Day 5 - Cross Country Velocipede Adventure - CycleBlaze

April 30, 2023

Day 5

Afton, VA to Natural Bridge, VA

Today’s plan.
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As you can see by looking at the route profile posted above, I’ve got a bit of climbing to do. Just for clarification, I’m going right to left. Starting in Afton (The Cookie Lady’s House), there is about 6,000 feet of climbing between me and my final destination. Well, it didn’t disappoint. About 20 years ago I used to participate in an annual supported ride in Portland, OR called the “Torture 10,000.” This ride was 103 miles with 10,000 feet of climbing. And of course it took place in August where it wasn’t unusual for the temperatures to be close to 100 Fahrenheit. Today was more difficult than that ride. There is a very large difference between climbing on an 18 pound race bike and a 90 pound touring bike. Holy cow. As you can see most of the climbing was in the first 25 miles. It sucked today. I should say the physical part sucked, the scenery was spectacular and that, combined with the car-free roads, made all the suffering worthwhile. The route took me over the Blue Ridge Mountains and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

From Wikipedia:

“The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and All-American Road in the United States, noted for its scenic beauty. The parkway, which is America's longest linear park, runs for 469 miles (755 km) through 29 Virginiaand North Carolina counties, linking Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It runs mostly along the spine of the Blue Ridge, a major mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains. Its southern terminus is at U.S. Route 441 (US 441) on the boundary between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Qualla Boundary of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina, from which it travels north to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.”

Stunning scenery along the Blue Ridge Parkway
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Maybe worth the pain?
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Into the storm…
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As you can see from the last photo, the weather today was a bit exciting. At times it was an absolute downpour, but other times were very pleasant with low temperatures conducive to a lot of climbing. The weather was probably the reason I was able to travel this normally busy road mostly by myself.

After a very exciting descent, I made my way along a beautiful river and along some beautiful roads. Only one charming soul decided it was in my best interest to hear the sound of his blaring horn one foot from my ear. I’m assuming he was just cheering me on and this was his way of saying “way to go!” 

After all the climbing and the accumulating fatigue over the last several days, I decided it was time for a break. I got a small cabin at a KOA in Natural Bridge and I’ll be taking a rest day tomorrow. Everything hurts. Badly. Mostly my joints. I don’t want the trip to end because I’m too stupid to know when to rest. This will allow me to catch up with things like laundry! Also, a shower will be very wonderful for me and everyone around me.

I was lost here but the roads and scenery were great.
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Had to take this picture. I didn’t want to stop as I was so close to my destination, but I couldn’t resist.
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Today's ride: 67 miles (108 km)
Total: 296 miles (476 km)

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jennielynn scottThe pictures are FANTASTIC!!!
Thank-you for taking the time to shoot and share.
Love you cousin.
Keep on truckin' and stay safe.
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1 year ago
Brian ScottThere was so much beautiful scenery. Many times I wished I had my good camera with me, but really couldn't afford the extra weight on this tour. Just iPhone pics, but thank you!
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1 year ago