Thursday, July 20, 2017

#439 Bike Virginia 2017 (30th Anniversary!)

This year I participated in my fourth Bike Virginia bicycle adventure.  My first two were 2009 and 2010, then I took a hiatus and returned in 2014.  It’s a centrally located ride, which is helpful for my Florida friends, so I obliged them this year. 

I have a “love-hate” relationship with Bike Virginia.  I chose to do it in 2009 to visit friends in Charlottesville, which was the starting city.  I had visited Charlottesville before and it’s lovely.  That love quickly turned to hate when it took me around three hours to complete the registration process.

I loved the riding itself, the scenery and the history of the area.  I hated that there were 2,000 people and I never saw someone after meeting them once.  I hated the stifling heat.  I finally met two really fun guys and loved hanging with them.  Back and forth it went. 

So this summer I was back at it.  This time was more love.  Half the participants stayed at hotels so the camp sites weren’t as crowded.  The weather was perfect – mid 80s during the day and low 50s at night.  Most of our “gang” could go.  We had two camping sites and had our cars with us all the time.  And we had a visit from Steve’s friend Bruce, whom I met on my first ride. 

Buena Vista
I met Duane and Andy in Dayton and drove on to Buena Vista, which is pronounced “Byew-nuh Vista.”  (I don’t know why.)  We camped at Glen Maury Park for three nights.  Steve and Deanna brought a sun tent and a large camping rug.  We had a great set up! 

Saturday I rode 20 miles and then kayaked on the James River.  I enjoyed the five-mile route, but managed to miss the “get out of the water” area and went 15 minutes too far downstream.  Then I paddled an hour back upstream (not even all the way back) to a camp area where the kayak company could pick me up.  If I had to do it over, I would have continued downstream for four more miles to the next pick up area.  Paddling upstream is hard and not fun. 

Sunday I rode 20, saw the natural bridge and tubed down the James River.  Steve and Deanna joined me and it was a much more pleasant experience. 

Natural Bridge State Park
Monday morning, we packed our gear and drove to Staunton, which is pronounced “Stan-ton.”  (What is it with these town names?)  We stayed on the grounds of the former Western Lunatic Asylum of Virginia.  Creepy.  Steve, Deanna and I rode the 11-mile route.  We then had lunch with Bruce (he drove over from Richmond) and we had a fun afternoon exploring Staunton.  I hadn’t seen Bruce since 2009 so it was great to catch up and have a lot of laughs.  We all have super sophomoric humor and it’s awesome. 

Steve and I managed a quick workout at the Gypsy Hill Park
Deanna did her part as well  

Tuesday I rode 43 miles.  I had heard squeaking from my bike since Saturday (is it the crank?  Is it the pedal?) and after lubing with no change, I turned the bike over and inspected my pedals.  The right pedal was loose and Duane noticed that a piece of the end had cracked off, exposing a ball bearing.  We drove to Black Dog Bikes and I bought a new set of pedals.  I’m thankful I finally looked at it, as that could have ended badly.  We flew down quite a few hills and if the pedal had broken off on one of the downhills…yikes. 

The obligatory "Where's Steve" photo
One rest stop gave away puppies!  (kidding)

Wednesday I rode 23 and then we headed back to Dayton to drop off the boys.  I continued home, got to bed pretty late and went to work the next day. 

This trip puts the love tally at three and the hate at one.  I guess Virginia is for lovers, right?   

Weeee!  Let's do it again! 

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