My plan was to do a loop out west of Purcellville, and down through Round Hill. Purcellville sits pretty close to the West Virginia border and so in my route I also included a little detour off the loop to try to ride over the border into WV. That detour wound up being a very vertical (but paved) road: 700 feet of elevation gain in about 2 miles. I huffed and puffed and made it all the way up. Near the end of the road, though, I came around a corner and was surprised to find a very big dog sitting right in the middle of the road. I was so taken aback that I stopped pedaling and, being on an uphill and being clipped in, immediately came to a stop and fell over. My bikey friends assure me that this happens to everyone every once in a while. Slightly scraped and a little rattled, I watched the dog, which turned out to be obviously old and arthritic. When a cat came over and rubbed up against it I realized it probably wasn't all that fierce and decided to continue on past it.
I rode to the end of Sunny Ridge Road but wound up not quite making it to West Virginia. The end of Sunny Ridge Road led into Mountain Orchard Lane, an even more vertical loose gravel road that I, still a little rattled from my fall, decided I didn't want to attempt on my bike. So, I turned around about 3/4 of a mile short of the border. Next time I head that way I think I'll walk uP Mountain Orchard so I can set foot over the border.
Other than that it was a typical gravel ride: pretty scenery, some filling-loosening washboard ridges, and of course an unplanned deviation from my planned route. I think I need to work out some better sort of cue sheet or use my phone, since on these rides I always wind up on the wrong road at some point. This time I made a wrong turn in Round Hill and cut about four miles off my planned ride by turning onto Rt. 7 back towards Purcellville rather than continuing south for a bigger loop.
|Sign Where the Pavement Ends|
Upon completing my ride I took advantage of my proximity to the Leesburg Outlets and went shoe shopping! I think I was pretty rank from sweating my way through twenty-something miles, but it was a slow morning in a slow shopping season and the shopkeepers were willing to indulge a stanky customer - particularly one who wound up buying two pairs of shoes.
A bagel and coffee from Panera, and then home I went.