Friday, July 25, 2008

New River Trail

As I get ready to start another weekend, something has me thinking back to last weekend. If you have read my blog, you know I ran the Bear Hole 10k at Twin Falls State Park in WV.

Well after finishing the race and collecting my award, I headed south for Galax, VA. Galax, VA is one of the trail heads for the New River Trail.

If you are not familar with the New River Trail, it is part of the rails to trails conversion. Former rail road beds are transformed into walking, hiking, and riding trails.

The New River Trail probably covers about 55 to 60 miles in distance. People visiting the trail can access it from many points along the trail. If you are looking for a map of the trail, try Googling on New River State Park Trail. There a nice pdf that shows the entire trail and the points where it is accessible.

Since I had raced on Saturday morning, my plans was to ride my mt. bike over the 50k course for the New River Trail 5ok race. This course goes from Fries, Va to Galax, Va and back. I was riding course backwards by starting in Galax, Va. If you are wondering why I would ride it backward, it was because my hotel was in Galax.

During my ride, I had some great views of the Chestnut and New Rivers. I passed through 1 tunnel and crossed numerous bridges. The largest of which is the one that crosses the New River. Surprizingly, I saw a lot of people walking and riding along the trail. Being that neither Galax nor Fries is a large town, I never expect to see so many people on the trail.

There was also plenty of wild life along the trail. Near Galax, I saw a lot of ducks. I saw many deer including a dow and her 2 fawns. I did see 1 snake but we both were looking to avoid each other.

By the time that I had finished, I had ridden about 35 miles and took me almost 3 hours to complete.

Sunday morning was the true test as this would be the first time that I would run on the trail.

I was up early and drove to the Fries Trail head by 7:30 AM. I clocked my first mile in a little over 7 minutes and then started clipping off the miles around 7 miles. As I got deeper into the run the miles kept inching faster.

My last two miles of the 16 mile run were in 6:38 and 6:39. I was surprised at how easy the run felt. I could have probably did 4 miles at the same effort.

After finishing the run, I hoped on my mt. bike for some more riding. I covered the same course that I did with my run but it felt far easy cruising along on my bike.

Interestingly, I noticed alot of people riding along the trail with fishing poles. They were riding into the more remote sections of the New River Trail to fish. Or maybe they were just avoiding the Game Wards, I am not sure which.

Both Galax and Fries are small quiet towns. And the New River Trails is a great get away from the busy life in Charlotte. If I can arrange my schedule, I am going to visit there again in August.

I have already set my self a goal of riding between Galax and Pulaski and maybe back. If I did the total distance, it would be close to 100 miles on a bike. But I need to get in more rides before I attempt this feat. My rear will not handle it. 35 miles hurt.

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