Disclaimer: This 41-Mile Mount Weather Climbing Tour recap contains affiliate links…

 

Destination: Top of the Mountain

Mount Weather is easily identifiable from the many roads traversing western Loudoun County and is often a convenient landmark during our gravel rides. From down below, the open clearing on the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains is easily visible. From Blue Ridge Mountain Road, it becomes clear that Mount Weather is the home to FEMA’s Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center.

For whatever reason, I wasn’t able to join Dawn Patrol for last summer’s Mount Weather ride, but decided to join in on the fun this summer and earn my bragging rights. The route started in Upperville and made its way through the tiny towns and communities of Willisville, Bloomfield, Airmont, and Bluemont to Mount Weather before continuing the loop past Paris and Delaplane. Roads ranged from quiet neighborhood streets to twisty country roads to highway shoulders, but they all had one thing in common, they were very hilly.

With low humidity and 68° at the start and climbing to 84°, we lucked out for a mid-July day.  Breezy winds at around 9 MPH created annoying headwinds that seemed to slow us down no matter which way we rode. We got a double dose of hills and headwind for our final 6-mile return top Upperville but we put our heads down and pushed onward, happy when we finally rolled back to our cars.

 

Ride Overview
  • • Ride With GPS Name: 41-MtWeatherDelaplaneFromUpperville
  • • Ride with GPS: Link to turn-by-turn navigation cue sheet
  • • Location: Loudoun, Fauquier, and Clarke Counties, Virginia
  • • Start/Finish: Fire station parking lot, Upperville, Virginia
  • • Course Type: Loop
  • • Course Surface: Paved
  • • Distance: 41 miles
  • • Time: 3:02:53
  • • Average Speed: 13.5 MPH
  • • Maximum Speed: 38.2 MPH
  • • Elevation Gain: 3,310 feet
  • • Elevation Range: 415 to 1,829 feet
  • • Temperature Range: 68° to 84°
  • • Course Map:

 

Fun Pictures From Along the Way

The following pictures were taken with my iPhone (affiliate link) while stopped along the way. Also, a few were taken by Bill with his GoPro Hero 7 (affiliate link). Unfortunately, I was too busy huffing and puffing up the many hills to stop and take very many pictures.

With a 7:30 AM roll time, we arrived at the Upperville municipal parking lot around 7:10 AM so we’d have plenty of time to get our bikes ready to roll. Our Dawn Patrol group welcomed several Reston Bike Club members to our ride and by the time everyone got their bikes ready and ride instructions were given by the ride leaders, we rolled out of the parking lot closer to 7:45 AM.

 

Focused on climbing what seemed like one hill after another, we didn’t stop to take many pictures; however, Bill captured this picture of me heading out Greengarden Road toward Airmont Road…

 

We rode past this pretty stone house as we made our way through Bloomfield…

 

Our first major stop was at the Bluemont General Store for both fuel and a potty break…

 

It’s no secret that I love country stores because my maternal grandparents owned a wonderful little store that my great-grandparents had opened many years prior. The store also happened to be my daycare center from the time I was two months old until I turned five. My mom not only taught first through third grades, but was also the principal at the little two-classroom school just across the road.

Inside the Bluemont General Store where we all bought snacks and drinks…

 

After much climbing on Blue Ridge Mountain Road, we made it to our destination point, FEMA’s Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center. Unfortunately, even though we were at the top of the mountain, there was still plenty of climbing ahead of us!

Photo credit: Mary

Our next climb took us to the highest point of the ride and even though I was the first one of my little group of four to summit that hill, I was the last one down the twisty-turny super-duper fun descent on Blue Ridge Mountain Road.

 

We all convened on Mount Weather Road to regroup before riding onto a slightly busier John Mosby Highway for less than a mile before turning onto a couple of quiet roads. At this point, we could have ridden straight back to the parking lot to cut 10 miles off of our ride.

 

Our entire group opted to stay the course and turned onto Route 17 for 5.5 miles of white-knuckle riding at approximately 25 MPH as cars zoomed past.

 

A left turn onto Delaplane Grade Road was a welcome change of pace even though it would be a near constant 6-mile climb back to the parking lot in Upperville and into annoying headwinds. At this point I may have uttered something obnoxious like, “$#@% UPPERville, I want to ride back to LOWERville.”

 

Once starting the long climb back to the parking lot, I watched as Bill and our friend Dave pulled ahead. The stronger riders had taken off in front of us and a few were behind us. Eventually, I rode alone until just before wrapping up my ride.

 

As I rolled back into the parking lot, I felt strong but grateful to be done and now with bragging rights that I’d ridden Mount Weather.

 

Garmin Stats

Post-ride Garmin (affiliate link) picture…

 

Garmin map and graphs…

 

Final Thoughts on the Ride

It was great to finally ride Mount Weather after hearing our friends talk about it for the past year. As far as I’m concerned, this was a one and done ride. Of course, much like childbirth, we forget the pain quickly are eager to do it again… Should I enter a moment of weakness and decide to do a repeat, please remind me of the endless hills and stretches of heavy traffic.

 

Questions:
  • • If you cycle, do you ride roads, trails, rail trails, or something else?
  • • Do you usually run or cycle alone or with friends?
  • • 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.