Day 2 – Harrisonburg Loop

IF Dan and Judy – strong and steady riders.


47 miles, 3050′ elevation gain

With the threat of thunder showers, I packed my Pearlizumi Barrier jacket and some rain pants into my backpack along with a few snacks and my ‘cheater’ glasses. I even put my shoe covers on to keep the rain from soaking my feet from the top. David helped me ‘blue’ goo my shoe’s cleat before our first ride to keep me from getting wet from rain water splashing up on the soles of my road shoes. With all this rain protection, I felt ready to take on the world!
Everyone departed right at 7am. Originally there was a long (70 mile) and a short (50 mile) option for today. But with the looming storms, the staff decided that we should all do the short option. No one seemed very upset by those orders. We all had our fill of climbing yesterday so a slightly shorter day was not a bad sentence.
The route started by getting us out of the Harrisonburg business district. There is a rather major hightway that runs in front of our hotel and most of the businesses are ‘in front’ of the hotel. We rode out the back and were in rural America within about a mile. On the way out we did have to cross a nasty set of railroad tracks. They ran almost paralell with the road which made them especially dangerous to cross.
Apparently locals felt the same way because there was a short strip of asphalt that took bikes a slightly different route over the tracks that allowed us to approach them at a 90 degree angle.As far as I know, everyone made it across safely. As we ticked off the miles, and the hills, we got somewhat spread out. I found myself riding with David, Judy & Dan again today. For a while, I was riding about a quarter of a mile behind them but decided to
put in extra effort to bridge the gap so I could work with them and have some company.
It was easy to get distracted by the scenery today (when I wasn’t grunting up some hill!). The soft hills, perhaps the Blue Ridge Mountains, in the distance and a patchwork of pastures and crops closer to the road. There were emus, cows, horses, burros, bunnies and, of course, a variety of cats ‘n dogs. So far, knock wood, all the dogs have been friendly and/or confined to their yards.
I have yet to capture a photo of the hills here — maybe Leo has one I can borrow and post — I’m too busy pedalling to worry about taking a photo. The hills out here are not nearly as long as the ones I’m used to in Colorado. However, they are quite a bit steeper. The steepest one today was about 16%. It was only a couple hundred yards long, but let me tell you — it got my attention! I was huffin’ and puffin’ up that one. But, for every up hill today,
there was a lovely downhill. They go by so fast though it is the uphills we tend to remember. And, who puffs going downhill anyway?
The SAG was at the 20 mile mark this morning, open from 8:30-10:00. Our little group of four rolled up at 8:29. Bard was just putting the finishing touches on the snack table as we parked our bikes. By the time we washed and sanitized our hands, she was ready for us. Randy and Beth came in with Leo while we were there. I was tempted to ride with Randy & Beth but the threat of rain got the better of me and I rode off with David, Judy and Dan. As we got close to the hotel at the end of our 50-mile loop,
we stopped at a light next to a local fellow in a small pickup truck. He had given me a thumbs up as he pulled along side. He and Judy exchanged pleasantries, and he asked where she was from…. without thinking, she replied, “Massachusetts”. His quick response had something to do with “That’s were all those damn yankee liberals are from….”. Thinking on this afterwards, I wish I had herad that exchange because I would have chimed in with “Isn’t it great that we all share a love of cycling!”  😉
David rode off the front a short time after we left the SAG and he arrived at the hotel ahead of us. We out ran the rain. I can’t say we were dry because if you looked at me you might’ve thought I DID get caught in a thunder storm since I was dripping sweat and me and my kit were soaking wet. Just no rain. The other riders started showing up shortly after we did and as far as I know everyone made it in without getting rained on.
It is now a couple hours later and I’m sitting in a laudramat watching our kits slosh back and forth in one of those large commercial washers. We stuffed 5 cyclists sogging kits (Leo, David, Beth, Randy and me) from 2 days of riding. Leo only brought 2 jerseys and washes them out each day. The rest of us have more kits to choose from but it is just nice to have clean clothes packed in our single, 35# bag.