Happy Happy Pain Pain


This wonderful name comes from a group ride posted for the Potomac Pedalers Touring Club that I rode in 2009. And I haven’t been back.

Starting town of Myersville

As I try to get into climbing shape for the French Alps in June, I am looking for increasingly challenging climbs to incorporate into my training regimen. I posted this climb to the Prince William Cycling Club page as a group ride. No one responded.

Back roads

Through Strava we can compare climbing segments and I marked a few for comparison. Fifteen years ago I rode in a group which is almost always faster than I can ride solo. The exception is the chill Thursday night ride in Manassas that I often do and just hang at the back chatting or sweeping.

Welcome to Pa. I came down a side street and missed the Pa. border so backtracked 50 meters for this photo

I did not expect to be better than I was 15 years ago but you never know, If there were times that I put up “just riding along” then maybe by trying harder I could better those times. On the other hand, I told myself not to worry about Strava. Stop and smell the roses. Take pictures. Enjoy the ride.

Bikes may use full lane – Myersville

The route was mostly on back country roads – those with no lines. Traffic on those roads was extremely light. A major difference between 2009 and 2024 is that then I did not carry a cell phone with an awesome camera. I did carry a pocket camera but rarely took pictures when I rode. Today would be a day for photos.

Blue Ridge Summit, Pa. Only the second sign I’ve seen like this. The other is in Ebensburg, Pa.

I arrived at the computer lot by 9:30 a.m. for a 10:00 a.m. ride to which no one responded. Still, someone could arrive who hadn’t responded but the ride description also said that I could leave when I wanted to if no one responded. I left the commuter lot at 9:49 a.m.

Library in an old train station in Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.

It was chilly at first – just 60°. I wore arm warmers but would remove them within the first hour. The profile started with what was basically a 15-mile climb. In Myersville my Wahoo bike computer also displayed the first climb and labeled it 1/27. Oh boy. Tough ride ahead.

Valley view

I went through Blue Ridge Summit which I have been 5-6 times before on the Civil War Century rides. Leaving BRS I passed a golf course that looked like someone’s backyard (sorry). I would discover that it was Monterey Country Club, which they claim is one of the five oldest courses in the country.

Monterey Country Club

A nice descent to Waynesboro and then Pen Mar set me up for the climb to High Rock – my destination. The bottom section of the climb was very hard. It was one mile at 8% but was undulating so there were ramps of 12-15%.

Pick your old sign

After the first grueling mile it’s a straight shot and with a steady 5.7% grade for two miles to High Rock. For the first 4-5 minutes I was ahead of my 2009 self pace by 1-2 seconds but eventually fell behind and said screw it. Enjoy the scenery. In 2009 I was riding with one other person and we paced each other up the climb. Not today.

Graffiti is not urban art. This is not an urban area. It is vandalism and it is hideous what people have done to such a beautiful area. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

High Rock

I was hoping for a mostly downhill return to Myersville. But High Rock was only climb #14/27 according to my Strava map so it wasn’t all downhill with a tailwind after the climb. In fact, it was a headwind the rest of the way.

High Rock

I wasn’t feeling it today. With each climb, I tried a little but as soon as I saw I was off the pace of the 2009 “me” I backed off. Near Myersville, I had a long segment on rollers and did get a :30 advantage. Near the end I went real slow so that I would PR by only a few seconds (so I can beat it next time). When I reached the end of the segment the distance remaining displayed as -10 then -20. Oh no. I sprinted and got my PR.

High Rock

It is a beautiful ride. With 5400′ gain in 54 miles, it is a mountainous ride. I don’t know if I will be back but I should probably try this one once more before France.

DISTANCE: 53.59 miles

One Reply to “Happy Happy Pain Pain”

  1. Don’t mess with my art work again!
    I can look up your address.
    You will have issues beyond your comprehension.

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