The Reston Century is in two weeks and today was no day to ease off on the miles.  So I rolled out of my driveway at 9:45 AM into 85 degree temps and 85% humidity.  Good times.  I wanted to stretch my distance a bit and decided to make for the small town of Midland, about 30 miles away.

The road to Midland.

The map indicates there isn’t much to see in Midland and the map was right.  There is a small airport, the view of which is frustratingly blocked by roadside trees.  I had accepted the fact that there would be nothing of interest on this route and this would simply be a pleasant ride through rural Virginia when I came across a small park, built in honor of Supreme Court Justice John Marshall.

John Marshal Park

Marshal was the longest-serving Supreme Court Chief Justice and fundamentally shaped the role of the court and therefore the US government.  He was born in this area in 1755.  His home is gone but there is a stone pyramid which marks the site, one half a mile down a nature trail which starts at the park.  The park itself is rather simple, with a parking lot for five cars and a couple of markers describing the site and Marshal’s contributions to the republic.  I didn’t travel down the path as it didn’t seem conducive to 23mm tires.  I was quickly on my way again to the heavily traveled Route 28 and a favorable tailwind for the next 12 miles.

In short order, I found myself back in Nokesville, then Bristow, then back home.  I focused on keeping my heart rate down early in the ride and eating something every 30 minutes.  This paid off as I had plenty of energy towards the end of the trip, even with temps well over 100 degrees.    I wish I placed equal emphasis on applying sunscreen.  Inexplicably, I neglected to use any on this trip and as I type these words I am regretting that decision.

Historical Marker Segment!

I was hopeful that I would find markers on Route 28, which is an older (pre-Civil War) road with ample opportunities for something historical on its path.  I wasn’t disappointed.  The first marker can be found outside Calverton, the first town north of Midland.  In keeping with the decidedly Southern perspective on these markers, the Confederates are mentioned in a positive light, even when they lose, as Mosby did at this place in 1863.  As a New Yorker, I was happy to learn the 5th NY Cavalry played a role in his demise on that day.  Since the sign won’t tell you, I am pleased to inform you that the 5th NY was commanded by Colonel John Hammond of Crown Point, NY.

The next town northward is Catlett and it is here we can find another Civil War marker.  This time, Mosby is the victor.  As a raider, he tended to run away when things got too hot, but that was his job so we won’t fault him for that.

The final marker was an interesting design.  Normally, these markers have the same writing on both sides.  However the marker at the county line has a different version on each side – one for Fauquier County and one for Prince William County.  As you can see, the Prince William side is in need of some gardening.  This is the first time I’ve come across a marker that couldn’t be read.

9 thoughts on “Midland

  1. The volunteer Rescue squad in Catlett hosted my companion and I on the second night of our tour.
    Glad you had a good ride. and it will be good to hear about your century ride.

    1. The Reston Century will be new ground for me. It starts on the W&OD Trail (which I have sampled) and heads NW to Purcellville (which I have not). Lots of hills up there, I believe.

    1. I’m glad you mention that, Tim. I was really surprised at how difficult it was for me to keep it down after the two-hour point. For the first 30 miles, it wasn’t too difficult to keep it around 135 bpm. Toward the end of the ride, I noticed I was at 145 bpm after a very long downhill coast. When I did manage to lower my rate, almost any effort would cause it to shoot into the 160s.

    1. I wish I could say it was a dry heat, but it wasn’t. Normally, I don’t like cycling against the wind, but on this day the breeze on the way out was most welcome!

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