Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Skyline Drive Sufferfest: Big Meadows Edition

We got up crazy early on Saturday to go ride Skyline Drive through the Central District of Shenandoah National Park. Thunderstorms were in the forecast and, although the forecast wasn't ideal, we figured there was a greater chance of them late in the afternoon. I basically just accepted that we were going to get wet. We started riding south from Thornton Gap just after 8 a.m. The ride south to Swift Run Gap went by pretty quickly and seemed relatively easy after the initial five mile climb. It turns out that the ride back north is the harder direction. By the time we rode into Big Meadows (48 miles in), we were both out of gas.  Lunch, cold drinks, and a little bit of rest made life better and the rest of the ride went pretty well. The Central District is a nice, beautiful ride. There is also more traffic than in the North District (our usual Shenandoah ride) because there are more visitor facilities, campgrounds, and lodging there. We had a great ride, though, and it never did rain. Final stats: 68 miles and 5800 feet of elevation gain.

Pictures from my phone:
Old Rag from Pinnacles Overlook at milepost 35. 
Looking west from the bridge over US 33 at Swift Run Gap.
Big Meadows in the afternoon. While we ate lunch, we watched a guy flying a large kite over the meadow. Sadly, my phone isn't a good enough camera to have captured it.

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