Friday, April 10, 2009

Thunder Ridge

Last Saturday I decided that it was time to take the road bike out for a long ride. I wanted something more challenging than just tooling around Lynchburg. So, I decided that I would ride from my house to the Blue Ridge Parkway and up to Thunder Ridge. I left Lynchburg via 501, which has a pretty steep climb to get to the Eagle Eyrie Conference Center. After crossing over that, there are some sweet downhill switchbacks. Soon, I was riding beside the James River, heading into Big Island. Luckily, the paper mill there was not too stinky that day. One mile after leaving Big Island is the junction with the Parkway. This begins the 10 mile continuous climb to the Thunder Ridge overlook. As I settled in for the long climb, I caught up to guy slowly, but steadily heading up the road. I got beside him and we talked for a minute. He was riding from Waynesboro to Roanoke, so he was in no hurry. I told him that my wife and stepson were meeting me at the top for lunch and that he was welcome to join us. I got back on pace and soon his was too far back to see. The views from the overlooks are amazing, unfortunately, the wind there was very strong. Trying the ride with one hand and video with other as I passed the overlooks doesn't help either. I was finally nearing the top, when I saw Jess's blue Kia coming up the road. The timing could not have been better. I rode into the parking area as they were getting out of the car. After taking some pictures at the overlook and eating my sub, I was ready for the descent. About half a mile down, I saw the other guy. He was on the side resting, he smiled and waved. 10 miles of downhill can be tiring, espescially when you are in your top gear trying to assist gravity. Soon I was at the bottom. I told Jess and Tyler goodbye. I still 20 miles to get home. The rest of the ride is pretty uneventful, except for the fun downhill switchbacks on 501 are now uphill leg burning switchbacks. After crossing that ridge again I was back in Lynchburg and soon home. It was a great ride. I will be doing it again soon. I may make it a loop that comes back through Bedford.