Saturday, 21 November 2009

Wintergreen and Climbing

Wintergreen is a great option for a riding weekend. We had stuff to attend to in Charlottesville on Thursday and decided to make it a long weekend here. The resort offered a 3 nights for the price of 2 deal so how could we not do that, right? We're in a studio condo at the top of the mountain (Devil's Knob) and it's really good.

We'd hoped to spend a lot more time on mountain bikes but Thursday's monsoon make bringing the road bikes and heading out on them yesterday a great idea. Yesterday's loop was really simple, a big box. Down to the resort entrance, up to Blue Ridge Parkway, down Rte 56 to the valley road (151) and then back up. 59 miles per the odometer.

The views from on the Parkway were nuts. Really nice clear day, if a little chilly (it is November after all). In about 15 miles on the parkway we might have encountered 10 cars, and no bikes. The drop down Rte 56 was extraordinary. The eye candy with horse fields and old barns and stuff, plus the Tye River and Crabtree Falls were awesome. The Tye was pretty freaking full up, roaring down hill. A couple of switchbacks could have ended in a VERY bad day, a few hundred feet straight down. Going 45 downhill makes for some swell windchill, especially when the canyon that you're in is essentially dark - no sun getting in - and chilled by the butt cold water in the river. The river was cold enough that when we went over this small bridge as we got down to the valley, it was noticeably colder on the bridge than it was 30 feet to either side. Anyhow, the scenery, the curves and the prevalent gravity make this road about my favorite spot ever. Next time I will pack a sweater.

The valley road is nice if uneventful. There are some neat barns and stuff, and it's got enough twists and rollers to keep you engaged. The final drop down to Wintergreen access road is pretty fun, a final feather in the cap before the dread climb up the access road.

Here, the woman proved smarter. She stole my money and parked her bike outside of the Devil's Backbone Brewing Company and drank hot buttered rum while I slaved on up the hill. That hill is an absolute goat raper. 8.11 miles with a little over 2000 feet of vertical gain according to the topo map. My recent switch back to a 53/39 crank with a 25 on the back was not well timed. This is longer, steeper and more relentless than the backside climb to the Barn. The backside takes me about 32 minutes, give or take. This took 54. Average power for the trip up was 283 or something like that, and I was definitely NOT trying to bust a nut or anything. Just wanted to get up there in a timely manner to minimize the bar tab I'd be returning to and get a good work in. The steepness just beat my legs. The lung part of the equation never really came into play, it

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