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Club news

The Greenbrier Valley and the Highland Scenic Highway

I’m buzzing along at better than 40 miles an hour and getting tired of the downhill! Now most down hills seem way too short- I’ve hardly caught my breath before I get another chance to blow up again on the next climb. But here on the Highland Scenic Highway in central West Virginia the fast parts of the ride may be excessive. You’ll have to watch your speed as rates of close to 50 mph are possible. This road has much to offer: a near perfect surface, beautiful scenery, and very little traffic.


Because the Forest Service doesn’t plow this road in the winter there are almost no blemishes or bumps. The crest reaches about 4500 ft. The hills and curves are gradual, allowing you to cruise with near abandon. The entire Highway is 43 miles, from Richwood to Rt. 219 north of Marlinton, but I find the best stretch to be the 22 miles from Rt. 39 north to 219. The complementary part from the Visitor Center to Richwood gets much more traffic.


There are, of course, a few “catches”. There are no real supplies and few services along the highway. You’ll need to carry all of your food and enough water to get you to the Cranberry Mountain Visitor Center on the south end of the route. I suggest an out and back ride. If you’re not sure how far you want to go, starting at the VC is probably your best bet. I recently rode the Highway and started at the north end, beside Rt. 219, so that I could use the VC to restore my fluids. There are no services along the ride except for odiferous pit toilets, so carry what you need. The Visitor Center is most helpful, with a few snacks, books, maps, knowledgeable staff and nice exhibits on local natural history, including one of the best collections of live snakes anywhere.


There are also innumerable opportunities for other activities in and around the Monongahela National Forest. The short but rigorous hike to the falls of Hills Creek is well worth the effort. I just tried the Cowpasture Trail for an hour plus, very damp mountain bike ride and enjoyed a long, gradual trail run on the Middle Fork Trail along the Williams River. Pocahontas County claims to be the birthplace of rivers, with eight rivers finding their headwaters there. There are beautiful spots to fish and camp along the rivers. Marlinton is a good place for a basecamp with its restaurants, lodging, and outfitters.


A short drive provides more options. The terrific Greenbrier River Trail goes a scenic and gradual 78 miles from Cass to North Caldwell. It has become my favorite rails-to-trails example. You can walk, bike, paddle, or horseback ride along this pathway. State parks like Beartown, Droop Mountain, and Watoga are all close and offer unusual geology, history, and recreation. If you want higher tech, try the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, with the largest movable radio telescope in the world. Lewisburg, to the south, was recently named the “Coolest Small Town in the U.S.” and offers unusual shopping and dining. My wife and I recently enjoyed live music beside Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg.


Stay safe,
Ray Legge


Insensible Water Loss

We just had a stretch of super-hot days that were called “heat advisory days” by the weather reporters. Cycling on such days can be difficult and even dangerous if hydration isn’t priority number one. We all understand that water is lost through sweating on such days but there is little mention of the other type of insensible water loss. When we inhale on hot dry days, the inhaled air is humidified to 100% relative humidity at body temperature by the time it gets to the air sacs of the lungs. Then, when we exhale, the water used to accomplish that task is lost to the environment. This process does not account for as much water loss as sweating, but think of how many times you exhale on a 60 or 70 mile ride. Here is an article on hydration for cyclists from Bicycling.com.


-Dave Albecker


Club Officers and 2016

There has been much talk in the club administration about turning over the duties of the club to the “next generation”. Almost everyone in the club administration has been at this for some time. Nomination for club officers will occur in October of 2015, with election of officers happening at the annual club banquet dinner. This year, the banquet will happen on the second week in November (the 9th) so it does not interfere with the Christmas season.


As in recent years, the banquet will be held at Winchester Country Club. The meal has been arranged by Ed Duncan and the evening will be directed by Ed and Robert Golightly.


So far, the following officer positions will be vacant for the 2016 season: President, Treasurer, and Secretary. Those respective positions are currently held by Shawn Carrico, Nancy Jo Carrico, and Charmaine Shaw. The only remaining position and the one without change is Vice President, held by Jason Tresidder.


If you are interested in holding an officer position, please speak with a current officer and understand the duties. No position is too taxing, but they do require meeting attendance and some small action each month.
We’ve seen other clubs in the region exist for years without a full complement of officers. This is a mistake. Please help and step up to support your club.

Thanks! - Ed.






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