Over the long Presidents' Day Weekend, two of Team Bulldogs Pro Mountain Bike Racers headed down to Blacksburg, Virginia for a mini training camp. Ryan Heerschap and Brian Lariviere were greeted with excellent weather and bike friendly roads which made for a great three days of training. Thanks to some very detailed routes laid out by the Virginia Tech Cycling Team, they had a veritable smorgasbord of route options.
The first day was a 3+ hour road ride with some steady climbing, 4700' in total. Although the wind was similar to what everyone was experiencing in Northern New Jersey (20-30 mph steady), the warm (55+) temperatures made for a sweet loop.
Day two was the Queen Mother where the boys went out for 7+ hours to tackle 101 miles with 10,000' of elevation gain during the 52 degree day. There were 4 significant climbs, and the lesser climbs would stack up with most hills around here. The first "categorized" climb of the day was a 5 miler, where 2.5 miles of it was dirt. It was quite steep and the top of the climb crossed the AT as it meandered through the Appalachians. The descent was challenging in its own right, as the dirt continued and contained many washboard sections, like your great grandma used to use. Sights on the ride included an buffalo farm and the "famous" Paint Bank General Store, apparently a hot stop for local cyclists. The loop dropped into West Virginia for an hour or two over some beautiful terrain, as well. The roads were quiet, and the fellows often would go for 30-45 minutes before seeing a car. The local brew pub, Bull and Bones, provided a well deserved meal. Here's the loop if you're interested:
Day three would be a little shorter as they needed to head back north that afternoon, but they were able to make the most of the 60 degree morning and head out for 2+ hours along a picturesque route with 2700' of rolling hills. The loop brought them down to what appeared to be the local summer hot spot--a wide spot in the river perfect for all sorts of warm weather water activity.
Although it was big dose of reality to come back to 4" of fresh snow, the taste of Spring will not be forgotten, and Blacksburg will be remembered as a great riding destination. It would be easy to do 5-7 days of solid riding without running out of options. Ride on...Spring is almost here!