Monday, September 29, 2008

Wounded Warrior Unity Tour -- Day 1

Saturday morning I set out with 78 other service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard. The Marine Corps was represented by myself one other; we were the minority. The Wounded Warrior Unity Tour would raise more than $4,000 for the Fisher House at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and would take us from Ft Eustis, VA to Walter Reed.

We started in a large group until we crossed over the George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge and the Chesapeake Bay. As riders crossed the grates, several people destroyed tires. It sounded like popcorn. During the safety brief, they said this would be a problem. It was better to walk across the grates.

The pace after the first rest stop got really fast in no time at all. It would be every man for himself. I'm not sure why they were in such a hurry, there wasn't a prize. The quick pace coupled with inexperienced (not to mention plain stupid) riders led to several accidents.

Some where after the 50 mile mark my thighs began cramping of course it took me 20 miles to realize exactly what was happening. So I suffered along for quite a while. Once figured out, I promptly had electrolytes and a cliff bar. It took minutes to begin to feel better. Soon, I found myself riding strong.

We stopped briefly in Tappahannock before we began the climb to FT AP Hill. Go figure, AP Hill actually sits on a rather large hill. From HWY 17, we climbed nearly 6 miles to the base. At the top, we stopped for a pick. The day's riding wasn't quite done. After stopping for 30 minutes to wait for stragglers to get up the hill and for some photos, we had to ride another 5 miles to billeting.

I wish I could say we stayed in the Hilton with all the amenities. What we got were cinder block open squad bay barracks. The bunks covered and aligned along the bulkhead and an aisle down the center. As soon as we unloaded the vehicles and got a little cozy, the skys opened up. It rained most of the night. The barracks were a blessing, they were dry, they had AC and they were free! PERFECT BILLETING.

More photos can be found here.

Day 1 -
Distance - 108 miles
Avg speed - 18.2
Ride time - ~6hrs

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

NEW RUSA Permanent in the Tidewater Area

Attention all randonneurs in South Eastern Virginia. Ron Malinauskas has gotten approval from RUSA for the 215K Nottoway Ramble permanent starting and ending in Windsor, VA.

Ron's description on the RUSA website states, "A relatively flat and pleasant ride through rural southeastern Virginia." That my friends is how you sum up 3000ft of climbing.

I eagerly await the ride report from Ron.

This is the only RUSA event currently in the Tidewater Area. I'm excited becasue I don't have to drive 3+ hours to ride. I plan to tackle this ramble in November and/or December.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Surry Century

Saturday we headed to Surry County to ride the Surry Century. The intention was to use this as a tune up ride for the 220 mile Wounded Warrior Unity Ride in 2 weeks. The Surry Century winds around Surry county, Prince George County and Isle of Wright County along the James River.

Riding along the James River provides great terrain for riding with some nice rollers. This is a welcome change from flat Virginia Beach area.

Randonneurs interested in riding in the area may not have to wait much longer. Rumor has it that a permanent in the Surry area is pending approval.

More photos can be seen here.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ride to the Pond

Ron M. invited me for a TBA sponsored ride. The ride was scheduled for the bents but Ron was the only one scheduled to ride the 75 miles. I thought it would be a good way to see something new and get in some much needed miles.

We left the Sufflok, VA airport and headed towards NC. Shortly after we crossed the border, we stopped for some refreshments and some cool air. The temperatures were climbing quickly and the air was dense adding 10 degrees to the heat index.

Next stop was Merchants Mill Pond State Park. This is a beautiful park although it is covered in algae at the moment. We relaxed in the shade and looked for some critters but had to settle for reading about alligators and ticks.

In Sunbury, NC, we stopped for some lunch with the locals. We downed BBQ and hush puppies and enjoyed the cold air. The local hunters dressed in Mossy Oak gave us some strange looks when we walked in. It was the standard scene. The record scratching...silence. All eyes upon us.

As we found a seat, I heard one gentlemen say, "Them boys been doin' some ridin'."

After lunch, we continued on the route back towards Suffolk. Crossing the same road like a zipper became annoying so we change our route to a more direct course cutting 5 miles off the total distance. This turned out to be a very good idea as both Ron and I had bone dry water bottles with 8 about miles remaining.

In all we logged 70 miles on a beautiful day.