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A Shenandoah Valley 4th(33 posts)

A Shenandoah Valley 4thMB1
Jul 8, 2002 6:03 AM
I don't know how I get into these things. We just got back from the Tour De Montes and three days later we were off to another long weekend ride. This time we were headed to the Shenandoah Valley with the chance to get in some really big miles.

The folks who arranged the weekend had routes from 100-200 miles every day for a 4 day weekend. And you thought we were nuts! I was pretty sure we would try to keep it below 200K each day and maybe skip Sunday. After all we have a 500 mile tour laid on next week. (O.K. so maybe we are a little nuts).

Wednesday the 3rd it was smoking hot in DC. There was a code "Purple" air quality alert (I didn't know there was anything worse than a code "Red" alert. Trust me, "Purple" is lots worse.) As we headed out of town in the midst of rush hour the forecast was looking bad in town. It was supposed to be better where were headed. We'll see..

We were up and on the road early on the 4th hoping to beat the heat. First stop-the local Gas-N-Go for some java. A sight likely familiar to all cyclists.
Sunrise on the bike.MB1
Jul 8, 2002 6:04 AM
We have been seeing a lot of this lately. I think it was near 80 degrees at 6am with matching humidity. Good thing we only had 110 miles to go. Edinburg to Lexington in the Shenandoah Valley.
On a clear day you can see forever.MB1
Jul 8, 2002 6:06 AM
It wasn't clear. It was steamy. Still it was better than DC.

The Shenandoah Valley is a very popular East Coast cycling destination. For one thing it is a very open valley so you can usually see a long way in most directions. The valley it broad and pretty flat but the hills surrounding the valley are big-real big. A little something for everyone in the Shenandoah Valley.

Looking over our route slips I see a lot of "hill" and "summit" and "mountain" and "gap" roads. For those from the western states, "Gap" is East Coast for "Pass". Doesn't look like we are staying on the valley floor.
I celebrate the 4th!MB1
Jul 8, 2002 6:09 AM
We finished about 2pm on the 4th. Right across from our hotel in Lexington was a Dairy Queen. What could be better on the 4th of July after a hot, hilly ride than some DQ?

I know, I'll have a foot long too.
Peanut Buster Parfait...biknben
Jul 8, 2002 7:56 AM
My first job was at DQ. Peanut Buster Parfait = nuts, syrup, ice cream...nuts, syrup, ice cream...nuts, syrup.

I prefer the Fruit Parfait myself.'re making me hungry!!! [nm]jagiger
Jul 8, 2002 9:51 AM
What the????MB1
Jul 8, 2002 6:11 AM
There is an Interstate that runs the length of the valley. That is another reason the valley is popular with cyclists. All the old main roads are still in place but all the traffic is on the freeway. So cyclists have nice low traffic roads to ride on and a nice highway to get there on.

Of course the freeway killed most of the businesses that depended on tourists are gone now. Just a few odd remnants like this one
Oh my word! I've been there.Kristin
Jul 8, 2002 10:21 AM
I remember that from when I was young...very young. Wow, that's funny. Looks like you guys had a not so cool ride. Does all that heat take detract from the beauty of the countryside? A while back you asked me to email you about a project you were working on...did you ever get my email?
Tell us more....MB1
Jul 8, 2002 10:37 AM
It looked like it just went out of business this year. They must have had a lot of fun putting the place together.

What can you tell us about your trip and the place?
Jul 8, 2002 11:55 AM
Its all very hazy, but when I saw the picture of the butternausaurus, it seemed very familiar. I was born in Virginia Beach where my father was stationed. We used to visit an Enchanged Castle. but I was very little--we moved to Hawaii when I was just three. (For the record, I could have enjoyed Hawaii better when I was 16. But that's probably why dad chose to bring us there when I was only 3. Something magical occurs between young navy recruits and teenage girls. Okay, perhaps magic isn't what its called, but still...) Anyway, we also may have visited the Enchanted Castle after we returned stateside, when I was six or seven. I'm sorry I don't have better information, except I know it was a long drive and I believe they had childrens ammusement rides. There was a lady bug ride and my sister cried the whole time. I'll ask my mother about it the next time we speak. What town was it in?
Just off I81 near Natural Bridge VA.MB1
Jul 8, 2002 3:29 PM
Not much more than 10 miles from Lexington-home of VMI.
Better choices.MB1
Jul 8, 2002 6:13 AM
Thursdays ride was long, hilly and hot. The forecast for Friday was worse-unless you like heat and humidity. This was the planned Double Century day. Miss M and I never even thought twice about cutting the route short. 4 people did complete the course though.

I thought the smartest ones were a couple who when they got to mile 25 bagged it and went tubing on the river. Hey, there is more to this world than cycling
All the signs said “Just do 100”.MB1
Jul 8, 2002 6:15 AM
I mean really enough is enough. When Miss M and I saw this sign at noon and mile 65 there was no question we were going to take the shortest way back. We were also in perfect agreement "Let's fill our jersey pockets with ice!" The ice only lasted about 10 miles but it was good.

It was stinking hot. The heat coming off the asphalt was baking our feet. We were popping little tar bubbles climbing out of the valley. What a day to do a double. We kept wondering how our friends were doing. Well at least it kept our minds off the heat.
Stonewall JacksonMB1
Jul 8, 2002 6:18 AM
When we got back to Lexington it was still hot so we chilled in the hotel room for a while.

About dinnertime we rode down to town for some food and to see the sights. On the way out of town in the morning we passed the Stonewall Jackson memorial and cemetery. On other rides in Spotsylvania County we had passed the grave of Jackson's arm. Now we see where they buried rest of him.

You can't see it in this picture but the statue is facing south. In other words its back is to the north. Miss M tells me and it seems to be true that some huge percentage of Civil War statues in the south have their hind ends facing the north. Just a little revenge there I guess.

I did wonder though why there was only an iron fence instead of a stone wall around the monument.
Fill ‘em up!MB1
Jul 8, 2002 6:20 AM
We had a nice dinner in Lexington Friday night. We were dining outside in the shade. It hadn't really cooled down all that much but it was very pleasant on the outside patio. After about the third time our waitress refilled our water glasses she decided to just leave the whole water jug with us.

Miss M had three glasses in front of her (water, iced tea and diet coke) I just stuck with good old water.
A biker hangout.MB1
Jul 8, 2002 6:23 AM
Saturday morning we were up early again. It felt cold, must have been in the 60's-a nice change. As we pulled in to the local Waffle House we met some of our friends. I gotta tell you the ones that did the Double Century weren't looking all that bright and chipper. But they were all getting ready for another hard century in the best way-a nice large breakfast.

We enjoyed catching up with them for a while and talking about the riding since we hadn't seen them all weekend but it was time for us to go home. Miss M and I had more than enough of a good thing for now. They were all planning to do another ride from Lexington before heading home on Sunday.
There is no bad weather, just bad clothes.MB1
Jul 8, 2002 6:25 AM
Finally the weather had cooled down some-the high was only predicted to be about 85 with a breeze from the north. The first wind we had all weekend was going to be in our face all day. We were about 115 miles from our car and ready to go.

Miss M and I wore long sleeve sunblock jerseys all weekend. They were great, the coolest jersey I had ever worn. A big bonus was not having to cover ourselves with sunscreen.

We had cool-max scarves under our helmets. When it was really hot we soaked them from the third bottle we each carried and it really cooled us down. Gatorade in the other 2 bottles. We drank a lot-good thing too in that heat.

The humidity had dropped with the temperature so the views across the valley were much nicer. The last day was by far the nicest and we survived another one. Next up 5 days in New York and Canada-the family's annual bike ride.
How do you carry your camera?Psalm 147-10_11
Jul 8, 2002 11:02 AM
I just got back from riding around the Gettysburg area (Shippensberg, PA) and took a bunch of photos while riding.

Here's my question though, do you have a special type of strap for carrying your camera, or do you just pull it out of your back pocket?
I've got a Lowe Pro camera bag on my belt. nmMB1
Jul 8, 2002 3:30 PM
very nice; I'm envious :-) nmDougSloan
Jul 8, 2002 6:37 AM
Glad you survived.Len J
Jul 8, 2002 6:40 AM
I was thinking of you two this weekend, especially on Thursday & Friday ion the heat. I should have known that, if anyone knew how to handle it, it would be you guys. Glad you made it safe &, as usual, great pictures.

Another great report and...JL
Jul 8, 2002 6:50 AM
I have a few questions too:

1.What are the jerseys(brand) you're wearing? Are they just
thin coolmax so you don't overheat?
2.Are the ankle reflectors on Miss M. the ones I saw in the Performance catalog with the "built-in" blinkies?

Thanks and another great report.

I must ride like a girl.MB1
Jul 8, 2002 8:03 AM
Which always seemed like a strange motto to me (aren't adult females women?) but anyway...

The jerseys are from Terry, they are cut for women (girls?) but the large fits me pretty well just a little short on arm length.

We always wear leg bands-I found these at a LBS. I don't know the brand but they are wide, light and bright.

On Miss M's butt pack I have attached a illuminated and reflective dog collar from amiglow. Good stuff, it stays on year 'round.

We sure like drivers to see us. I don't think vests and things on your upper body are very visible to drivers. I have noticed that in the pictures I post you can really see the leg bands and the strip on the butt pack.

Be safe out there.
Thanks for the info (nm).JL
Jul 8, 2002 9:15 AM
For better safetyleondavid4
Dec 28, 2003 4:44 AM
you are right, the things are really good to improve road safety, belts and dog collar
thanks again, MB1!gregg
Jul 8, 2002 6:54 AM
As always, a great report.

Hey, I'd like to send you and the Mrs. some RoadbikeREVIEW T-shirts and a cap or two for all the great ride write-ups!

Please email me with your mailing info and t-shirt sizes at:

What, no free waterbottle??? ;-) nmMB1
Jul 8, 2002 7:04 AM
Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear youAllisonHayes
Jul 8, 2002 6:57 AM

Oh, Shenandoah, I long to ride 'side you
Way hey, you rolling river.
Shenandoah, I long to ride 'side you
Away, we're bound away 'cross the wide Missouri.

Oh, Shenandoah, I love your daughter
Wey hey, you rolling river.
Oh Shenandoah, I love your daughter
Away, we're bound away 'cross the wide Missouri.

Missouri she's a mighty river
Wey hey, you rolling river.
When she rolls down, her topsails shiver
Away, we're bound away 'cross the wide Missouri.

Seven years, I courted Miss M
Wey hey, you rolling river.
Seven more, I longed to have her
Away, we're bound away 'cross the wide Missouri.

Farewell, my dear, I'm bound to leave you
Wey hey, you rolling river.
Oh, Shenandoah, I'll not deceive you
Away, we're bound away 'cross the wide Missouri.

i I don't know how you managed in the steamy, suffocating heat. Thanks for the pics. Hey, are you using your new camera yet?
Thanks for the idea!mlbd
Jul 8, 2002 8:53 AM
My wife and I will be taking 2 long weekend trips in August. We already decided that one will be to Pennsylvania for some mountain biking and canoeing. I think the other will be to the Shennandoah Valley for some nice road biking. I have a guide to the area that describes a bunch of rides and have never made use of it. Now I will.

Great pictures. Sorry to hear it was so sweltering hot.
Enjoyed the pics & travel log...tks again [nm]jagiger
Jul 8, 2002 10:02 AM
Beautiful, thanks! nmAlex-in-Evanston
Jul 8, 2002 10:47 AM
Beautiful, amazingnova
Jul 9, 2002 4:57 AM
thanks so much! I'm jealous....
Great stuff again Mark, thanks (nm)Scot_Gore
Jul 9, 2002 6:38 AM