McGrath Road

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“You must be freaking cold,” my wife said to me when I returned after a two hour pedal on a day which featured strong winds and 40-degree temps

“I am,” I replied, “but not as much as you might think.”  Fortunately, I chose my clothing wisely and managed to stay relatively comfortable out in the elements, although my nose dripped like a leaky faucet and I can honestly state there are few things I enjoy less when cycling then cycling into a strong headwind.  If I were to undertake a tour, one of the first things I would do is check the prevailing winds.  There is NO WAY I would head into those winds (I’m looking at you, Spokie!).  15 miles is long enough – days of that punishment would drive me mad.

But it was all good training as I took advantage of another day off work.  My mileage is now got me on pace for 8,212 miles this year!  And this is the last time you will see me make this computation as I return to work tomorrow and my mileage totals will drop to more predictable levels.

I try to do some exploring on every ride and today’s goal was to check out McGrath Road, a side road just north of Lake Jackson which I have pedaled past about 100 times without venturing down it.  I’ve never traveled that road since it leads to nowhere – or does it?  Sometimes interesting things lay at the end of such roads and I decided to check this one out.  “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” was my motto.

There was nothing interesting.

Still, there were some excellent hills which helped me to over 1,200 feet of climbing for the ride.  Not bad.  I’m always on the lookout for steep climbs as mountains are in short supply along the Potomac River.  The route is forested with many secluded homes along the way – some rather new and some rather old.

I spotted an interesting home overlooking the north bank of Lake Jackson and surreptitiously rode partway up the drive to take this picture.  I didn’t dare go any further as trespassing is taken more seriously by some than others and I did not know where the owner of this house fell on that spectrum.  The view from this hilltop must be excellent and the architecture is quite fetching, in my humble opinion.  It is built in the colonial style but I suspect it is nowhere near that old.

On my way home, I was almost hit by another car in almost the exact same place as in yesterday’s ride.  This time a minivan was pulling out of a cul-de-sac and simply never saw me in the road.  I was able to lay my hand on the back of the vehicle as we nearly occupied the same space.  Again, there was no real danger as the van was moving slowly and I easily avoided it, but jeesh, enough of this already!

10 thoughts on “McGrath Road

  1. I am so jealous of how much you are getting to ride. I am in Alaska and riding is out of the question. I have made Mike promise to take me to the beach when I get home for some LONG rides around the different beaches. Can’t wait! 😀 In the mean time — spin some wheel time for me! 😀

    • Nothing interesting, but if nothing else it added to my understanding of the topography of the county. It also gave me a reason to travel 26 miles on a cold and windy day, which was its chief benefit.

  2. Nice ride! Winds are definitely more of an enemy than cold weather for me! I’d love to go out for a ride – if only the snow would stop & the ice would melt!!!!

  3. The ability to explore is one of the things I am really looking forward to when I get my bike. You can only go so far on a work day walk. Yesterday was a biting reminder that it is actually winter here in NoVA. My cheeks stayed bright red for quite a while.

    • Along with significantly fewer lower leg injuries, seeing new things is one of the biggest advantages to cycling over running, IMHO. I’m already looking forward to next weekend, when forecasted temps will once again be in the 50s!

  4. Drivers around here were out of wack the entire last two weeks of December. I attributed it to being off schedule and out of their normal routines and elements. I had to stop or slow down for more cars in that two week span than I normally do in two months.

    • That’s a pretty good theory, Tracy. I also don’t think drivers are looking for cyclists in cold weather. Here’s hoping everyone returning to their normal routine settles things down a bit.

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