Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Virginia Style

Here's how we do it in Virginia. This is the ridge road at the top of "Reddish Knob" a delicious little stretch of the George Washington National Forest just outside Harrisonburg, VA. You're looking at the ridgeline at the top of the climb. It's a nice treat to ride from the false summit up to the parking lot because the road is full of tight switchbacks, steep drop-offs and excellent views. You can see Virginia (off your left shoulder) and West Virginia (off your right shoulder) from most sections of the last two miles.

This is the top of the climb, in the foreground is the last mile, which is a ridgeline ride to the summit parking lot. Riding the ridgeline is a nice treat: It's super narrow, overgrown with trees and feels very old world. Cool riding. At 4,397 feet, this is the highest paved road in Northern VA, and the third-highest paved road in the Commonwealth, behind Elk Garden, VA (4,400 feet) and Grayson Highlands State Park (4,880 feet) both in the far Southeastern reaches of VA.

The third ridgeline in the below picture (the one that intersects my right ear) is the road we climbed up. While it's only an average 4.5% gradient, the climb runs almost 14 miles and it gets to be a chore near the top. It's an excellent road, because it's so isolated and lightly traveled. Any way you slice it, you're climbing for over an hour, solid.

This is the view down to West Virginia.

More of the terrain of the climb up to the ridgeline. The climb is the only terrain and topography I've found on the East Coast that even remotely reminds me of Oregon.

Flick. Maybe I'll be able to con him into joining us in Eugene in '07. I'm surprised he's smiling, after listening to me jabber in his ear for two hours...knowing he's got at least two hours on the ride home...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

More pictures

Randall and me on the ride to the base of Shotgun Creek...

This is the pre-climb up to the "real" climb on Shotgun. I think we saw one car in this road.

Entrance to the gruesome hill.

This is the first day. I forgot that in Oregon a 30% chance of rain does not mean there's a 30% chance it will rain that day. It means, it WILL rain 30% of the day.

This is the descent off the second Wolf Creek climb - it is also the furthest point West on the Wolf Creek ride. You could follow this road all the way to the coast without seeing another car the entire way.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Best. Roads. On. Earth.

This is on the midway point coming down off the Shotgun Creek summit. The descent off Shotgun is actually two descents, with a long flat section in the middle. The upper portion of the descent is the hairiest. Randall absolutely bombed the upper section, and was waiting for John and me where this picture was taken. John stopped mid-descent to pick up a bottle Randall's frenzied pace had jettisoned...and I waited for John right where the upper section ended. When John came into view he was *way* off the back of his saddle, descending like he was on a mountain bike, with his ass dangling just above the back tire, and this wide-eyed look of sheer amazement in his eyes. He later told me that as we first started descending, he looked down this one particularly steep hairpin, and mumbled out loud, "You have GOT TO BE F-ing kidding me!"

At the end of the ride, John - who was the only one of us who had never ridden Shotgun before - proudly proclaimed that the entire Shotgun experience was, "Probably the stupidest thing I've ever done on a road bike!" Stupid in a good way. But still stupid.

Yep, Shotgun is an adventure.

This is the entire gang of Pingellian Sufferfest 2006 at the top of the second Wolf Creek climb. It was awfully cold for a May 29th. Left-to-right it's Randall, John Simon, Dave "Hairy" Campbell and me.

The top of Shotgun. Dressed for the descent.

You've heard of Big Head Todd and the Monsters. This is Pumpkin Head Pingel and the Ballerina. Shotgun Creek descent. Fixing our fifth flat of the day.