Thursday, August 15, 2013


Man!  I love that I can exit my new home in Harrisonburg, VA and be starting a 50-minute long climb in the Shenandoah Mountains and the George Washington National Forest in an hour.  And if it's not a crazy big day I can just turn around and come home in time for lunch.

When you are gasping for air up Reddish Knob you will find yourself at a deficit again with the breathtaking views at the bottom with the finish visible on a clear day from the lake seen below.  You will not see a house and sometimes even a car since it's a scenic byway and "Ain't nobody got time for that".

The top of Reddish Knob is the real prize as you reach a road that can fit only one car that winds its way up to a plateau where the road ends and the trees are no higher than your line of site, offering a panoramic view of West Virginia and Virginia and all the mountain ranges and valleys sprawled across as far as the eye can see.  There's even a Naval Information Operations Command visible in the Potomac Highlands that is home of parabolic antennas acting as "the Navy's ear" gathering communications from Navy planes, ships and stations around the world.

I am told that Reddish Knob is the highest point in Virginia.  Anyone participating in the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo will get a chance to see this and many views.  I snap a few pictures here and there but I hate exposing my complete lack of photographic genius that I blame primarily on my lack of photographic device.  Alas - a couple shots from this weeks riding:

At the top of Rt 33.

Potomac Highlands from Reddish Knob.

Riding with Nick Waite and Jeremiah Bishop aka Fred Astaire from this photo.
We go big!

Going to climb those rocks one day!

Last chance to turn around.  It's straight up from here.

There's a story or twenty on every ride, but one worth noting happened on a 5-hour ride I completed yesterday.  I was 2 and a half hours into the ride about to turn left onto the Reddish Knob climb on the Moyers Gap Rd. side.  I was keeping the route simple, go West, go South, go East, go North and I figured I wouldn't get too lost.  On these big rides figuring out watering holes is more crucial than the route planned.  I saw a convenience store at the corner and figured everything was just fine, but I'd later find out it was closed a long time ago due to lack of customers.  A man pulled up in an old Ford truck seconds later and told me the misfortune of bigger stores and gas prices in the cities nearby pushing him out.  I asked him where the next closest place to find refreshments was and he chuckled indicating that I had a bit of a ride ahead of me.  Now, I wasn't in a "spot of bother" and would have been able to get anywhere I needed before bonking or becoming overly dehydrated, but he offered to let me fill up my bottles at his house next door.  I talked to him about how I just moved here and was loving the riding and he told me some good places to ride and just carried on about the peacefulness living in West Virginia.  He kept insisting that I take some gatorade until I couldn't refuse and he sent me on my way insisting just as hard to remember, "Jesus loves you".  

I took off on the climb to continue my ride with 80 ounces of fluids, weighing me down, and started to think to myself that I'm pretty sure if I lived out there long enough I'd find Jesus one way or another. The bike gods were quick to interject and I sliced a tire on a shale rock that had been kicked up on the road in one of the many switchbacks.  I'm not a believer in anything too clear, at least not clear enough to explain in a way that makes since to many, but I definitely feel like someone is looking after me.

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