66.7mi, 9340ft vert, 4:09hrs
Today we had Reids Gap for breakfast, Tye River Gap via Montebello for brunch, and Tye River Gap from Vesuvius for lunch. Hitting Reids first thing early in the morning was a rude way to shock hungover legs back into action. My low gear is 38x27, and this is not nearly low enough for a spinner like me. I was in that gear the whole way up, out of the saddle much of the time. My legs surprisingly felt better than yesterday morning, so I lit this climb up pretty good.
Reid's, Brent, Tye River (both ways)
After regrouping, we bombed down the other side of Reids Gap past Wintergreen Resort. Broke 50mph here. Most of these descents get you going that fast, but some are downright risky. We picked up Rt 151 south, heading over Brent Gap. This mini-gap gains over 600ft moderately steep with long run-out on other side. We took Rt 666 (with church on the corner) across to Rt 56 to begin the Tye River Gap climb from the east. When we popped out on 56, we screwed up hitting Pharsalia Rd next. We went in the upper side and popped out on the lower side, so we had to re-ride a portion of Rt 56 again. Pharsalia Rd rolled through vineyards, blooming orchards, and pastures. It was barely a lane wide and the wide open scenery with BRP ridgeline high above was incredible.
Looking west from roughly mile 22 on BRP
Once back on Rt 56, we had many miles of gradual climbing before getting to the meat of the climb. About 2-3 miles of this rises at 8-9% grade. At first it is rolling. Tom and I rolled away from Brett and Mark here. Tom hammered each short wall, and I had to work to regain his wheel when it would level off or dip. Eventually, it stays steep for two miles, and I was able to roll Tom off my wheel. I thought I pretty much blew myself on Reid's Gap, but my legs were still firing. I hadn't planned to hit this one so hard too. The general store in Montebello was a welcome sight. We stopped to refuel here, despite it not being the summit at the BRP. But it did conclude the persistent steep grade. There aren't that many options to refuel out here, so you take what you get. We were spread out over several minutes coming to the store and soaked. It was very hot on this side of the ridge.
Switchbacks on Brent Gap
We went easy the rest of the way to the BRP. Brett and Mark were content calling it a ride at this point and headed back to our cabin along the BRP. Tom and I descended down the other side of Tye River Gap to Vesuvius. This was last major climb in the area I hadn't done yet. We descended it yesterday. I am now quite fond of this descent. It is very technical in that it is steep with numerous blind curves. An error here will no doubt result in catastrophe. After spinning our legs out at the bottom for a bit, Tom and I headed right back up the way we just came down.
This climb nearly killed me. It's also very steep, probably 8-9% for the last couple miles. My tired legs had trouble turning the 38x27 gear. Once back up top, we had a few rolling climbs on the parkway before many miles of descent back to the cabin.
Finishing Reid's Gap climb from our cabin on west side
The rain held off until late afternoon, hours after we finished riding. We really lucked out on ideal riding conditions this week. Tom and Mark come here often around this time of year and sometimes hit cold, wet weather. I've used only summer riding clothes. I'm humbled riding with these guys. Each has infinitely more knowledge and racing experience than I. Tom Luzio (18th/45+) and Mark Luzio (8th/50+) both placed well at US Nationals last year. Tom's (Deno's Wonder Wheel) and Mark's (Cycle Fitness) teams have some of the region's strongest masters riders. I'm learning much.
Tomorrow will be a short day, as Brett and I have to leave in the morning for a 10hr drive back home. Brett and I plan to summit Wintergreen Mtn, a 3000ft climb as part of a short ride. Tom and Mark will go longer.