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Storm and Sun in Southwest Virginia(23 posts)

Storm and Sun in Southwest VirginiaAllUpHill
May 31, 2003 5:13 PM
I started today's ride in Blacksburg, site of the Virginia Tech campus. It rained early this morning, with more rain forcasted for the afternoon. This spring has been a wet one, and I've learned if you aren't willing to ride in the rain, you won't ride much at all. For the first time, I took a camera along on a ride. Hope you enjoy seeing my small corner of the world.
re: Storm and Sun in Southwest VirginiaAllUpHill
May 31, 2003 5:15 PM
The skies are blue and Main street is empty as I roll north out of town. This shot looks back toward Blacksburg.
re: Storm and Sun in Southwest VirginiaAllUpHill
May 31, 2003 5:17 PM
Here we are on Mount Tabor road which rolls and snakes to the east, toward Roanoke and Salem.
re: Storm and Sun in Southwest VirginiaAllUpHill
May 31, 2003 5:21 PM
Mt Tabor road undulates unceasingly. This is my favorite view, where you can see its serpentine path into the distance.

The skies are looking very gray. A few miles after this shot, I stood in the shelter of some trees to wait out a brief, but strong rain and thunderstorm.
re: Storm and Sun in Southwest VirginiaAllUpHill
May 31, 2003 5:26 PM
Here is the cloudy tail of the storm rolling away over the hill tops.

I began to think the rest of the ride would be clear, but a few miles on, more black clouds rolled in from the north. The wind got pretty violent, and I rode through blinding rain before reaching a gas station for shelter.
re: Storm and Sun in Southwest VirginiaAllUpHill
May 31, 2003 5:36 PM
After a couple miles on highway 311, I'm now headed back toward home on one of 8 or more roads that parallel Mt Tabor rd. In this part of VA, the mountains run in long parallel ridges, and seemingly every hollow in between has a road. Route 311, runs from Salem to White Sulphur Spring, WV, and connects most of these parallel roads.

The bumpy formations shown here run for miles on the ridges of Catawba mountain; they're known as the "gumdrops."
re: Storm and Sun in Southwest VirginiaAllUpHill
May 31, 2003 5:38 PM
re: Storm and Sun in Southwest VirginiaAllUpHill
May 31, 2003 5:43 PM
The North Fork of the Roanoke River is unusually muddy and fast today. Behind it is a view of the plain that lies along the valley bottom. Catawba Mountain and McAfee Knob are in the distance.
re: Storm and Sun in Southwest VirginiaAllUpHill
May 31, 2003 5:45 PM
This is a great picture! nmnoveread
Jun 2, 2003 7:25 AM
re: Storm and Sun in Southwest VirginiaAllUpHill
May 31, 2003 5:46 PM
More of the North Fork.
re: Storm and Sun in Southwest VirginiaAllUpHill
May 31, 2003 5:52 PM
Pearis Mountain. Following this bend in the road, the route took a 3 mile climb from the valley back up to Blacksburg. But, naturally, not without another brief rain. This 44 mile route is probably the most popular among local riders.
re: Storm and Sun in Southwest VirginiaGeoCyclist
May 31, 2003 8:26 PM
Looks like an excellent ride! Nice to see somewhere without cars!

Ride On!
Very pretty, green & lush, nice ride thanks, nmrwbadley
May 31, 2003 9:22 PM
NiceRay Sachs
Jun 2, 2003 4:01 AM
I spent a summer in that area almost 30 years ago (Waitville, near Paint Bank - draw a triangle with Roanoke, Covington, and Blacksburg as the points and it's right in the middle of that) building a cabin with my brother. I have family in the Roanoke area and spend a bit of time down there, but have never done any riding other than the occasional 30-40 miler on the Blue Ridge (which is right out my brother's door). That looks like a great ride. I'm going to have to come down some spring and get a week of riding in.

Thanks for the pics,

I know Waiteville...AllUpHill
Jun 2, 2003 5:19 AM
It's in a lovely, isolated spot just over the W Va border, and I always figured I was one of about 5 people on earth that knew of it :-) I drew out a truly epic route a couple years ago that starts in Blacksburg, goes through Maggie, Waiteville, Sweet Springs, Paintbank, etc.. It is an exhausting but beautiful ride.
Not much there to knowRay Sachs
Jun 2, 2003 6:43 AM
It is a pretty isolated little spot - pretty valley from Paint Bank, through Waiteville to I forget what's at the other end. Not much of a town - even the General Store and PO closed down many years ago (although I thought I heard someone may have reopened it recently). Makes Paint Bank look like a thriving metropolis! Fairly flat riding through the valley, but I've ridden a few of the dirt roads on either side of it and they're far from flat. Wierd how that little valley is part of West Virginia - looking at the map it really should be part of VA.

And I think you're right about five people knowing about it - that leaves three more :)

re: Storm and Sun in Southwest Virginiasockey19
Jun 2, 2003 5:11 AM
Wow! That looks absolutely amazing. Would you be ever so gracious to share the directions for that ride? I live in DC, and have been looking for a ride like that for some time now, it looks perfect! My e-mail is, but I'm sure others would greatly appreciate it if you posted the directions on the site!
Great shots, thx. Send some rain to Houston pls. nmTower
May 31, 2003 6:32 PM
re: Storm and Sun in Southwest Virginiamosovich
Jun 1, 2003 12:34 PM
Looks like paradise! You are so lucky!
Class of 1992BipedZed
Jun 2, 2003 6:39 AM
Can't believe it's been over 10 years since I was in Blacksburg. Beautiful pictures that really bring me back. I was more of a mountain biker then and remember Price and Brush Mt. Regret that I didn't get to ride the roads in the area as they look beautiful.

I remember when I graduated in May of 1992 that I was looking forward to riding a ton...and it rained everyday for the entire month of May.
Beautiful, thanks! nmnoveread
Jun 2, 2003 7:24 AM
re: Storm and Sun in Southwest Virginiabburgbiker
Jun 2, 2003 6:15 PM
This ride is one of the best and therefore most popular here in Blacksburg. The directions are as follows:

From downtown Bburg head north on Main St. You will pass East Coasters Bike Shop on the left so this is the time to pick up any necessary supplies. This is the best local shop and if you have any questions about the great riding in the area (road or mtn.) the guys and gals at the shop are very helpful. Continue down N. Main St. past a Food Loin on your left. Make a right turn onto Mt. Tabor Rd. just after you pass a convenience mart on your right. Continue down Mt. Tabor for the next 20 miles or so. There are no stores or gas stations along this road so make sure to have all you need before you leave. Also, Mt. Tabor becomes Newport Rd. once you reach Roanoke Cty. so don't be alarmed. When you reach Route 311 make a right. After a few miles make a right onto Blacksburg Rd. This road will become Catawba Rd. once you reach Mountgomery Cty. After approx. 20 miles you will reach Luster's Gate. To extend the ride take a left onto Luster's Gate and head up Ellet Rd. just to the right after the convenience mart. Ellet Rd. will come out on S. Main St. so make a right to head back to downtown Bburg or VT. If you want to tackle a tough 2.5 mi. climb (800 ft.) that was part of the Tour DuPont pass Luster's Gate and the road becomes Harding Rd. Continue up up up Harding until making a right on Patrick Henry. At the light make a left onto Main and head back into town. For great homemade Italian head to Zeppoli's on Univ. City Blvd. If the climbing along the way is more than you expected or the weather takes a turn for the worse there are two "bail out" roads. The first is Gravel Hill and the second Sandy Ridge. Both of these roads are steep and road conditions are not ideal. Make a right onto either or these roads and then a right onto Blacksburg/Catawba Rd. Follow this back into town.

As the pics show, the area is truly beautiful and the riding second to none. For more info with cue sheets and elevation profiles go to

Happy riding!