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[RC] OD - goearth

The start up to the Skyline Drive and down into the valleys meandering roads smelling the honey suckle in golden bloom is worth the price of the admission.  But then you cross slick highway 340 and there's policemen there to stop the 55 mph traffic and then you slip slop down this pavement to the Shenandoah  and the mist is up and its errie and surreal with the horse sweat and steam.  Follow the milk jugs closely as there are ridges out there that i wandered into one time and BayMar jumped and i came out of the saddle hanging on as he jumped and leaped across the river.  Stay close to the jugs.  The pace of the first check is fast and intense even if there's only 30 100's, theres 50's too,  Then you ride the roads to rock and climb and bugs and more rock.  The trail is at times good for moving out and other times its petulant.  Move when you can and walk those rock if you're not used to them and if you haven't trained on them, Pads would be recommended.  The climbs are beautiful and my favorite spot up on the Massautten is called Jacks Notch. A small saddle with a panoramic view.  The heat of the day and what about that humidity?  you never know cause it could be forgiving or it could be oppressing.  Stay in the shade and drink and sponge at every opportunity.  Shermans Gap is an eye-opener as it just goes on and on and higher and you done done 78 miles or so and if you're fast you'll get up in the light but most of us go up after dark and its good to have a buddy to tail or anything with.  The good news is you get to the Vet Check and get to cross the Shenandoah again.  Stay close to those lighted milk jugs.  And you get to retrace thru the honey suckles golden moonlight back country roads, and your whole perspective has changed because you think if you got this far you can do anything and the drug is potent.  You can do anything.  Crossing the last climb at the top of Skyline Drive you see stars you have never seen in a city and the decent is with caution as in the dark there are stones and culverts and road that can be cause for accident and you have come much to far to fall out at the end.  The finish you get to meet the Honorable Henry with his efficient time/video.  At the finish, i guarantee you will transcend a level of being you have never visited and you will always remember this day.  ts