Between Rumbles and Road Rubbish

I’m sorry for the delay in telling the tale of Wednesday’s ride, but last night’s hotel in Grafton WV had very poor internet.

West Virginia was supposed to be about hills. That will come later. What dominated yesterday’s ride was the road surface. 

gravel-on-shoulder-early-am
At least we had a shoulder to ride on

 

Roads have life cycles. When paving is going on, you can be sure the road surface that was there before the paving was very bad. We encountered such bad patches yesterday. We also cycled on sections that were coned off for miles to receive brand new surfaces. For a long stretch, we cycled in the coned-off section and thought, “How courteous of them to cone off the road so we could cycle safely,” that is, until we got to the actual paving zone with monster asphalt machines.

There a road worker stopped us. “It looks like you are on a long haul. I’m sorry to hold you up, but I can’t let you ride in the coned off area. If anything happens to you in this area, we are responsible.” What was left was one partial lane with no shoulder on which every truck, vehicle, and bicycle needed to coexist. According to the construction worker, that is where we had to cycle. To tell the truth, I straddled the coned section and the construction zone. When I saw the number of vehicles waiting for me to be growing, I just stopped and let them all go. However, when I was out of sight of the road workers, I went back into the coned section. I kept an eye on both where I was supposed to be and where I was. At one point, I realized there was a large truck coming up behind me in the coned-off section! I quickly hopped back out into the lane I was supposed to be in. 

We had gotten used to Route 50, so when the cue sheet said to go on tiny hilly roads outside of Clarksburg, we had a three way discussion about whether to ignore it or not. Susie checked the satellite photos and Pete consulted his knowledge of the area. Lynn missed the important warning at the top of the cue sheet that spoke of heavy traffic in Clarksburg. Our ideas coalesced to keep us on Route 50, but we understood afterward why we should have followed the cue sheet. The traffic was fast and furious, the rumble strips were mean, and there were lots of exit and entrance ramps to negotiate. There was a huge grate in the shoulder with slots lined up in the direction of our wheels; had we not seen it, it would definitely have swallowed a bicycle wheel and sent us over the handlebars. By the time we got to Bridgeport for lunch, the medical gloves I had put on for the cool temperatures were filled with sweat from the stress.

lynn-with-clarksburg-in-background
Clarksburg in the background

All the weather forecasts we were following promised rain on Thursday, so instead of going from Ellenboro just to Grafton, we elected to continue on and do as much of the next day’s ride as we could. That finally took us to the HILLS. Pete’s reconnaissance work promised us three steep long curvy hills between Grafton and McHenry. We did two of the three hills before calling it a day. Had we heeded all the fear-inducing talk of long steep climbs on treacherous poorly-maintained two-lane roads with precipitous drops if you went over a guard rail, we’d have missed goats, quaint country farms, cows on a roof, fall foliage, late day long shadows, and a gorgeous satisfying 80-mile ride on a warm fall day.

cows-on-roof

lynn-on-long-climb

long-shadows-end-of-day
Pete casts a long shadow at the end of the day

Ride details

Start location: Ellenboro WV

End location: 17 miles east of Grafton WV

Distance: 81.0 miles

Cumulative distance: 2748.8 miles

Elevation gain: 6834 feet (THAT’S MORE THAN A MILE!!!)

Strava track: https://www.strava.com/activities/742907798

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10 thoughts on “Between Rumbles and Road Rubbish

  1. It’s easy to get psyched out by other people’s description of the road you are about to take. Problem is, they are judging it by a different standard (e.g. how most people would view the route). I’m glad you took the opportunity to enjoy the experience and the view.

    You are not like most people. You are different. You are strong. You are determined. You are amazing!

    Don’t let anyone’s voice (including your own) psych you out. You’ve got this! You’re so close to home!

    Enjoy the journey and the views along the way.

    You and Susie are in my thoughts

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Lynn, a mile high (!) and into the WV “hills”. So glad you are back blogging, thought you might have been hijacked by a local critter or the natives 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It was so nice to see you and Susie last night in Gettysburg. I spent much of this a.m. looking back at your last five or six blogs because we did not have internet access at Tygart Lake. We missed you there by only a few days but I had a feeling you would be on Route 50 through Grafton! What a fantastic ride this has been for you and I so appreciate reading your blogs and following through on the maps. Five, or is is four? more days and you will be able to dip your bike in the Atlantic Ocean. It wasn’t too long ago, you dipped her in the Pacific! WOW, it was a magnificent trip and so happy to have you share it with us. Jake even read your blog before he did his Fantasy Baseball and Fantasy Football. Stop here in Leesburg when you decide to take a local ride.

    Like

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