Here are a few pics from our most excellent ride on Sunday:
The above was taken on the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Roanoke, on our way to some off-road adventure riding a section of the Blue Ridge Trail.
The Blue Ridge Trail (BRT) is a creation of a VA dualsport rider and (amateur?) cartographer, and is the result of a lot of hard work pouring over maps to create the route. It runs from Damascus, VA, to Front Royal, VA via dirt roads, gravel roads, National Forest Roads, Jeep Trails, and when necessary, lightly trafficked secondary state and county roads, with an emphasis on scenic and off-pavement riding.
I’m pretty much a complete beginner when it comes to off-road riding of any sort, but right now it sounds really exciting to ride the whole trail. We’re hoping to do it in pieces over this summer, but have yet to make a multi-day trip happen. With the amount of work we have in front of us this summer, I’m not sure we’ll be able to take the time.
However, we both wanted to ride yesterday (the weather was fantastic), so we decided to take what we can get, and ran 100 mi up the highway so we could ride roughly 50 mi of the trail, and then blasted 100 mi on the highway back home.
We hopped on the trail at Buchanan, and were quickly into the woods. Above, I made Kevin go back across my first “official” water crossing so I could get a pic. Any riders can share in our amusement at my initial intimidation by what turned out to be the world’s easiest water crossing. Also, little did I know how much practice I would get; there were at least 8 or 9 more crossings after this one, none of which were any trouble (wouldn’t want to try it after heavy rain).
Thankfully, this section of the trail was fairly newbie friendly. We kinda didn’t know what we were getting into (that’s why its an adventure:), and I know some places are suggested for intermediate riders, so my ability ride the trail was not a given. The pictures do not do any justice to the actual condition of the trail; it all looks so tame (much of it really was, but the pic below was a lot steeper, rockier, and more rutted than the picture suggests).
The ridges were a good 1000 ft higher than the valleys, and were a great way to escape the heat. Unfortunately, summer growth meant we didn’t find anywhere to take pictures with a view.
The verdict? This was pretty awesome. When we got to the end of the section we had planned for the day, I was tempted to continue on a little further down the trail. Kevin talked me out of it, and I’m glad he did. By the time we’d ridden the 100 mi back home, we’d both had enough. Even so, we’re definitely searching the calendar for possible three day weekends this summer/early fall.
6/16/2013 – 268 mi. dualsport ride. 40-50 mi of unpaved forest service roads in Jefferson National Forest.