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Initiated by Hills
During the previous few Saturday rides, I was teased and told that sooner or later I’d have to climb the Taylorstown and Stumptown Hills located just 4 miles apart in northwestern Loudoun County. Apparently, they’re legendary in the local riding circle because I’d already heard about them from my husband Bill and friend Chuck. In fact, they’re located just after mile 61 on the Reston Century course so I’m sure those hills are well know beyond our circle of cycling friends.
Our ride to tackle those hills started at 7:30 AM in Purcellville, VA next to the terminus of the W&OD Trail. Another group had been invited to join us so we had 14 riders altogether. The sky was overcast and the temperature was about 68° when we rolled out of the parking lot. The 37-mile loop around northwestern Loudoun County was incredibly scenic with rolling hills flanked on either side by farms with cattle and horses.
Both the Taylorstown and Stumptown hills are considered class 4 hills – I didn’t even realize hills were rated until after the ride. I may have slowed to a near crawl, but I didn’t have to dismount and do the walk of shame while pushing my bike to the top. Of course, what goes up, must come down and we we were treated to a speedy descent on the back sides. Strava says I was going 40.3 MPH at one point, but my Garmin (affiliate link) only shows 39.4 as my fastest speed. Strava pulls its information from my Garmin so I’m not sure why the difference. Whatever the case, it was incredibly fun and somewhat terrifying flying down so fast.
As we topped the final hill, I asked if climbing those hills had been a sufficient initiation into the group and was told that indeed it had been and I was officially a member of Dawn Patrol.
- • Ride Name: 37-Mile Taylorstown and Stumptown Hills Bike Tour
- • Location: Loudoun County, Virginia
- • Start/Finish: W&OD Trail Terminus Parking Lot, Purcellville, Virginia
- • Course Type: loop
- • Distance: 37.29 miles
- • Time: 2:27:53
- • Average Speed: 15.1 MPH
- • Elevation Gain: 2,224 feet
- • Hills: 2 x class 4
- • Elevation Range: 249 to 692 feet
- • Temperature Range: 64° to 75°
- • Ride with GPS: Link to turn-by-turn navigation cue sheet
- • Ride with GPS Course Description: Road loop starting at Magnolia’s at the Mill in Purcellville, Mountain Road to Lovettsville Road, Taylorstown, Stumptown Road, Waterford, Hamilton Station Road, and back via W&OD
- • Course Map:
Fun Pictures From Along the Way
Once again, a special shoutout goes to my husband Bill for capturing the following images with his GoPro (affiliate link). My Garmin mount on my new bike has a GoPro mount underneath so I need to remember to bring my own camera or at least pull out my phone and take a few pictures when we’re stopped.
Our group grew to 14 cyclists this week!
I would crash if I tried this, but I’m thankful for the pictures!
We had an overcast sky for most of the ride which kept the temperature down.
Post-ride Garmin picture…
Garmin map and graphs…
Taylorstown is the first huge climb at 20.5 miles into the ride and at one point reaching an 11.9% grade. Stumptown is the second hill at 24.7 miles and maxes out at 10.1% grade. Taylorstown was just over a mile long and Stumptown was a little less than a mile.
Final Thoughts on the Ride
I really had fun on this ride. Each week I’m a little more comfortable riding in a group, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that seeing so many people starting out together made me a little nervous. I fully expected the younger cyclists to pull way ahead leaving us in the dust, but for the most part we stayed pretty close together.
The hills did separate us a bit which only inspires me to become an even stronger climber. As we ascended the second big hill, one of the guys said to me as he pulled even and eventually passed, “This isn’t a race, it’s a tour.”
- • What are your thoughts on riding downhill fast? ~ I started out extremely cautious, but I’m getting more brave. Still, I’m usually passed on the downhills.
- • Do you sometimes find discrepancies between your Garmin, Garmin Connect, and Strava; or whichever watch and apps you use?
- • Could you take a picture with a selfie stick while riding? ~ No way, nor can I pull out my water bottle to take a drink while riding.
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