Leesylvania State Park

Today’s ride was not for the meek.  The temperature warmed to a little over freezing and winds were gusting over 35 mph.  On a day this cold, I’d ordinarily go for a run or find an excuse to sit about the house.  Since the winter has been so mild this year, I felt obligated to get in at least one “freezing weather” ride.  So with the wind chill near 24 degrees, I bundled up and headed out on one of my rare forays east of Route 1.

The flags of the USA, Virginia, and Prince William County snapping in the wind over Garfield Police Station

If you consider that water tends to be at the lowest nearby point, you will quickly discern from the map that my initial route took me downhill.  Those nasty winds were coming from the northwest, meaning they were at my back as well.  Yippee.  With almost no effort, I was averaging 19.5 mph when I reached the stop light at Route 1.  Of course, I would be paying for this enjoyment later, but lets not rush the story.

Traces of ice indicate the temperature

Leesylvania State Park was much as I left it 13 months ago when I last visited.  There were a few brave souls out for hikes and one person towing his boat from the storage area.  I can only imagine what he was hoping to accomplish in this weather.  I pulled to a stop near the boat launch and took some pics of the water.  I couldn’t see anyone else on the shore or in the water.  During the summer, I would be sharing this view with a few thousand people.  I tried to appreciate that fact while not concerning myself with the question, “what do those several thousand people know which you don’t?”

On my way out, I paused to take some pics of a grand railroad bridge across Powells Creek where it joins the Potomac River.  You can see the railroad line on the map at the top of this post.  It’s the major line along the East Coast, carrying commuters from points South up to DC.  It also handles Amtrak routes from Florida to Maine.

Good Times

Rather than simply returning on the route I started on, I opted to explore Powells Landing, which is presumably named after the same Mr. or Mrs. Powell as Powells Creek.  I could confirm none of this as the history of the place seems to be a well kept secret, both online and in the immediate area.  I did learn that Powells Creek is part of a watershed that runs through Lake Montclair (where I live), Lake Terrapin, and all the way past the county landfill.  It is reportedly one of the most virbrant natural wetlands in all of Northern Virginia.  So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.

I pedaled toward a street with the hopeful name of Panorama Drive, but found it to be a bit of a misnomer.  There were glimpses of the creek and the same railroad bridge, but it was hardly “panoramic.”  I had traveled 14 miles at this point and the cold was beginning to seep into me.  It was time to go home.

Uphill.

Against the wind.

Let me just say for the record that riding uphill for six miles against a steady 25 mph wind with gusts around 35 mph on a freezing day was not enjoyable for me.  I was pleased to be done with this ride.  Although it was only 20 miles long, it felt harder than many 40 milers I have done.

Calendar Contest Update!  Thank you very much to those of you who have “liked” my photos in the Revolutions Bicycle Store calendar contest.  As of this writing, my top three pics (all with 20 “likes”) are in 6th place.  There are seven photos within striking distance, so the issue remains in doubt.  Voting continues until Wednesday, so if you’re inclined to vote and demonstrate to the entire world that we are incredibly awesome people, I’d be obliged.  You can vote here, and my pics are 100 through 104.

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17 thoughts on “Leesylvania State Park

  1. I had the same thought today–go out when the weather is bad, just as a matter of fairness, almost. We have been awfully lucky this winter. And the conditions are identical here in Maryland–very windy and very cold.

    But fortunately I was delayed by various obligations until it was too late to do anything, and then I saw your post, which cemented my decision as having been right. Plus, if I were to go out now, I’d just be copy-catting, and that would be wrong. Thanks for taking one for the team!

    • My pleasure! Although misery does love company, so it would have been quite enjoyable to learn of your trials and tribulations as well. That’s ok – it’s your turn next time!

    • Thanks, Fizz. I’d like to try my hand at writing a post about the lazy days of Summer, but I suppose I will need to continue wringing a few more plot lines out of the dreary days of Winter.

  2. It was brutal out there today. I know we’ve had it easy this winter, but today was a bona fide winter day. Since I picked up my bike today, there was no way I wasn’t going to go out for at least a short ride. My fingers are definitely not happy with me.

    Your calendar shots are very nice!

    • Congratulations on the new bike – it looks fantastic! Now you need to bundle up for Winter. This is actually a good time to make some purchases as winter clothes will be on sale soon.

  3. Sounds like you were out in the same mess we were, although I expect it was about 10 degrees cooler up there. It is days like these that make the calm of the late spring seem perfect. We’ll be there soon enough.

  4. Glad you put some miles in today. Loved the shots by the water in today’s post. Finally, I got over to facebook to vote. Great shots by everyone.

    • Except for the telltale signs of ice, it actually looks quite pleasant by the water, doesn’t it? 🙂

      There are definitely some excellent pics in the photo album.

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