Disclaimer: This recap of our 30-Mile Tour de Ashburn contains affiliate links…
A Little Backstory: Forming a Cycling Club
While out on a solo early morning ride in late July I mentally went through my list of friends who I could have cajoled into riding with me. Betsy, my regular weekday riding friend, wasn’t available that week and my weekend cycling buddies rode on mornings when I was with early clients. As I turned to make the lonely trip home, an idea sprang into my head, “Why not form a women’s cycling club?”
Immediately upon returning home, I created just that, a women’s cycling club. I invited twelve of my running friends who cross train by cycling to join and I phrased the group’s description in a way not to scare off my running buddies…
“This group was created for cycling enthusiasts or those simply biking for cross-training purposes. If you’re looking for a riding partner, post the date, time, and location where you plan to start your ride and hopefully you’ll find a friend to join you. Let’s roll!”
Our little Facebook group of 12 has already grown to 23 as members added friends and others randomly found us.
New Friends, Completely Different Kind of Course
Fast forward to this past Friday evening when someone in the group asked about a possible ride over the weekend. I sprang into action and asked if anyone could ride on Sunday morning at 8 AM and found two other interested participants, Amy and Mary. Both said they’d prefer riding roads to the W&OD Trail and Amy purposed a Ride with GPS route she’d seen.
The route took us all around Ashburn in eastern Loudoun Country where roads are wide open and parkways far outnumber narrow country roads. Just as I had gotten used to riding on twisty narrow roads, a new curve was thrown my way. One doesn’t grow without tackling new situations and I was up for the challenge!
I rode from my home on the W&OD Trail to where our ride would be starting feeling a little nervous that I was getting in over my head; however, I kept reminding myself that it was early on a Sunday morning and traffic would be relatively light.
It was 68° as I rolled into Smith’s Switch Station to meet my new friends. We made quick introductions, shared our cycling experience, and discussed our course. It was close to 8:30 as we headed away from the W&OD Trail for our cycling group’s first official ride. Of the three of us, I knew the area the best, but I was the only one without Ride with GPS on my phone. It was truly a group effort as we made our way along the course.
After leaving Smith Switch Station, our Tour de Ashburn took us past planned communities, schools, and shopping centers – on repeat. As we rode along I reminisced about going on long runs while exploring twenty years ago, and at that time, most of the area that planned communities now cover were farms with modest little country houses dotting the landscape. At that time, it wasn’t unusual to stop in someone’s front yard and refill my water bottle from their outdoor hose.
Not too far from the finish we rode through Old Ashburn which could have all of the charm of a 1950’s street with its well manicured lawns framing old Victorian houses and farm houses; however, with one brick rambler and three modern office buildings mixed in, it sends mixed messages. The most notable establishment along Ashburn Road in Old Ashburn is Carolina Brother’s BBQ, a favorite of both W&OD Trail users and local residents.
- • Ride Name: 30-Mile Tour de Ashburn
- • Location: Loudoun County, Virginia
- • Start/Finish: Smith’s Switch Station on the W&OD Trail
- • Course Type: 3 loops connected by straightaways
- • Distance: 30 miles (36 miles including riding to and from the start)
- • Time: 2:21:45
- • Average Speed: 15.2 MPH
- • Elevation Gain: 1,109 feet
- • Elevation Range: 138 to 388 feet
- • Temperature Range: 63° to 100° (Garmin was confused, the high of the day was 82°)
- • Ride with GPS: Link to turn-by-turn navigation cue sheet
- • Course Map:
Fun Pictures From Along the Way
Obligatory pre-ride selfie of our cycling club’s first organized ride!
I attached my GoPro (affiliate link) to the front of my bike and captured the following pictures. Unfortunately, I didn’t turn it on until the later part of our ride so I didn’t capture any of the wide open parkways.
We got off course a couple of times, but each time we were able to get back on course without having to turnaround for a do-over. Looking back at the map, I had no idea how far off-course we were at around mile 17 when we turned left a little too early and ended up riding for about two miles on a much narrower road than planned (see photo below). We stayed parallel to our planned route so we didn’t really add any distance to our ride.
Entering Old Ashburn…
W&OD Crossing at Carolina Brother’s Pit BBQ…
Rolling through an intersection…
The only bike lane we encountered stretched about two miles…
After the ride we hung out for a while, but before we headed home we had someone take a post-ride picture for us.
Post-ride Garmin (affiliate link) picture…
Garmin map and graphs…
The high of the day was 82° so I have no idea where 100° came from…
Final Thoughts on the Ride
As I mentioned, the multi-lane roads were new to me after riding on less traveled and mostly narrow country roads or the W&OD Trail. I never felt unsafe during the ride, but I was a little unnerved the few times I had to cross over two lanes to get into a left turn lane. I have trouble seeing behind me because my range of motion for twisting to look over my shoulder is limited when I’m on my bike because I’m afraid I’ll lose my balance if I twist too far. It’s definitely something I need to work on.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous and it was fabulous being outside while making new friends. I really enjoyed my ride and it certainly seemed like Amy and Mary did as well. I’m sure we’ll be taking to the roads together again soon, and hopefully next time, more from our club will be able to join us!
- • Do you prefer riding roads or trails?
- • Do you prefer riding with others or alone?
- • Do you think spin bikes are as boring to cyclists as treadmills are to runners?
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on the blue product link and then make a purchase, I will receive a small commission for referring you. You will pay no more or less for the product; however, Amazon will show their gratitude for my referral by paying me.