Disclaimer: This recap of Deb’s 63-Mile LoCo Birthday Tour contains affiliate links…
I’m Barely Older Than a Metric Century
Back in the fall after I completed my first metric century, it dawned on me that if I could ride 62.13 miles, I could certainly ride my age on my birthday, a mere .87-mile farther. And if you know me, you know that the second that idea popped in my head there was no turning back.
Initially, I elicited feedback from just a couple of my friends to see if they would be interested in joining me, but eventually spread the word and invited all of my cycling friends. My husband volunteered to create a 63-mile course, but wanted a general idea of what I envisioned. I requested that we start local and stay on the W&OD Trail for few miles, take a couple of my favorite detours off the trail, keep it relatively flat, avoid gravel, and make up the necessary miles in Western Loudoun. He made a few suggestions which I liked and came up with a plan. I loved the route he created and other than it having 3,190 feet of climbing, I think he hit the nail on the head!
Our route took us from Ashburn along parkways with little traffic for the first 12 miles until we turned onto the W&OD Trail in Leesburg for 3.5 miles. From there we detoured from the trail to tackle a few fun hills before turning back on the W&OD Trail in Hamilton for 4 more miles. Once in Purcellville, we turned onto country roads for 35 miles as we looped around western Loudoun County touring Hillsboro, Lovettsville, and Waterford before hopping back on the trail for a couple of miles from Hamilton to Paeonian Springs. We took another country road to Leesburg before turning back on the W&OD Trail for the final 7 miles.
Setting Out for 63 Birthday Miles
With a starting temperature of 48°, Bill and I set out from our home for 1.25 miles to the start of the ride. For the better part of the week, the weather had been forecast to be around 36° at the start and climbing into only to the low to mid-50’s, but we lucked out with a beautiful fall day with the temps starting at 48° and rising into the mid-60’s! Friends from both Dawn Patrol and my women’s cycling group joined us, giving us a nice sized group of eleven; however, some of the faster riders pulled ahead and I hardly saw them again. We had a core group of six very compatible cyclists who stayed together for the majority of the ride.
About eight miles into the ride, my right knee started hurting badly with every rotation; never mind that it was my left knee that had bothered me for a couple of weeks after riding my gravel bike with the seat too low… As I rode along, I couldn’t believe my misfortune and that of all days, it would choose my birthday to rear its ugly head. Luck was with me and when we stopped about four miles later, I bummed Advil off of one of my friends. I couldn’t believe that within a couple of miles all pain was gone and my knee hasn’t hurt since – it must have been a birthday miracle!
The rest of the ride was uneventful with the exception of one of our friends getting lost. Yes, he got caught between the faster and slower groups without the course loaded onto his phone or Garmin and must have missed a turn. He eventually turned and rode back to his car and drove home.
A 7-Eleven Birthday Party
We caught up with some of the faster riders outside the 7-Eleven in Lovettsville just as they were leaving. They stuck around long enough for a group photo and to share mini Cliff bars in lieu of a birthday cake.
Over Achiever or Just Nuts
With perfect weather and my knee pain a distant memory, Bill and I continued riding after finishing the course and completed 70 miles. I knew that riding to and from the start of the course would add 2.5 miles to our total distance and who can stop at 65.7 miles? Not me! Before heading home we rode our bikes to get a well deserved burger and fries at The Wine’ing Butcher. After our refueling layover, we arrived home right at 70 miles; not bad for a 63-year-old woman!
- • Ride Name: Deb’s 63-Mile LoCo Birthday Tour
- • Location: Loudoun County, Virginia
- • Start/Finish: Carolina Brother’s Barbecue, Ashburn, VA
- • Course Type: 2 loops connected with a tail
- • Distance: 63 miles (felt so good we rode 70 miles)
- • Time: 4:49:00
- • Average Speed: 14.5 MPH
- • Elevation Gain: 3,190 feet
- • Elevation Range: 189 to 642 feet
- • Temperature Range: 46° to 77°
- • Ride with GPS: Link to turn-by-turn navigation cue sheet
- • Course Map:
Fun Pictures From Along the Way
With my GoPro (affiliate link) attached to the front of my bike and Bill’s GoPro (affiliate link) attached to the front of his, we captured most of the following pictures from along the course… A few of the pictures were taken with my phone while stopped and this one was taken by my friend Betty who was out cheering us on as we rode by…
Detour off the W&OD Trail in Paeonian Springs…
7-Eleven birthday party in Lovettsville…
Heading toward Waterford…
Riding past the infamous Dry Mill Vineyard & Winery which was the start of one of my worse rides…
Back on the W&OD Trail for the final stretch…
One arm up in celebration right when I hit 63 miles – I would have wrecked had I tried to put both arms up!
Jubilantly celebrating at the W&OD Trail parking lot before saying goodbye to my friends…
Post-ride Garmin (affiliate link) picture…
Garmin map and graphs…
Final Thoughts on the Ride
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a birthday than to push myself to do something outside of my comfort zone. A self declared cardio junkie, I thrive on that feeling of exhaustion after a good workout and that was my goal for my birthday ride. Fortunately, I had plenty of energy left over to celebrate my birthday with carry-out TexMex chicken fajitas and margaritas in the evening!
- • What birthday adventures have you taken?
- • Do you have different sets of friends for different activities?
- • What’s your favorite type of birthday cake or dessert?
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.