Happy Easter, everybody! Today’s weather was textbook Easter – blue skies, sunny, and warm. It was the sort of day one finds on post cards. I decided to take advantage by pedaling over to Warrenton and taking a few (hopefully) post card-worthy pictures.
Oh yeah – my route was 70 miles long, farther than I’ve ever gone before. With my first-ever century now 13 days away, I thought I should press the envelope a bit to get ready. I’m glad I did as I learned a few lessons about riding these sorts of distances, namely take your time and have a good nutrition strategy. I’ve done plenty of reading but it is always nice to see what works for you.
The Road West Of Nokesville
After passing through Nokesville I was into unfamiliar territory, The Land West of Route 28. The terrain is rolling and dotted with horse farms and “regular farms.” After crossing the Dumfries Road, I came across three historical markers near Cedar Run, two of which feature a gentleman named George Neavil, who lived in the area in the 1700s. Mr. Neavil operated a mill and something called an “ordinary.” The mill survives and was operational until 1932. It is now an historic site. I had no idea what an “ordinary” was and the marker was unhelpful in explaining it, although it did mention that George Washington stopped by one day in 1748. I thus had 40+ miles to ponder its meaning. A quick check upon my return home informed me that it is a British term for a hotel. That’s not exactly common knowledge in Virginia, and I’m surprised the marker’s authors couldn’t be bothered to explain it.
The Terminus of the Trail, Complete With Caboose
Once off the trail, I was in downtown Warrenton, such as it is. It’s a small town and a highway bypass has driven many of the local shops out of business. Still, the original county seat is there as is the Warren Green Hotel, whose claim to fame seems to be that General George McClellan said goodbye to his officers from the location in 1862, having been recently fired by Abraham Lincoln.
The Former Warren Green Hotel (Now An Office Building)
The Original Court House
After 34 miles, it was time for my mid-ride break. Now, a proper cyclist would take his break at an outdoor cafe, enjoying a cup of espresso. Sadly, there were no outdoor cafes in sight and I don’t like coffee. The Subway sandwich shop was my goal and I was disconcerted to learn it was closed for Easter. I made my way to the highway bypass and quickly spotted a McDonalds. Perfect.
Having dined on some of the finest fast food in Warrenton, I began the return journey, which would take me on a different route home through the village of Catlett. The breeze was now against me but I was enjoying the downhill route for eight miles. Then the downhill stopped, but the wind continued. Life was less fun at this point. Still, the views were great and I was enjoying the heat that was building up – the thermometer informed me it was well above 80 at this point.
The View West of Catlett
At Catlett, I crossed over Rte 28 and once again entered what I consider to be my “neck of the woods,” so to speak. At this point, I had covered almost 50 miles, the last 15 of which were against the wind. I had been pushing myself too hard – I guess I was acting like one of the horses I had been passing all day and was “smelling the barn” as I drew closer to home. I used up the last of my Gatorade and was left with luke warm water. At Mile 58 I pulled into a country store and bought some cold Gatorade. This was a wise decision and it made the rest of my trip tolerable.
I made it home in fair shape, though it must be said another 30 miles would have been challenging for me. I did a decent job at pacing and nutrition, but I’ll have to do even better in two weeks. Something to contemplate as the Cap2Cap Century draws near.
Finally, I will leave you with one last post card, in commemoration of Easter:
Historical Marker Segment!
There were a great many markers today, including two dedicated to Mr. Neavil’s ordinary and mill.
Nearby, we learn that Confederate General Jeb Stuart found himself in a predicament at this location in October, 1863. He cleverly attacked the Federals as they made their morning coffee (is nothing off-limits anymore?) and successfully escaped their clutches.
The Battle of Coffee Hill
And, of course, the location of Stuart’s bivouac the night prior is worthy of remembrance as well.
Stuart’s Bivouac – About 1/2 Mile From Coffee Hill
In Warrenton, the “Historic District” has several markers, including this one near the Warren Green Hotel.
The Warren Green
And finally, there is this marker, located next to Warrenton’s original Court House.