Cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway

June 15, 2010

I just returned this weekend from a 350 mile ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway, a two-lane road winding along the ridge of the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina and Virginia. Originally a WPA project built between the wars, the Parkway was conceived as a series of connected vistas running the spine of the mountains, and was (and is) for pleasure vehicles only.  That, along with the fact that the speed limit is 45 mph, makes for a perfect (though challenging) cycling route.

We were about 40 riders, of all ages and coming from all over.  Riding around every turn we’d have yet another breathtaking view, to the point that we began to feel gorged by day two.

Had to wear my Boston jersey, of course!

Yeah, I see why they call it the Blue Ridge.

Here’s the Linn Cove Viaduct, a piece that they had to build around the side of the mountain.

We camped every night.  Here’s our little campground on the last night of the trip – what a finish!

During the course of the 6 days’ riding, I climbed a total of 32,000 feet.  I was always in either my highest or my lowest gears – rarely the middle ones – because there simply are no flat parts. I just kept reminding myself, “after every hill, there must follow a descent!”  It’s good to be back.  I’m not sore, just a little stiff.

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