Disclaimer: This Tour de Madison Metric Century recap contains affiliate links…

 

Road Trip for a Tour

Cyclists have been riding the beautiful rolling hills of Madison County, Virginia the third Saturday in May as part of the Tour de Madison since 1988. After the tour was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s ride brought nearly 500 enthusiastic cyclist back to the rustic Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria, Virginia.

The Tour de Madison first hit my radar when our Dawn Patrol cycling friends casually mentioned they were riding it again this year and asked if Bill and I could join them. After a quick search, I found that the ride had several options – a metric century (which was actually 66 miles, not 62.13), 56 miles, 42 miles, and 20 miles. Always up for a challenge, Bill and I registered for the metric century.

Preferring not to drive almost two hours on the morning of the tour, Bill and I opted to get a hotel closer to Madison County and enjoyed a relaxing Friday evening and a much later Saturday morning wake up call.

 

Ready to Roll

Metric century riders had a check-in and roll time range of 7 to 8:30 AM; and with temperatures expected to drop overnight to the low-40’s, we planned to meet and be ready to roll at 8 AM once the sun had started warming things up. Immediately upon arriving at the Graves Mountain Pavilion, Bill and I got our bikes ready, checked in, and found our friends without the benefit of cellular service and the luxury of texting.

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day and at 8:10 AM, our group of seven Dawn Patrollers were one of the last metric century groups to roll out of the graveled pavilion starting area. It was 48° and chilly, but with few clouds in the blue sky the sun began to warm us up quickly.

 

Sights Along the Tour

Until riding through Madison County, I wasn’t aware of the beauty and openness of part of our commonwealth. The mostly rolling hills route took us past farms, small communities, wineries, breweries, quaint old churches, and finally, across a mountain. Three rest stops were available at miles 15, 21, 32, and 48, each providing snacks, water, and porta potties.

It wasn’t until we stopped for our first group picture that we learned that three of our friends were riding the 42-mile route and would be heading in a different direction at mile 19. Once we’d split, the four of us riding the metric century stayed pretty close together, regrouping occasionally at intersections as necessary.

The weather continued to be delightful reaching a high of 73°; however a decent wind kicked up while we were at our final rest stop. Unfortunately, we battled a head wind at several points during the rest of our ride, but in the grand scheme of things that was a minor blip in the otherwise nearly perfect weather.

Other than a cruel 2-mile climb to the top of a mountain starting at mile 62, it wasn’t that difficult of a ride. Fortunately, the climb was mostly gradual until the last half mile and not as difficult as I anticipated. I finished with an average speed of 13.8 MPH and noticed my slowest speed was 3.8 MPH on the 17% grade on the last little section before reaching the top. My fastest speed was 36 MPH while careening down the fun chicane-like turns on the 10% grade descent.

 

Ride Overview
  • • Ride With GPS Name: Tour de Madison Metric Century 2021
  • • Ride with GPS: Link to turn-by-turn navigation cue sheet
  • • Location: Madison County, Virginia
  • • Start/Finish: Graves Mountain Pavilion
  • • Course Type: Three Connecting Loops
  • • Course Surface: Paved
  • • Distance: 66 miles
  • • Time: 4:47:45
  • • Average Speed: 13.8 MPH
  • • Maximum Speed: 36 MPH
  • • Elevation Gain: 4,242 feet
  • • Elevation Range: 350 to 1,062 feet
  • • Temperature Range: 48° to 73°
  • • Course Map:

 

Fun Pictures From Along the Way

The following pictures were taken with my iPhone (affiliate link) while stopped along the course and with my GoPro Hero 6 (affiliate link) attached to the front of my bike. A few were taken by Bill who also had a GoPro Hero 7 (affiliate link) attached to the front of his bike.

Start and finish venue…

 

Rolling out in the nippy early morning sunshine…

 

First hill…

 

Beautiful farmland…

 

Mandatory group photo…

 

Rolling toward one of the few large intersections…

 

Bet the driver of the white car wishes he was riding…

 

First rest stop…

 

Beautiful open fields and roads…

 

Saying our goodbyes at mile 19…

 

And then there were four…

 

Ahhh, the aroma of freshly mowed hay…

 

Second and third rest stop…

 

Rested, fueled, and ready to roll again…

 

That sky!

 

Fourth and final rest stop…

 

This rest stop even had a bike repairman who said he hadn’t been too busy…

 

The point of no return… At this intersection we had the option to ride straight back to the pavilion and complete our ride at 56 miles or turn onto Poor House Road which would lead us across a mountain, finishing at 66 miles.

 

Last regrouping before getting to the top of the mountain…

 

Starting the very gradual climb…

 

Getting steeper…

 

Last little push…

 

And a heart greeted us at the top!

 

Get ready for some fun!

 

We didn’t get video of the fun downhill on the twisty turns, but this was shortly afterward…

TourDeMadisonMetricCenturyVideo

 

Cruising back into the nearly deserted finish area…

 

Picking up the official tour t-shirt…

 

It’s actually a darker burgundy than this picture depicts; and you know that I love the women’s cut!

 

We had a choice of a barbecue sandwich, veggie burger, or a chicken tender plus baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, and mixed fruit in our boxed lunch…

 

Victory!

 

Thankful the SAG wagons didn’t need to pick us up…

 

Garmin Stats

Post-ride Garmin (affiliate link) picture…

 

Garmin map and graphs…

 

Final Thoughts on the Ride

Bill and I had a fun little getaway trip and thoroughly enjoyed the ride. We loved the area and the relatively light traffic along the course. We’d definitely recommend riding the Tour de Madison and will most likely participate again next year. Hope to see you there!

 

Questions:
  • • Do you prefer organized rides/tours or just heading out and seeing where your bike takes you?
  • • What’s the lowest temperature you’ll ride in? The highest?
  • • 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.