Sperryville, Luray, and Skyline Drive


It was back to Sperryville for an almost repeat of Friday’s ride. It was cool, perhaps 68°. I headed off and only went 200 yards and thought I might need a jacket. I went back to the car. I wasn’t worried about climbing as I knew my body heat would be enough. It was the descent I worried about as I didn’t want to get too cool.

I headed off a second time. I had gone just 200 yards and realized I didn’t have my heart monitor. I am learning to play with my Garmin Edge 705 and the heart rate monitor is part of it. I want to see what my body was doing as I was climbing. Back to the car.

The third time was a charm. I headed out for the seven-mile climb to the top. The first two to three miles are at two percent grade before the road turns up.

On Friday I never went lower than my 4th sprocket so I figured I had to match that today as well. That has 19 teeth and I can go to my lowest gear which has 27 teeth. I am hoping that what the run-up to Skyline Drive lacks in grade (6-7% mostly) that going in a higher gear will offset.

I’m hoping.

Unlike Friday I didn’t have water running down the road at me and thunder and lightning near me. There were no weather distractions so one could think about the ride up the mountain.

Supposed to be a view of Old Rag Mountain from here

As I crested the top a motorcyclist passing in the other direction gave me a huge thumbs up. It is nice to be recognized.

I switched into the big ring for my ride down the mountain to Luray. Technically I didn’t go all the way to Luray. Although I was prepared to when the road passed the National Park Headquarters it flattened out to a four-lane divided highway with a speed limit of 55 mph. I didn’t need that. I came to climb, not ride another mile or two of flat roads, so I turned around and began my climb back to the summit.

This one was a four-mile climb. I didn’t have any difficulty but there were times I wanted to switch to a lower gear than 19 teeth. But I didn’t.

I reached the summit then paid $8.00 to ride on the Skyline Drive. I wanted to go south at least as far as the tunnel which came in a mile or a mile and a half. It was very foggy here and I had no lights on me. I was worried about being seen in the tunnel but I went. No cars came behind me while I was in the tunnel.

As with much of my riding, my new goal became to ride until the road turns downward. That would be about five miles by my estimate. I just kept climbing. When I finally reached the high point, I turned around for the crazy descent back to Earth.

I love roller coasters but the thrill of descending at high speeds, around corners and just straight away on a bike is better than ANY coaster I have ever been on. This is the WEEEEEEEE! moment that makes climbing pays off.

In short order, I was back to the Skyline Drive entrance and then back on U.S. 211 East to Sperryville. Although I had cars behind me, no one caught me until I had descended four miles and the road flattened out a bit.

It was a great ride. My Garmin unit measured my distance and 32.5 miles over 4,200 hundred vertical feet of climbing.

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