Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Climbing in West Virginia: A Ride out of Wardensville

I am catching up on some blog posts after a very busy few weeks. Two weekends ago, we went out and rode this route in West Virginia. We started in Wardensville, West Virginia and rode west on old highway 55. When we moved out here, what is now old highway 55 was the only route between Wardensville and Moorfield to the west. It is a curvy two-lane highway that takes a while to drive. The first time we went out to Dolly Sods, we drove on it. Shortly after that, a four-lane expressway (that is hardly used) replaced it. The old road is still there, though, and while browsing the Strava Heat Map, I discovered that people ride their bikes on it (as an aside, if you haven't looked at the heat map website, you should. I could spend way too much time looking at where people ride).

The ride on the old highway couldn't have been more pleasant. In the first 25 of 30 miles between Wardensville and Moorfield, I think we were passed by fewer than 5 vehicles. The climbs were challenging and the road is in excellent condition. And there were wineberries at the top of one of the climbs. The only downside was that the road isn't signed very well, so there were a couple of intersections where it wasn't perfectly clear where we were supposed to go. We figured it out without any wrong turns, though.

From Moorfield, we embarked on the harder part of the ride. We set off towards Lost River State Park, which involves a single climb that is more than six miles long and has at least one place where the grade tops 14%. The descent into Lost River State Park was beautiful and the kids working at the pool in the park let us fill our bottles in the changing room sink.  From there, it was miles of pretty riding to get to a store...where we found ice cream and cold drinks. Our loop took us up another beastly climb before finally rewarding us with a long descent back into Wardensville. Totals for the day: 72 miles, 6900 feet of climbing.

I only had my phone with me for a camera, so the picture quality isn't as good as usual.
 At the top of a hill on old highway 55.
 Wineberries at the top of that same hill.
Pretty fields and mountains south of Moorefield.
Michael and our friend waiting for me to take photos.
At the top of the first long climb out of Moorfield. This was clearly the entrance to a nice farm at some point in the past. The large stone posts have the letters "P" and "S" on them.
The view from the top of one of the hills.
The Lost River Store where there was ice cream to be had.
We came through the last part of the route just after a rain storm. It never rained on us, but the road was wet.

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