Monday, May 24, 2010

Petersburg, West Virginia

The pastor at the church we are staying at in Petersburg, West Virginia told us as we arrived that when people go to Elkins, where we stayed last night, they don’t pay attention to the mileage between the two towns they just count the mountains between them. "5 mountains and a bunch of hills" quickly became the description of the mileage for today’s ride by the team. It was an epic day of riding that will go down with our day into Guadalupe National Park and the Natchez trail as rides that I’ll remember forever.  We pulled out of town this morning we quickly hit our first major climb that lasted about 25 minutes and summited at Cheat mountain around 2600 feet,  after being a little cool when we first started it quickly became a stripping of layers at the peak from the work that took to get there.  The next 30 miles were all pretty, put your head down and climb at 6 mph to a summit, have your breath taken away by a beautiful view and then plunge down the other side at 45 mph white knuckled around sharp bends only to do it all over again, it was amazing!  One of the more deaf defying descents came just after the Eastern Continental Divide, it was around a 10% grade for 3 miles and featured multiple curves that had warning signs for cars to slow to 25 mph, we were taking them at 40 mph on 23 cm of rubber, I was seriously concerned about the physics of it all but was having too much fun to slow down.  Jeff and Adam ended up interspersed in a pack of motorcycles on the way down; it was awesome to watch a motorized vehicle pulling off of a bike at such high speeds. We climbed half of yesterday’s total for the day in the first 18 miles alone right around 2300 feet, but even though it hurt I did it all with a smile on my face because how often do you get the opportunity to accomplish something like that during your day? The entire ride was spent in Monongahela National Forest so the scenery was unbelievable on the way up and down, many of the climbs were bordered by mountain streams and the sound of water crashing over the rocks was very peaceful as we plugged away to reach the next peak.  We took a left hand turn at mile 35 when we hit Seneca Rock, a huge outcropping of stone from the side of one of the peaks and followed a white water river the final 25 miles that were relatively flat into Petersburg. I made sure to take a lot of pictures today because I knew I could never adequately describe the magnificence of our surroundings, I hope you enjoy them.  No chain!

Peak #1

Unbelievable views.

Peak #2

Crazy we got up there.

Riding in the clouds.



Continental Divide #2, Peak #3

Peak #4

Hit Seneca Rocks, turn left.

The final stretch into Petersburg was mostly flat, and completely beautiful.

Libby taking a tight bend at nearly 50 mph

I took a video the last hill of the day, I almost died doing it when I hit a pothole midway down but I still think it came out pretty well.

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