescue and I think the regatta was watching with binoculars from about a mile away, there were soon three boats and they were able to attend to the kids. One had swum ashore and was very tired. And why not? They were in a regatta and were spent from rowing and now had to swim. He said they weren’t very good.

The water was over their heads even in the grass. Mitchell is wearing a life jacket thrown to him from one of the boats.

Ultimately, once the rescue boats arrived they got the boat turned over so it could be towed back and each kid was then lifted into a boat and taken back to the start. They took Mitchell first, as they should, but took the one girl (coxswain) last.

Oh, the ride? It was good, I suppose.


This was a familiarization ride for the Horrible Hundred. I parked in Clermont and asked a local rider where the “Waterfront Park and traffic circle” was. He directed me two miles away. I hurried to get there by start time and no one was there. He was wrong. There was a traffic circle but it was in the opposite direction.


I asked someone else and he directed me to go back from where I cam from and go another half mile past it. I arrived back at the real start at 8:31 a.m.  They were supposed to leave at 8:30 but were wheels down at 8:33 a.m. Just made it.

But how cool is this? They offered three familiarization rides. The first was was 50 miles at 18 mph. Then there was a 35 mile ride at 16-17 mph at 8:45 a.m. And there was a 42 miles ride at 18 mph at 9:00 a.m.. So I didn’t panic knowing if I missed the 8:30 ride I could jump in with the other rides.


I “sat in” most of the day. They had three trip leaders, Adam, Vance, and Chaz were listed, who set the pace and the rest of us just went along for the ride. Not sure who the actual leaders were. I think one was a woman.


I had my Garmin set for my normal pace and at Mile 45 I checked and I was five miles ahead of where I normally ride. It was a good pace.

On the bike trail in Clermont
On the bike trail in Clermont

The ride had a stop at a Yalaha Bakery – it was very good but the stop was too long for these legs (lactic acid). But what a nice thing to do for the event. A familiarization ride. Bravo!!! The main event, Horrible Hundred,  is tomorrow.


St. Simons Island



It was a delightful day for a ride in late November. Just 48 degrees at the start with a bright sun shining down. Arm warmers were the only concession to the “cold” needed today as it would creep up to about 70 by noon.


Although I mapped out a ride to follow on my Garmin, as I drove across the causeway to St. Simons Island I knew I wanted to ride the causeway. So I never even tried to follow the cues.


There is a bike lane, and occasionally, a bike path, along the four mile causeway back to Brunswick. It was a little strange because the arrows only pointed in one direction but I had to ride “the wrong way” to Brunswick before turning around and going back to the island.


For a photo op I left the actual bike trail and followed my own next to the bridge. At the end I had to step over the guard rail and something sharp pricked my skin. I ignored it and started to pedal away then looked down. I was covered with those damn cockleburs.


They hurt. And you can’t pinch them with your fingers to lift them off because they prick your fingers too. I got out a credit card and flicked them off, usually after three or four tries.


Was it worth it? I guess I got the photo I was looking for.


Back on the island the streets, or main road, had no shoulder. There was a sidewalk / bike path next to it though.


Usually not long and straight, or concrete, this asphalt jungle weaved in and out. I wasn’t comfortable riding it so I jumped on the road. I was on Frederica Road and even though I was riding 20 mph in a 35 mph zone,  I soon had a line of cars behind me. I pulled over when I could to let them by.


One of those cars was a police car. I pulled off the road completely but later caught up to the policeman. I asked him if that was a bike trail and he told me it wasn’t and that we wanted me to ride on the road. And the cars would give me three feet. Little did he know.


I found my time on Frederica Road to be some of the most nervous riding I have done. At least five cars passed with an 18-24″ clearance. Riding on the island was mostly fun but don’t know if I would recommend it for nervous riders.


Having blown up my original ride I just followed roads. I found Fort Frederica which was built by James Oglethorpe.


My biggest surprise was finding The Wesley Oak. This was a tree that Charles Wesley first preached in March, 1736. My dad would have loved this discovery.


Another surprise was discovering a PGA event was being held on the island. The RSM Classic hosted by Davis Love III. Of the 16 golfers in the top ten (a bunch were tied at T7, I only recognized the name of Charles Howell III. The leader was Mackenzie Hughes.


The Oak tree and the tournament were interesting discoveries. But my one goal for the day was finding a lighthouse.


I found the quaint downtown of King City on St. Simons Island. I found two crabbers with their cooler full of crabs.


They told me they would sell them for $1.50 each.


But my goal was to find the lighthouse. Which really wasn’t hard.


Simply follow the road closest to the ocean.


It was simply a gorgeous day for riding. I don’t know that I would come back but I will say I maximized my sightseeing today.




Stretching the Legs



This was easy. I had been driving almost eight hours when I crossed Lake Marion on I-95. I saw an abandoned roadway and bridge right beside I-95. It begged to be ridden.


I found a parking lot at a Food Lion. Within a few minutes I was headed off to find the bridge. It was barricaded to keep cars off it but it was open to bikes and pedestrians.


The main span itself is one mile long. It spans another half mile then another .15 mile span.


The half-mile section reminds me a lot of the abandoned turnpike in Pennsylvania. The pavement is old but with no traffic, it isn’t too want – just “heavy.”


One at the end I simply turned around. It was simply an exercise in stretching my legs.


I rode in shorts and a T-shirt. Didn’t even bother with cycling shorts and a jersey. When I returned I was sitting on seven miles. I have this “thing” that to record a ride it has to be at least 10 miles. So I rode three more miles just to claim the ride.




Five Bridges


A relatively short ride, just 21 miles, but so darn pretty. I was on my way home from Somerset to Virginia and wanted to get in a ride. Any ride.

Cuppetts Covered Bridge
Cuppetts Covered Bridge

My go-to covered bridge ride in Bedford County is an eight bridge loop but I didn’t have time for that. So I stopped in New Paris.

Cuppetts Covered Bridge
Cuppetts Covered Bridge

It was well past peak foliage season but still pretty. Upon leaving New Paris I was quickly on the closed Cuppetts Covered Bridge. It is weathered but none the less for the wear. Not sure who but it was also decorated for the Fall season.

Ryot Covered Bridge
Ryot Covered Bridge

Crossing the guardrail to get back on Rt 96 I followed it north. Just before starting out I saw a wide tractor coming. Rather than pull out in front and have him breath down my neck, I waited until he passed to take off.

Knisely Covered Bridge
Knisely Covered Bridge

Although he was a few hundred yards down the road I found myself catching him. We both turned to the Ryot Covered Bridge although he turned into a farm.

Snooks Covered Bridge
Snooks Covered Bridge

After the Ryot Bridge I turned onto the Dunning Creek Road and came to the Knisely Covered Bridge. One can walk through it but there is no road on the other end. One can ride but watch the floorboards.

Bowser Covered Bridge
Bowser Covered Bridge

Farther down the road is Snooks Covered Bridge. Once past that is the Bowser Covered Bridge. I left Bowser and followed a flat run in to the little village of Osterburg doing a small loop then retracing my ride.

The view on Covered Bridge Road
The view on Covered Bridge Road

I had a tail wind going out and the dreaded head wind coming back. The temperature was in the low 60s and I wasn’t ready for much lower temperatures. But it was a gentle reminder that we were into Fall and Old Man Winter couldn’t be far behind.

Cuppetts Covered Bridge
Cuppetts Covered Bridge

But for today it was a peaceful day visiting Five Bridges.