June 29, 2018
Today is my birthday and I rode my bike 60 miles! I feel very strong after a week of challenging riding in Virginia. When we got back from Alaska, I wasn’t expecting to go away again so soon, but a friend from Morris Area Freewheelers announced that there was a last-minute opening for Bike Virginia. Michael would be fishing in Montana, we don’t have a dog, I am healthy and in good shape – might as well take advantage of all the favorable conditions and seize the moment!
Close to 30 folks from MAFW would be attending this year and I arranged to stay at a motel with two friends whom I often ride with. I drove down to Radford Virginia alone and stayed over-night in Woodstock to break up the eight-hour drive, singing along with the country music on the radio to entertain myself. Michael and Arnie, both in their 70’s, were fun companions and looked out for me, which felt very reassuring. Sometimes Arnie and I rode together. Some days we bumped into the group of other C riders from our club. Some days I rode by myself, but with 1700 participants, there were always riders on the route to chat with or not, and always support and SAG if you needed it. Even though I had various tire troubles, I always felt safe.
The routes were very challenging, with lots of tough climbing, so even though we didn’t necessarily do long mileage, we got a great workout. Even the MAFW B riders we talked to who chose the longer routes, said they were the most difficult rides they had ever done! The roads were beautiful and the rest stops were varied and interesting, sometimes at a historic country store, a farm, or a crooked road music venue. We were lucky with the weather, which was cool and moist, far preferable to hot and horrible.
The food and activities at the two headquarters were also varied and interesting, including tubing on the New River (I watched people do that), swimming on Claytor Lake, and even meditation with a sweet minister from Charlotte. Some evenings I just went back to the Holiday Inn in Christianburg and collapsed, some days I ate and listened to the music at headquarters, and some nights Michael and Arnie and I went out for dinner. The quality of the whole trip was much more modest than our Alaskan cruise, or a Backroads adventure, but the biking was fantastic and everything else was just enough. It was great to have the choice to be social or on my own while still having the support of friends and the Bike Virginia organization. I’m so glad I came and I would totally do it again!