The emerging warmth and green of spring days tempt us. Long days at the office interrupted by relatively brief spates of outdoor time urge us to spend weekends actively exploring.
This weekend Felkerino and I joined bicycling friends Andrea and Jerry to revisit the Devil’s Daughter 210K permanent, a ride carefully crafted by RUSA permanista Crista Borras.
Crista describes the Devil’s Daughter 210K as an “extremely scenic ride with five major climbs, including one ‘gut buster.'” Those familiar with Crista’s rides know that if she says scenic, she means it. Sure enough, our route offered plenty of vistas and almost 11,500 feet of climb over the full 131 miles. (See the Ride With GPS here.)
I don’t know that I would want to attempt a course akin to the Devil’s Daughter every weekend, but it suited my mood and ambitions Saturday. Cruising sections constituted about 40 miles, with the remainder of the ride rife with intense climbs, some longer than others, and lots of chop.
While the ride starts and ends in Middletown, Virginia, the bulk of the course covers territory in West Virginia.
West Virginia is a spectacular place to spend the day, especially when weather is good and the forsythia and redbud are peeping out. It’s also a place where the road can be rather merciless.
You wonder how the road you traverse is even paved. You wonder when it will let up. It doesn’t let up. You wonder how that’s possible. Despite the unrelenting up, you still want to take a picture to try and remember it all.
Felkerino and I spent the day in excellent company. Jerry and Andrea are such experienced and confident riders that they rode their own ride even as we all stayed within eyesight of each other throughout the day.
Andrea pedaled confidently away on the uphills while Jerry often would swoop by us on switchback descents. How are they doing that?
Felkerino and I smoothly managed every grade that took us up higher and higher and never relented on the pedals. I was so proud of us and our “Big Cat” tandem, which is really proving itself to be an excellent climber.
Perhaps another reason I enjoyed Saturday’s ride so much is because a ride with that kind of climbing obliges you to completely immerse yourself into it. Every up and down it throws at you requires focus. Distractions and worries of the day-to-day have no place.
Sometimes it’s good to go on a ride and mull life over. Other days, it’s an excellent reprieve to focus on nothing other than what’s coming your way.
A delightful day in the mountains. Thank you, West Virginia. See you soon.