2009 Tour of WV
With all the extra time there is from taking a break from the WVMBA racing scene, I managed to stir up a little tour. This one has been incubating for a couple of months. The all "new" rage across the country is stage racing, multiple day, costly productions, and there was a buzz going on for a Tour of West Virginia, and being a West Virginian I asked myself what would be MY ultimate tour of the Mountain State? Start it off at the 4863' high spot in the state and the boo-ya! Huckleberry/Allegheny combo. Then follow that the next day for the gnarly North Fork. Base both those from camp at Seneca Rocks - makes for a really nice weekend of a 100 miles and more trails than you can shake a stick at. Then think more days of equally high caliber trails, see what is close to ride, step up over to Canaan Valley to fit that trail bill. That is doable still. There is pesky little Wilderness Act, that likes to keep simple bicycles regulated to criminal activity, to skirt around in the Dolly Sods area. Connecting Canaan Valley SP to Blackwater SP is easy enough, when they include more Allegheny then Plantation, Davis, and Yellow Birch, you know, easy. Finish up in Elkins for day four with the Blackwater Canyon Rail Trail and Shavers Fork river road, dirt. All dreamy stuff – start flavoring it up with local eateries, at least 2 bike shops for unexpected repairs and/or overlooked needs, throw in some bikepacking, see what shakes loose.
Then the call; our favorite rambling rambelour rider e would be blowing through town from Denver and wanted to hit the KT. No You Don’t. I got this thing – plotted out a quick map my ride tentative route and pin-pointed some dates, sent out the word. The incubation period was over and was hatched, and then this thing took on a life of its own. The amount of time for just prep, not only physically but mentally, fretting over every little known and unknown details, packing unpacking repacking, was in scale of the rides that was be taken upon. For e its was just another week in e's world.
So that is what this Tour of WV came to be
to be continued...
Stepping Back (Day 1)
So much of what we do is mimicking others.
photo taken from The Tour Divide
The photo above oozes inspiration from yesteryear
photo Dave Layman
Seneca Rocks; With camp set up and breakfast prep - coffee, eggs, bacon and Joey's pastry-like French toast to fuel our journey we head out for our meandering ramble on the face of the Eastern Continental Divide. Pavement now leads all the way to the top, which really doesn't help anything but increase the speed of the fossil fueled vehicles that we must share the road. But the advantage of the ability to escape the cars and motosickles, for the rocks and roots that fall all the way down to Seneca Falls is why we are here.
The early Tour shakedown started on Lower Timber Ridge Road, with e on his simple fixed gear bike setting the lead out tempo way out in front, out of sight. The younger Dave kept it in check for bit before regrouping for water at the spring right before the Eastern overlook, Andy and J O E filled out the group. Onto the top of Spruce for the gratuitous tourist activity of being at the highest spot in WV.
This is not racing but there is a natural pecking order that needs to be established in just about any group. I try to stay out of that, but it is so easy/fun to get caught up in, when dirt is the game. Till someone gets hurt. It was just a little launch over the bars, but I was the first one to hug the rocks, some bruises, and scrapes. Laugh it off. Get that out of the way, I say. Get back in line. Do it again. A little further down the trail, a little more fresh scapage and a little more bruisage. I think it sinks in this time - I am out here for four days. Not only do I have to make it, but so does my bike. Got to get that in my head.
Pop up onto the Allegheny, blow past the spring on the Horton hiker. Cool temperatures and dark but dry threatening skies continued to push any sense of humidity away, so water refueling was not in high demand. Then I about rode over a fire pit in the trail. Other than that, just your normal seven hour ride. Dave pulls off for the homestead and four weary but happy riders return to base camp for a little salad, and our fill of burritos, pizza and beer. For tomorrow we ride!
day one photos
Tomorrow – Just Ahead
The Dream Begins (Day 2)
Day Two Agenda; coffee, breakfast, break base camp, load and run the shuttle. Fifteen miles of biking up to the North Mountain Trail through the remote Germany Valley. 25 miles of gnar gnar gnar. The working stiffs would finish up at the car at the end of the at the Smoke Hole, while e and me would restock and switch gears, if you will, for here on out we would be carrying most of our supplies and all our camping gear. This would be my shakedown ride, my first sleep over bike ride out in the woods. It was nice getting some advice and expertise in how to lead a fat hobo lifestyle. e has got his gear tight (he should tell you about it sometime), and he carried more than his share of the light load for the two of us.
Roll Call - just a little tardy
Beautiful day for a ride
taste of Autumn
with early season flavor
no need for concern
its all down hill
photo: Andy Cremeans
till we are two
off the map
e's take of the day
Slices of Trail Heaven (day3)
So I survived my first bivy night. I wasn't too worried, I had an emergency contingency plans in place, mostly in case of some solid rain. Basically involved boogying off the mountain. I really liked waking up in the very spot that you will be starting your ride and starting that ride from right in the woods. Today's start would be from the now-at-the-time <why did I type that? does it make any sense at all?> former WVMBA director's house JR Petsko. We made for some low maintenance guests, I guess. For we high tailed it for Sirianni's immediately after finding the JR's empty domicile, when we hit town at about 5 or so. That meal was the freakin high point of the whole tour. Seriously, that good. After that, I was a walking zombie in a food coma. Morning brought another couple of breakfasts (one to eat and one two go) from the Rise and Shine (or something like that) B&B.
primo deliciousness from up in the Canaan Valley to Davis, WV
or was that a dream?
Retreat (Day 4)
It is a pretty easy roll off from the town of Davis on the Blackwater Rail Trail. A welcome contrast to the previous three days of challenging trails. It is really all down hill to Hendricks then a little scoot over to Parsons. There we picked up Shavers River Road, an isolated dirt beauty up the Shavers Fork River. We didn't find our swimming hole, but the day was just a little brisk, so it wasn't missed. What was missed was another turn, so we ended up exiting on the Cheat River side of Elkins. Again not really a big deal - some new ground rolled on and good recon for a complete loop route (Spruce Knob is just 37 miles away from the rt 33 intersection).
So that wraps up our little adventure in the mountains of WVa. I was a really nice journey, the potential was there for some serious carnage, and we was lucky to make it out with just some cuts and bruises and one flat tire. The sensations that started settling in after we split up and was removed from the comfort and safety that the automobile can bring, was that unique euphoric feeling that I so search. It got to the point that I didn't really want to get back. I had everything I needed right with me and getting back to that car only defined getting back to reality. Most of the time I can do without all the reality. How 'bout you?
8/24/2009 Tour of WV commencement
I don’t believe it, that yeah, this one is going together. Gathering up an intimate group for what will be a staple of WV prime cut - the classic Spruce Knob and North Fork double header weekend. Then taking it up a notch into some unknown territory - hoping to creep into the Sods and sleep with da bears for one night (pending arrival of 1 Big Agnes’s Pitchpine). Some new stuff for me, sure, but I think I can keep us on track - living off the land, my friends, and a credit card. I will have a big bag and traveling light.
Friday 8/28 - Car drop in Elkins
Day 1. 8/29/2009 Spruce Knob, Huckleberry, High Meadows, Allegheny
Start and Finish at Little Princess Campground in Seneca Rocks. Food/fuel options onsite post ride, but probably will do some pre-cooked meal for convenience and predictability.
50 miles 8+ hrs. 10:00 AM ride time
Day 2. 8/30 Seneca Rocks, Germany Valley, Rt33, North Mountain Trail, Dolly Sods
Run shuttle vehicle(s) to Smoke Hole (store-yes/restaurant - maybe) for full tourer’s restock, and weekenders return to Seneca. Scenic Germany Valley road approach (never been) to North Mountain Trail to Smoke Hole. Bid our adieu’s for THE overnight bivy in the Sods. Jordan Run Rd and up FR19 (map is wrong). Also have Airstream camper available on Laneville Road on base of Mountain near Canaan Valley SP. Breakfast is not served at the restaurant in Seneca
52 miles 8+ hrs + another hour+ for the Sod finish. 9:00 AM ride time
Day 3. 8/31 Dolly Sods Wilderness - Canaan Valley SP – Allegheny – Plantation – Davis
Ride from the Sods to CVSP to Blackwater Falls SP. End in downtown Davis. Feed at Sirriani's. Overnight in Davis somewheres. ~25+ miles many options and different/sweeter routes off the mountain that I may or may not know about.
7:00 AM moseying time
Day 4. 9/1 Davis – Moon Rocks –Blackwater Rail Trail - Elkins
Hit Hoo-Do and Moon Rocks (guide?) before dropping off on the Blackwater Canyon Rail trail "not your typical rail trail" never been on it - heard it is awesome (for a rail trail), to Parsons w/lunch options or better yet, pac a Hell Benders Burrito in the bag . Shaver Fork dirt road to Elkins. 60 miles easy mostly along the twisty Shavers River.
9:30 ride time or when ever
Day 5. Elkins - Wednesday #14?
Added this in at the last minute, because it would be rude (and I guess we where rude) to leave a day before the Riddle’s weekly ride, even though that day off from work has not been sealed. Hell, I think I will ask for the whole week.
this map my ride is kinda like the ride
Barboursville FAT Tire Brethren
Beech Fork Association of Trails
bFAT is an informal group of riders who appreciate the land and ride for a healthy well being.
Beech Fork is mostly a single track trail that follows around the lake leading into a combination of creek bed, hill climb, and fast downhill back to the lake. Barboursville's Park has some nice runs from the top with numerous scenic overlooks from the sheer cliffs and steep drops. The flat single track that follows the river and comes out behind the lake - is where the real fun can begin or end. Click on the link at top of page - above left to see a map! The Kanawha Trace and Adahi Trails are 32 mile and 17 mile multi user trails crossing over private land. Check with the Tri-State Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America for trail information and registration.
bFAT email groupo<----click here Become a part of an e-group forum that will let all subscribers communicate (free!). Send an e-mail with the word "join" in the subject or body and you'll get hooked up with other riders, to do fun group rides, get trail info and conditions, technical advice, etc.
for more info administrator at bike bFAT