The Blue Ridge Parkway – Virginia

5 Sep

The lady and I drove down south to The Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia do some riding/hiking/camping before heading down to NC to meet out new nephew Max! On the way down we ate at Great Sage and stopped by the COOP-esq market called Roots to pick up some artisanal camping food/snacks.



We stayed at The Middle Creek Campground located right off I-81



Quick breakfast




Then it was time to ride! I had no idea what to expect other than there were a couple cat3 climbs and an HC climb at the end… The lady is still trying to recover from her shattered ankle a few months back and she had never done any sustained climbing past ~800ft before so I knew today could be a rough one. I tried to explain what we were getting ourselves into… about a 2 hour climb back up to camp, but I think that only made her more weary.

Our camp spot is in the foothills of Jefferson forest near The Peaks of the Otter. We descended a few hundred feet, turn right and within 2 miles we turn onto the road and start climbing. This wouldn’t have been such a bad thing other than the road turned to coarse gravel… hmm OK! Wasn’t thinking these roads were going to be gravel but what can you do. Climbing up gravel roads is much more difficult for the shear fact that you have to be on your game and not zone out. Picking the wrong line can easily make you have to put a foot down where getting momentum to go again can be sometimes impossible. The lady took the gravel ascents AND descents like a champ and we finally make it to The Blue Ridge Parkway.

At that point she saw the sign for the top of the mountain to the right and thought we were heading to the top to take in the sights and sounds… this was far from the truth though. I explained that we needed to turn left in order to descend the rest of the mountain so that we could do the entire HC climb. We sped towards the bottom of the hill and exited the parkway to grab some fluids at a gas station ~1mile away. We ate the food we packed on the parkway before ascending to the top of Apple Orchard Mountain.

The climb was long and gradual with nothing too too steep. We kept a talkative pace the whole climb with a couple ‘shrink’ sessions mixed in. I was having a blast taking in the sights and sounds. It was an epic experience and the most ‘Rapha’ ride I think the lady had ever been on. These types of rides are usually hated during the journey, but thought about in high regards shortly after the fact.


Distance: 64miles
Time: 5h40m
Elevation: 6800ft



Gravel gridin HARD







Crushing The Blue Ridge Parkway downhills


ALL the goats!







Picnic spot



22miles of straight climbing… oooohie!








We even got to hang-out/watch a local blue-grass band. We were deep in Virginia!


The next day we hiked the Application trail for a whiles since neither of us had before getting in the car and heading South. Another great experience with excellent riding mixed in. Next up… cyclocross season.



2 Responses to “The Blue Ridge Parkway – Virginia”

  1. Benzo September 6, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

    Can I please tag along next time?

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