Disclaimer: This recap of our 55-Mile Harpers Ferry Tri-State Tour contains affiliate links…

 

Three States, One Ride

After a fun ride last weekend with the Prince William Cycling Club, I decided to join the group once again, this time for a scenic ride from Leesburg to Harpers Ferry. About a dozen cyclist showed up for the ride, with Amy, my Dawn Patrol friend Kim, and I as the only three girls. When I asked our ride leader where the others from last week were, he jokingly replied that they were afraid of the hills… oh boy! I had noted that the elevation gain was nearly 3,000 feet, but I didn’t focus on that because, overall, the ride sounded awesome and I didn’t want to miss it.

After a few brief announcements and several reminders to bring a mask, we rolled out of the Maverick Bikes & Café parking lot just after 7:30 AM with an overcast sky and the temperature in the mid-50’s. I’ve learned that in cycling, like running, layering is the key in staying comfortable as I or the ambient air warms up.

From the name of the ride, it’s obvious that the highlight of the trip was seeing historical Harpers Ferry which is situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. Starting in Leesburg, Virginia, our ride took us along the W&OD Trail to its terminus where we turned onto country roads and rolled past farms, wineries, and forests. Once in Wild Wonderful West Virginia (I couldn’t turn my GoPro on in time to capture the sign), our focus was Harpers Ferry. From West Virginia, we rode through Maryland with our sights on a rest break at a must-see coffee shop in Brunswick, and from there we made our way home through the horse and hunt country of Middleburg, Virginia.

Advertised as a no drop ride, we learned that not everyone has the same definition of no drop. More on that later…

 

Ride Overview
  • • Ride Name: 55-Mile Harpers Ferry Tri-State Tour
  • • Location: Loudoun County, Virginia; Frederick and Washington Counties, Maryland; and Jefferson County, WV
  • • Start/Finish: Maverick Bikes & Café, Leesburg, VA
  • • Course Type: loop
  • • Distance: 56.06 miles
  • • Time: 4:03:33
  • • Average Speed: 13.8 MPH
  • • Elevation Gain: 2,982 feet
  • • Elevation Range: 260 to 720 feet
  • • Temperature Range: 48° to 75°
  • • Ride with GPS: Link to turn-by-turn navigation cue sheet
  • • Course Map:

55-Mile Harpers Ferry Tri-State Tour

 

Fun Pictures From Along the Way

With my GoPro (affiliate link) attached to the front of my bike, I shot video along the way. The following photos are a combination of still frames taken from the video and pictures I took with my phone while stopped.

Kim, Amy, and I just before go time…

 

Rolling through Loudoun County…

 

Within a mile or so of this location while riding about 25 MPH down a long hill, I suddenly heard someone shouting in my left ear something about four inches. At the same time, I noticed a silver SUV’s side mirror inches from me and when I looked over, the window was rolled down and a very angry 40-something man was screaming at me. I noticed he also drove closely to the riders who were already hugging the shoulder of the road in front of me. Unfortunately, my GoPro wasn’t running at the time…

When we came to a stop a half mile later, I quickly learned that the other riders had been buzzed and yelled at as well. We pulled into a service station parking lot to wait for the rest of our group and realized the SUV driver was parked on the other side. He suddenly pulled around right next to us and proceeded to yell some more. Our ride leader quickly told us to stop talking back which helped deescalate the situation and driver sped off in a huff.

 

My Roubaix Comp felt right at home on the cobblestone street in Harpers Ferry…

 

Stopping long enough for a group pic in Harpers Ferry…

55-Mile Harpers Ferry Tri-State Tour

Photo credit: Jeffrey

Potomac River…

55-Mile Harpers Ferry Tri-State Tour

 

Photo shenanigans, and yes, that’s the same guy who photo bombed us in our pre-ride photo. LOL

 

Quick selfie…

55-Mile Harpers Ferry Tri-State Tour

 

We had to roll our bikes while on the bridge crossing the Potomac. I’m sure that’s what slowed my average speed down so much, not the hills. 😉

 

View from the bridge…

55-Mile Harpers Ferry Tri-State Tour

Photo credit: Amy

Once across the bridge, we had to carry our bikes down the stairs to get to the C&O Canal Towpath.

 

View from the towpath…

55-Mile Harpers Ferry Tri-State Tour

Photo credit: Amy

And finally, we had to carry our bikes up the stairs to the street to resume our ride. I was glad I was on my road bike and not my heavier gravel bike!

 

Back on a wide variety of road types…

 

Amy rolling into Brunswick, MD…

 

Our ride leader recommended that even if we didn’t plan to buy something to eat or drink, we should definitely go into the coffee shop to check it out. Located in an old church, Beans in the Belfry is a quaint café that’s a must see when in the area.

The line for coffee was long with only one barista working so it took longer than expected for those getting coffee. As soon as the last person in our group exited with their coffee or food, our leader announced that it was time to roll. A few riders shoved their food down their throats while chugging coffee, but others did not.

With the course map GPS loaded onto my Garmin, I agreed to stay with those still eating. I was not expecting to be responsible for finding my way home without our leader and this is where my definition of no drop differs from his…

 

Back on the road, our group of eleven had dwindled to the four of us stragglers. We immediately got confused on a traffic circle rolling around it a couple of times until we got on the right path. At another point, we stopped because my GPS showed us turning right on a gravel road which seemed odd. Ends up, it took us on a very short and unnecessary triangular detour costing us valuable time. Our leader would have known the right route in both situations, but alas, by now the rest of the group was way ahead.

 

Once back in Waterford, we were on familiar roads…

 

As we rolled out of Waterford, I came close to bonking. I had failed to fuel when we stopped earlier, so I popped a Honey Stinger gel followed by a couple of chews (affiliate links) which hit my blood stream quickly and put some pep back in my step.

 

As we approached the W&OD Trail we decided it would be quite crowded at that time of day so we took a road back into Leesburg. By now I felt quite strong again and had a blast flying down Dry Mill Road – Strava shows I hit a PR on the descent.

 

We arrived back at the parking lot about five minutes after the rest of the group who were still hanging out waiting for us. They’d ridden slower expecting us to catch up, but with us going off course twice, it didn’t happen.

 

Garmin Stats

Post-ride Garmin (affiliate link) picture…

 

Garmin map and graphs…

55-Mile Harpers Ferry Tri-State Tour

 

Final Thoughts on the Ride

I had a great time on this ride and definitely want to do it again. I loved the changes in scenery going from country roads to rolling through quaint little towns, and appreciated not being on large parkways and boulevards. I really want to do this ride with Bill and would love to do it during peak leaf time which is this coming weekend…

 

Questions:
  • • Have you been to Harpers Ferry?
  • • What does no drop mean to you?
  • • Cyclists, have you been harassed by car or truck drivers?

 

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.