We decided to cap our biking year last weekend with the Back Roads Century ride, doing the 29-mile route. The ride looked like it would have pretty scenery and the course was described as “moderately hilly,” so we didn’t think it would be too bad…especially since we did 50 just a couple weeks ago.
The ride starts in Berryville, VA, about 60 miles from our house, so we got an early start. The day started out on the bad note when we were just 15 minutes from home and the “check engine” light went on in Andrew’s car. We debated for a minute, then decided that it would be bad if we were off in Berryville and the engine conked out. So, we turned around and moved all of our stuff to my car.
We got to the start point in pretty good time, though, and took off after re-filling our water bottles. The scenery was very pretty…once I learned to ignore all the road kill. In fact, the ride could almost be called the “Road Kill Century.” Oh well, look up, not down, because this is far better to look at:
This is also horse country, so there were loads of horses at all of the farms along the way. For a while it seemed that they were all shy of the road, though, until we came upon this pair:
Note the home burial plot in front of the horses. I really wanted to take a closer look at the gravestones, but refrained – I wasn’t sure how the homeowners would take it if they were to see me stomping around.
Around mile 12 there was a beautiful rest stop at the Burwell-Morgan Mill. We actually kept a fairly good pace on the first 12 miles – there were hills on the way, but most of the uphills were immediately preceded by downhills that allowed a little momentum into the uphills. At the rest stop There were snacks and a Charlie Casabona’s Trio, a trio that included a hammered dulcimer. We stayed a little while to refuel and rest.
After the rest stop, though, things got ugly. There was a scary downhill, which I rode the breaks on (because I couldn’t see the bottom and it was very steep). Of course, this was later followed by an equally scary uphill. I made it about halfway up the hill and then walked the rest of the way.
Yeah, and there were more hills, and bigger hills than were on the first leg of the trip. And then more hills, and then more, and then more. I made it up a few of them, but not up all of them. The second, and last, really big one was killer. Several bikers were walking up it, so I wasn’t alone.
After Andrew and I stopped for some water and caught our breath, we went on again…and I had a flat. Yup. Flat, flat, flat. Turned out that there was a small piece of glass in my tire. When we pulled out my spare inner tube, it appeared to be the wrong size. So, with the last few electrons in my phone, I called the roadside assistance, and we waited.
It took a while, but the roadside car came, and the guy fixed up my tire very quickly. Then we were an our way again. There weren’t any more really big hills, but by this time my legs were pretty much spent. I made it up a few hills (very slowly), but I also walked up a couple…I just couldn’t do them all.
When we made it back to our starting point, there was a big picnic. We picked up our t-shirts and water bottles, and then grabbed a well-deserved lunch.
I wore my helmet camera for the ride (and only missed a small part of the trip due to not turning it on), and made a time-lapse of our ride: