Team Getaway - Blue Ridge Parkway
Two Fort Wayne team members met one of our Tennessee members and another from the Baltimore area in Roanoke, VA for a long weekend of riding the beautiful hills of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We considered this a mini spring training camp of sorts and enjoyed every minute of it, even the cold and rain on day two.
The plan: Leave late Thursday night, ride all day on Friday, all day on Saturday, and then catch a couple hour ride Sunday morning before heading back early that afternoon. Shoot for 200 miles. Plans are best left flexible with under prepared flat landers and unpredictable weather.
The Fort Wayne crew left around 10pm on Thursday night and settled in for an all night, 9 hour road trip while hoping to catch some sleep along the way. The other members had shorter drives, but still required early morning wake ups to get to the parkway for a 9am start time. After a hearty breakfast and reuniting after long months apart, the crew of friends headed out on the parkway just after 9am.
We rode 65 miles on Friday with around 7000 ft of climbing and spent 4.5 hours on the bike before calling it a day. The weather was outstanding with sun, cool temps, and a brisk breeze to cool the sweat dripping from our faces after a long climb. We rode, we stopped to take in the view, and rode some more all while enjoying each other's company and without a need for speed. Not that any of us had any gears left on most hills. We left the parkway with fulfilled spirits, cramps in our legs, and the gritty remnants of sweaty faces.
The forecast for Saturday and Sunday was less than favorable for another long, comfortable day. There was a window of clear skies on Saturday morning that we were determined to hit so we started out early. We put all the layers on we brought hoping it would keep us warm in the low to mid-40s temperatures. We secretly hoped it would keep us dry, but it was all a dream because none of us have true rain riding gear since we don't regularly ride in rainy climates.
We started in a steady pour and within the first 5 minutes, we were all drenched, but finding our grit as we got our heart rates up and as the rain broke. We had a solid 1.5-2hrs of no rain and overcast skies that really made the colors of the parkway pop with contrast. We climbed and climbed and climbed covering 5000ft of climbing in a total of 38 miles. We reached the highest peak of our route that day at around 34 miles and at that time the fog rolled in and the rain began again. We stopped, regrouped, and strategized a plan to ride the descent once the fog cleared.
We were now soaking wet, temps at the top were in the high 30s/low 40s, and we took off hoping our brakes would work. For us that don't spend much time in the hills, we were living on the edge it seemed like. We started our descent and we're all now freezing as our wet clothes meet the wind, rain, and fog. More than half way down, Andrew's sunglasses flew off his helmet causing us to stop to recover them and consider our options. Barely being able to feel our hands and the fact that our chase vehicle was near, we racked the bikes in the pouring rain and fog, and then stripped our wet clothes in favor of the warm van. We were more than satisfied with our 38ish miles.
Sunday was rained out as we only had the morning to ride and the forecast was all rain. We had breakfast, strategized our next get together, prayed for one another, and then headed on our ways home. Our time was renewing for us all as we got away in nature while doing what we love with our friends. We highly recommend you do the same in the coming months.
Team NL folks... this was a bit of a scouting trip for a future Team NL camp. Stay tuned as we put those details together and consider taking a larger group to a place like BRP.