Saturday, May 29, 2010

My favorite training ride

After riding a lot around Blacksburg in the past month or two, I’ve decided that my favorite place to ride is in the Ellet Valley.  It’s really beautiful, wide open, and rolling hills without any huge climbs (except to get back into town).  You just sort of go down a hill really fast and most of the time your momentum will push you up the next hill with minimal effort.  That’s my sort of riding.  A couple of days ago I rode about 50 miles down in the Valley for the last time until all of us ride into Blacksburg next Sunday.  003

As soon as I was 5 miles away from my house it started to rain.  Of course.  So for the first time I donned my rain jacket and pants for a ride.  I hadn’t given it much thought beforehand but WOW is raingear not fun to wear while riding.  I shelled out an extra couple of bucks for “nicer” stuff that is supposed to wick moisture away from your body while keeping you dry.  It’s definitely waterproof, but after sweating for an hour I think my clothes were as wet as they would have been if I were wearing no rain gear at all.  That probably sounds pretty disgusting.  It was.   I hope it never rains. 


Another old house I thought looked cool.


There are lots of cemeteries along Mount Tabor Road.  This is a good time to point out that I only stop to take pictures if I’m at the top of a hill or on flat land.  I can’t be bothered by anything that’s on an uphill or a downhill.  I can’t lose my momentum! 

008 Do you think they just buried everyone here?


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This is a cool tunnel that you get to ride through.  It’s only one lane.  Scary!




These are my favorite signs to see when I ride.  It means exactly what you’d think- the property will never be developed into houses, a Wal-Mart, or anything.  A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement that allows a landowner to permanently limit the type and amount of development on their property while retaining private ownership.  It’s one of several legal tools that urban planners can use to curb sprawl and development.  Right now I wouldn’t say that anywhere in the Ellet Valley is in immediate danger of being developed into anything but it’s nice to know that these fields and mountains will stay natural “forever”.   It’s obviously piecemeal because the landowners have to voluntarily work with the Virginia Land Trust in obtaining the easement, but most of the parcels are big enough to hopefully make a difference.  Virginia Beach used another method to try to stop sprawl; the urban growth boundary.  The City literally drew a line, called the “Green Line” horizontally across the map and decided that high density development should only occur in the northern half- hence Pungo, etc.  Do you think it’s working?  Is there any way to actually stop sprawling commercial and residential development?  Should we even bother?  Those are your urban planning questions to ponder for the long weekend. 

In other news, I leave tomorrow at noon for Yorktown.  That means that tonight I have to do laundry and pack everything I think I’ll need for the next two months into a small backpack.  I heard that you should “pack everything then take half of it out.”  I usually pack pretty light.  I hope I don’t go overboard.  How do you guys feel about jumpers?  Like the outfits that babies wear.  Apparently they’re in (?) for grown-ups now and I bought a couple because they’re comfortable and it’s a top and bottom in one!  You can’t get easier than that.  I’m going to look like an idiot, oh well.  I’m also going with the soap/body wash/shampoo/conditioner all in one stuff which is sure to leave my hair looking beautifully frizzy for the summer.  Good thing I’ll be wearing a helmet most of the time.

Since I’m procrastinating because packing looks to be really daunting, I think I’m going to go on a quick hour long ride.  Just to keep the blood flowing.   After that the next time I ride will be for 60 miles!  Yikes!

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