Today’s ride: Storming of Thunder Ridge is a challenge ride out of Lynchburg, Virginia. There are several distances to ride, including 100 miles, 75 miles, 45 miles and 21 miles. The two longest rides climb the Blue Ridge Parkway to the top of Thunder Ridge. This is a 13 mile climb, with a rest stop after 7 miles of climbing. The reality of climbing 13 miles is that you’re literally climbing for over 2 hours. The remainder of the ride includes descents off the ridge and some rolling terrain with short, sharp climbs. It is a good ride that is well supported. If you want to climb, or challenge yourself, Storming Thunder Ridge is an excellent ride, and an experience that you shouldn’t miss.
The Experience: This year was cool and damp. It had an effect on me, and as we got started, it was quite cold for Mid-May, and the forecast called for rain. The first 25 miles before the climb were rolling, and made an excellent warm up for the big climb ahead. At the base of the climb, it was cold, and rain began. I was climbing steadily, but I was feeling some pain in my achilles tendon. At the midway point, I was hurting, but I was determined to make it to the top. By the top, I was in pain. Coming down while in pain would not have been safe, and having gotten to the top, I felt that it was wise to end my ride there. I rode with friends the entire way up, but there was no safe way down. I got a ride back to the start. It was difficult, but I made the climb, and I can always hope that next year will be warmer. It took several days to rid myself of the pain, but the experience of that climb was important. It’s what I came for, and I got it.
Selections from my mental iPod during the ride: “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley and the Wailers.
Stats: 38 Miles ridden, with a major climb. A hard day, but a good experience.
At the top of the Ridge. Left to right – Rita Spence, Ron Tripp, and Myself.