Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My WV List: #14 The Climbs

When I came to WV, I had one bike.  And it had those strange pointy things sticking off it.

And I hated climbing.  I liked blasting along at 25 mph on the flat and straight.

A lot.

I'm from VT, and I thought I knew what "hilly" meant.

I didn't.

Unless you're from the big mountains of the west, you won't find better climbing than here in WV.  I'm convinced of that.

I wouldn't have believed it though, if I hadn't come here myself.

Straight out of the one day European classics, the steep, narrow roads twist and pitch through the rhododendron covered ridges and valleys of Appalachia.

It's amazing.

And it's not just here in WV, but the surrounding area as well.  Both PA and MD both contain pitches that defy imagination.

Mapletown.  Break Iron.  Mile Climb.  Quarry Run.  Big Savage Mountain.

Why try and list them all.  Or even most of them. There's too many.

And Sugarland takes the cake.

Not to mention all the off-road insanity that exists at places like Coopers Rock.

But my two favorites?

Mud Pike and Wymps Gap.

Today, I did both in 1 ride.  Finally.

I poured a bottle out at the top of Wymps, a tribute.  I Love it.  Gazing down towards the quarry, I got butterflies in my stomach, and I had to clear my throat a few times.  I will miss this place.

Wymps is so hard.  It's the constant illusion that gets me...that just around that next bend, it might relent, and I can get out of my largest cog.

And on the opposite side, I found one of my favorite spots in WV- Lake-o-Woods.

It was the first real climb I ever did in the area.

And one of the reasons I can no longer say, "I'm not a climber".

Let it not be my last.