Sunday, March 1, 2009

Nottoway Ramble Permanent – 209K

A small group of randonneurs rode Ron Malinauskas’s Nottoway Ramble 209k Permanent showcasing southeastern Virginia’s landscape. The loop ride begins and ends in the small village of Windsor, VA.

A late start was not a concern as four riders rolled out of Windsor winding towards the first control in Yale. The history in the area is interesting and Ron provided entertainment as the duty historian with tales of from the past. The following is an excerpt from the Yale Daily News:
In 1882, a University alum who was laying tracks for the Atlantic and Danville railroad in Virginia named the local train depot after his alma mater, and the name came to be used for the surrounding area. Today, Yale is an unincorporated area in rural Virginia that does not qualify as a town. It’s a place whose enduring existence stems only from having its own post office...
The Yale Post Office served as our control. We signed a post card and dropped it into the mail, had a few snacks before shoving off to our next destination. Of so I thought. Dean, Ian and I rode for 10 miles before we realized Ron wasn’t with us. I kept thinking he should catch us any moment as we soft-pedaled most of the distance.

We sat at a stop sign for a few minutes waiting for Ron. When he didn’t arrive; worry set in. Did something happen? About this time Ian mentioned that he stayed behind at the Yale post office getting Jim Romer set up for the ride. Jim rode the Tappahannock 200k brevet on Saturday and arrived in Winsdsor just after we took off. Within the next few miles, Jim and Ron caught us.

Along the route we witnessed hundreds of vultures. The American Black Vulture is a social animal and hunts in packs. Though they most often eat dead or lame animals, lately they have been known to attack family pets and small children in Virginia. YIKES.

Rambling through the countryside, lunch in Waverly. The next area is some of the best riding in southeastern Virginia. In the center of this area is the village of Claremont on the James River. The area includes several rolling hills along the river and beautiful scenery on the bluffs. This terrain continues until Surry.

In Surry, Dean and I decided to wait for the other riders at a store. We topped off water, dawned reflective materials and waited. The sun was gone and the temperatures dropped quickly. I remembered that I had some foot warmers in my bag and decided that this would be a good opportunity to test them.

We headed out of Surry with lights and rode the last 30 miles as a group. Ron and I literally blazed the way with Edelux LED lights. Wow, impressive. I’m certain that oncoming traffic thought we were cars. I’m almost certain that the dogs on this stretch were either too cold to chase or to freaked out by the lights.

This is a great route in an otherwise flat area of the country.