September 6, 2023

We began Day 1 of our Parkway ride at milepost 0, just outside Waynesboro, VA. We stopped 45.3 miles later, near Lexington, VA where we had hotel reservations for the evening. We will return to this spot in the morning to resume our ride. Statistics of the day: 45.3 miles of cycling, 4,619 feet of climbing, 3:46 time in the saddle. I averaged 12.0 mph and offer no apologies for my speed. There were a total of 11 climbs of varying lengths and gradient. For me, the last climb, Bear Hill, just before the end, at 2.5 miles which we hit around noon, just as the heat was building, was the toughest.

I did not sleep well last night. I was nervous about today’s ride. Once we got going, I got into the symmetry of cycling and was fine. Back home in Asheville, I’ve been on countless rides of 45 miles or more and climbed 4,000 feet several times a season so there was no reason to be nervous but I was. Trying to figure out what caused this issue is fruitless so I’m hopeful of a better sleep this evening.

Mary Ann McCain did her usual outstanding job of shepherding us. She found convenient spots to park along the way. If we wanted to stop for refreshments, she was ready. Otherwise, Rusty and I flew by. We stayed together for parts of the ride and on occasion, Rusty pulled ahead. We’ve ridden together so many times, we know our styles and it is no big deal when one pulls ahead of the other.

The great news is the traffic was light. More motorcyclists passed us than cars which made it relatively stress-free. We saw just two other cyclists heading in the other direction. The other pleasant aspect was about half the ride was in the shade so despite the summer heat, until the very end, the ride was surprisingly pleasant.

Thoughts while on today’s ride:

  • The Blue Ridge Parkway is a work of art. Hats off to the engineers of old who planned and built this American gem. If you have the opportunity, I urge you to get out and drive part of this historic highway. You will not be disappointed.

  • Several times today, Rusty and I talked about how grateful we are to be able to do things like ride the parkway. We are both extraordinarily thankful for our health and the physical capability we have and do not take these gifts lightly.

  • We are both grateful for our spouses. We could not do these adventures without the support of Rusty’s wife Mary Ann. While Pam may not accompany us on these trips, she is with us in spirit. I am so happy that she has bounced back from her terrible fall of 5 weeks ago which resulted in snapping the head of her femur. She’s done well, in large part due to her determination and grit to heal. Great job Pam!!

  • Here are a couple of photos of today’s journey:


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