So, the Harvest Moon ride out of Warm Springs, VA (about 25 miles south of Mountain Mama's Monterey, WV start) was officially cancelled. Since we like the area, we came down anyway and participated in a metric century group ride at which they gave away a long sleeve T-shirt, had 2 food stops, SAG support...what's not to like? I left the Inn at Gristmill Square, a very neat inn with good food and a good tavern and drove to the start in Millboro, pausing here to snap this image.
Part of the Harvest Moon festival weekend is judging the dozens of decorated hey bales set in front of homes/farms. All are very creative. I arrived in Millboro and was introduced to the group, all 8 of them. The organizer introduced me to each, there was silver haired, very bushy bearded Buck, there was Catherine, there was another Buck...what are the odds of 2 guys named Buck in a group of 8? A group of hunters, maybe but cyclists? The 2nd Buck had one of the strangest personalities, walking around the parking lot making inane comments (think of a very dumb downed, good ole country boy version of Poobah), each associated with a nervous giggle. There was a very fit looking young buck named Mike, another guy who described pushing his bike up Mountain Mama's final climb and said "walking is just another gear" and 1-2 others. This is my kind of crowd.
We headed west on 39 before turning on to a road with Mike just behind me. At the top of the climb I was alone and never saw another cyclist and very few cars for the next 60 miles. Unreal how many smoothly paved back roads there are around here, running between or over the mountains. This route was not that hilly with a neat "Tower Road" climb that was 2 miles with the first half at 18-21% before leveling out and the climb up to Millboro High School another good one. At the 45 mile food stop, I inquired where everyone else was and it sounded like Mike and one of the Bucks were working together not too far behind me. I admit, even though it was supposed to be a fun group ride, I did not want to come in behind anyone named Buck so reaching the final climb to the High School, I glanced back several times but arrived at the parking lot alone. I needn't have worried, I stuffed everything back in my car, drove down the mountain, followed the route a few miles before turning back to Warm Springs and never saw another cyclist. Finished with 62 miles and 4700' of climbing but the ride did not have the feel of a 4700' route.
Later, my wife and I explored Hot Springs, VA and walked around the Homestead Resort, visited a farmer's market, retail stores and enjoyed the rest of the day. We took a back way to Warm Springs, just another ribbon of perfect asphalt going through the village of Bacova and beyond.