After the deluge on Saturday, the sun came out today and I set out toward Fauquier County against a stiff head wind. I wanted to check out some streets I hadn’t yet been on. This often leads to adventure and today was no exception. I had on my brand new cycling gloves (pictured at right) and a new pair of Bellwether cycling shorts (not pictured in order to maintain viewership).
The wind was a challenge, but I’m learning to accept the slower pace required by fighting a steady breeze. By the way, if there is a stiff wind to be dealt with, I highly recommend taking it on at the beginning of the ride if at all possible. It makes the return trip much more tolerable. The first 21 miles were a long slog into Fauquier County. Eventually, I made it to Bristersburg Road and found the wind on my back while riding a straight level road. I pedaled past nice homes and (to put it politely) “rural” homes. It was a nice road to cycle on and it’s easy to see why so many cyclists gravitate to this county to ride – lots of nice roads with little traffic. Perfect!
At the corner of Bristersburg Road and Shenandoah Path, the Crossings Baptist Church can be found. In honor of Palm Sunday, I include a picture of this interesting building below.
Turning onto Shenandoah Path, I looked forward to riding another 2-3 miles on a road I had not yet traveled. After half a mile, the asphalt gave way to gravel. Once again, I was trapped on a gravel road.
I know that Fauquier County is named after Francis Fauquier, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, who allegedly won the land in a poker game in 1759 (which is itself a fascinating story which I do not have time to delve into in this space). Had I not known this, I would have guessed “Fauquier” was Algonquin for “Land With Too Many Dirt Roads.” A great many of the roads in the area are gravel and a great many of these have the nasty habit of starting out paved and turning to gravel only after you have traveled quite a distance and are not inclined to turn around. Such was the case on Shenandoah Path.
Faced with a decision of turning around and adding miles to my route or pressing onward, I thought of my blog friend, Gerry, who recently cycled upon the famous (and bone-jarring) cobble stones of the Paris-Roubaix route. If he could endure those rides, surely I could handle this minor inconvenience? While Gerry’s rides were impressive, it must be noted that he did not need to risk his own bike whereas I was riding my personal property in a land where help was a significant distance away. I pressed on. Menacing dogs in cages barked menacingly. Several stray dogs (including a German Shepherd) trotted up to me but they were all friendly. There was no gunfire – a refreshing change from my last adventure near Catlett. Eventually, I popped out onto Elks Head Road and began the trip home having survived unscathed.
Spring is coming to Northern Virginia, although Spring-like temperatures are a little late. I’ll leave you with a few pictures of Spring in rural Virginia. When you’re not being chased by dogs and/or gunfire, it is a very nice place.