Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Riding in West Virginia

A vacation in West Virginia around a family wedding at the first of June gave us the first chance to ride hills with the Robusta.

First stop was Berkely County in the Eastern Panhandle of West Viriginia. The Shenandoa Valley runs through the Eastern Panhandle, and the riding there is spectacular; beucolic scenery, lightly trafficed back country roads, low humidity, and lots of climbing from relatively short, steep, climbs, to extended climbs in the 1000-1500 foot vertical range.

Our first big climb was over Sleepy Creek Mountain with almost 1500 feet vertical, and a section of 15% grade. Shaving 21 lbs off the Burley's weight with the Robusta certainly made a difference. Made it up without too much distress, as part of 4 hour ride with 6,000 vertical feet of climbing. (or a little less than 1/2 of one day of Everest Challenge.)

Then on to Kumbrabow State Forest (pictured above.) located on the Western edge of the Alleghany Highlands, atop Rich Mountain. Kumbrabow is very remote (nice to be out of cell phone range), with rustic cabins, powered by wood stoves, and gas lights.

Riding from our cabin entailed 6 miles of dirt road. Rather than take the time to drive to the pavement, we used the dirt road to test out the durability of the Rolf Tandem wheels. With 28c tires, the bike, and wheels performed fine on the dirt roads which included 3 miles of climbing and 3 miles of descending.

Next stop was the Greenbrier, where were able to ride the backroads of Greenbrier county, and then recover in style.

Last day of the trip, we White Water rafted down the Gauley river. The Upper Gauley, with 30 named rapids, 5 Class V rapids, and the technical challenges of running summer Gauley, provided a workout in its own right.

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