Disclaimer: This 37-Mile Gravel Loop from The Plains to St. Louis recap contains affiliate links…

 

A Little History Before Starting Our Ride

I had planned to sleep in, but FOMO won out and I agreed to join Bill and our friend Ed for a gravel ride on a course Bill had raved about for the past two years since his epic 2019 New Year’s Day adventure. On that particular day, he had seen fox hunters in full red regalia following their hounds who were hot on the scent down one of the gravel roads.

Loudoun and Fauquier Counties are known for their horses and fox hunts (and vineyards).  If we’re lucky, we’ll see riders out as we cycle by, and if we’re really lucky, we’ll see a fox hunt in progress. We’ve learned from friends who own horses that bikes spook the horses and it’s best to just stop, remain quiet, and let the riders pass. It’s tough for me who immediately wants to engage in conversation, but I’ve learned to wait and let the rider speak first. Sadly, we didn’t run upon any hunts, but we did see plenty of horses and a couple of riders.

Additionally, this ride took us past vineyards with the accompanying wineries, huge farms with cattle grazing in beautiful open pastures (gosh, I love cows), rolling hills with mountain vistas, and a road lined with birdhouses. Many of the country roads are starting to become familiar, but I’m enough of a newbie at riding on the local gravel roads that I’m still being introduced to new ones.

It was sunny and 69° as we rolled out of the coffee shop parking lot and 80° by the time we finished 37 miles later – talk about a sudden introduction to the heat. Overall, we kept the hilly gravel ride at a comfortable pace, stopping occasionally to take pictures and chat, and finished with an average speed of 11.5 MPH. Even though we kept it as a chill ride, we were quite tired and attributed it the heat.

 

Ride Overview
  • • Ride Name: 37-NewYearsFauquierGravel
  • • Location: Loudoun and Fauquier Counties, Virginia
  • • Start/Finish: Happy Creek Coffee & Tea parking lot
  • • Course Type: Loop with a Tail
  • • Distance: 37 miles
  • • Time: 3:14:38
  • • Average Speed: 11.5 MPH
  • • Maximum Speed: 29.2 MPH
  • • Elevation Gain: 2,870 feet
  • • Elevation Range: 328 to 709 feet
  • • Temperature Range: 69° to 80°
  • • Ride with GPS: Link to turn-by-turn navigation cue sheet
  • • Course Map:

 

Fun Pictures From Along the Way

Most of the following pictures were taken with my iPhone (affiliate link) while stopped along the course; however, a special shoutout goes to my husband Bill who captured pictures while riding with his GoPro (affiliate link).

Within minutes of our start, we heard the distant sound of a train whistle as it came barreling down the tracks. The warning bells sounded and the railroad crossing gate closed just as we rolled up to the tracks.

 

Like little kids, we delighted in watching the train roar by, happy that we had a front row seat.

 

After our first rather noisy adventure, we soon turned onto a gravel road and entered a more peaceful world…

 

Group selfie…

 

Road work…

 

Goose Creek along Crenshaw Road had several spots that were very muddy…

 

Beautiful horse farm…

 

Another horse farm…

 

The view as we rode away…

 

Climbing Rock Hill Mill Road…

 

Wildlife along the road… This isn’t a metaphor, is it?

 

Look Mom, no hands! I’ve always been in awe of anyone who can take their hands off the handlebars and not crash. Bill can take his hands off, pull the GoPro out of his back pocket, extend the selfie stick, take pictures, and put the camera away all while pedaling away with his hands in the air and without wrecking. I, on the other hand, was thrilled to throw my hands up in the air long enough for this picture. I was able to let my hands hover over the handlebars for about ten seconds several other times, but that’s about it. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? LOL

 

Garmin Stats

Post-ride Garmin (affiliate link) picture…

 

Garmin map and graphs…

 

Final Thoughts on the Ride

This ride was both relaxing and peaceful, and I loved that we kept it chill and stopped a few times to relax, and with the 80° temps that we weren’t acclimated to, we needed that. After last Saturday’s difficult ride, this was the perfect answer to getting back out on the gravel and loving it again.

 

Questions:
  • • If you ride, can you balance without holding the handlebars? Please tell me I’m not the only one who can’t!
  • • What wildlife have you seen while on a ride, run, or hike?
  • • Do you stop and relax occasionally to fuel or take pictures, or barrel on through when on a long run or ride?

 

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.