Day 24, Aug 10th

Start: Etkins, WV

Finish: Harrisonburg, VA

Miles: 108

Elevation Gain: 10.500'


Econo Lodge Harrisonburg

1703 East Market St.

Harrisonburg, VA 22803


Click on an image to see a larger view

What a great day. This has to rank as one of my two or three favorite days of this tour. The scenery was beautiful, the road surface was nice, the hills were challenging and the weather was, yet again, just about perfect. It was even a reasonably short ride (at least compared to every other day over the past couple weeks) so I was able to finish the ride by mid-afternoon even with taking my time to stop and take

Gavin and I on the big climb before the second rest stop

photos, and relaxing at the SAG and lunch stops.

The forecast was for a 40% chance of thunderstorms and the clouds looked just a bit ominous, but within a few hours the clouds had largely cleared and the sun was shining. There were a few times on some of the climbs when it got a bit warm, but it also felt a bit

A beautiful sunrise this morning

chilly on the descents so it was probably an ideal compromise.

Most of our riding today was on Rt 33, a scenic highway that winds its way over the Appalachian mountains into Virginia. There were some cars and trucks on the road, but overall the traffic was fairly light. We did take one short detour for about 10 miles on a small single-lane road through the German Valley. This was one of the most fun parts of the day, as the road twisted and turned through the countryside with virtually no car traffic.

We had about a half dozen significant climbs, culminating with the largest up Shenandoah mountain to the Virginia border. At least with regards to climbing, the ride reminded me of a century ride in my area called the Torture 10,000 which I did last year. A couple of my friends just did this year's version, so they'll have some idea of what my day was like today.

Our crew had an unusual and unwelcome adventure this morning. Dena was driving the van with the lunch trailer and as she came around a corner on one of the descents, a full grown bear was in the road right in front of her. She had no choice but to hit it square on. The bear was still alive but badly injured after being run over by van and trailer and the animal control officer was called to deal with it. Miraculously, the van and occupants were unharmed although Dena was understandably shaken. The only damage was to the license plate as seen in the photo below.

We're now in our last state and on the home stretch. Tomorrow's ride should be another beautiful one as we pass through Shenandoah National Park.

Lots of small creeks along the roads today The roads had relatively little traffic on them, particularly early in the morning John is making a screaming descent after the first climb. This is the descent where Dena hit the bear

The layering effect created by a light haze was beautiful Two puppies kept us company at the first SAG stop Arend passed me while I was taking some photos

This little single-lane back road wound through the German Valley Another little creek A farm along the German Valley Road

Gavin and Tom The little town of Riverton Overlooking the German Valley from the second rest stop

Alan climbing one of many hills today The only damage from hitting the bear was a battered license plate and some bear hair on the bolts We entered our last state today