May 25, 2016

Mountains of Misery and Wilderness Road Ride Weekend

**Details for local weekend events will come out in a separate email.

Poll for the Wilderness Ride/ Mountains of Miser(MOM) weekend:



Get ready for an epic weekend of rides, hiking, Oreo Cookies, ice towels and tour de France style cheering.  And yes – you can still come. In 2015, you could reserve a room the week of MOM/Wilderness with two double beds for $51/Night.   Still too rich for you? Grab a campsite.   Ride or don’t ride – you can’t go wrong with a weekend in the Jefferson National Forrest.   Especially with the weather we have forecasted.

  • Weather:  AWESOME. Definitely more sun than rain for a change.

Saturday Wilderness Ride weather

Sunday MOM weather:

Lows in the high 50’s-low 60’s. High temp in the mid 80’s.  This actually seems warmer than previous years. Keep in mind that this is the mountains and the weather can change very quickly. THINK POTENTIALLY CHILLY DOWN HILLS FOLKS.   You are right on that edge.   For some this is perfect, others may be a hair chilly for the first part of your rides.   Pack your gloves, etc. – have your gear and make a game time decision.  Be prepared.

The Wilderness/Mountains of Misery weekend rocks! I know you think I’m just saying this just so I can convince you to join us this weekend, but I’m really not. If you have not made plans for the holiday weekend and would like to come – please do!   There is no rider limit for the Saturday Wilderness Ride – so feel free to sign up in advance or in person. IF YOU GUYS who have not voted yet JUMP IN AND COME DOWN (vote on the poll if you decide to come) – I need 10 people on the side of the mountain on Sunday cheering until the last rider comes through.   Don’t worry. I’ll stuff you with cookies, chips, beer, soda, water etc. to keep your energy levels high.

In other words, please join us if you like to have fun and are awesome. (That’s everybody!)

Otherwise…   Team Z will be bringing a 10’ X 10’ tent, two coolers (one with beer, one with other drinks) and about 10 chairs, some cowbells and some sanitized, bleached soaked, germ free vuvuzelas.     I will also have tons of food for the cheer crew – I promise.   🙂

MoM riders – you have tons of food on top of the mountain after you finish.     In years past, some of the faster riders made their way down the mountain to hang with us and cheer for others.     I will have chips/cookies/drinks/beer/etc. – but make sure you feed yourself heartily at the top before you coast down.   Also – have a plan, if you coast down…you need a ride home unless you climb back up again.   But my point – make sure you have a ride back to town if you come down and cheer – reach out to the coaches in advance if you want to plan on this.


In this email:

  1. Google map and directions for the weekend
  1. Special notes
  1. Friday Plans
  1. Saturday Plans
  1. Sunday Plans – MOM riders
  1. Sunday Plans – NON MOM riders
  1. Sunday Dinner Plans – All



  1. Google map and directions for the weekend

Google Map for the weekend (you better look at this and get a feel for the area):

VERY VERY IMPORTANT:   For those of you not familiar with this part of Virginia, this is mountain country.   Do NOT assume that GPS will work.   Take the time to print directions to key locations.     Be smart, pack for all kinds of weather.   This is the mountains. Just be forewarned; it can get COLD.   It can be HOT.   Weather can change quickly.

  1. Directions to MOM ride start from Blacksburg:

It’s just over 8 miles from the center of Blacksburg. Head west on 460. Turn right onto Rte 42 at Newport. Follow 42 through the center of Newport, and as you are heading out of Newport, the Newport Recreation Center will be on your right (approximately 1/2 mile from 460. It is a large Brick building (it is an old school).

  1. Directions to Wilderness Ride from Blacksburg:


  1. Special notes

– Yes. If you are training for IM Lake Placid, YOU DO HAVE A LONG RUN ON SATURDAY. For those of you who did IM Lake Placid in 2013, remember that the team did not do MOM/Wilderness ride that year. We stayed local and did a long ride/run which is exactly what the Zers staying home will do this year.

–  If some of you are not riding this weekend but are planning/considering coming anyway to support the others – I encourage you to do so!   We have a great hike planned for Sunday once the MoM cyclists have departed. It’s called “The Cascades”. The Cascades is a great hike. Bring a bathing suit and water shoes if you’d like to go swimming (it is cold) at the end. The trail runs along a stream and ends at a series of waterfalls with a swim hole.   The swimming and wading are fantastic. You do not want to hike in water shoes though.   Bring a back pack with plenty of water and food (more below).


  1. Friday 5/27 Plans

All Riders Should be in town on Friday evening. MOM folks: Remember that you have a long run scheduled for Saturday morning.

Friday Dinner/Happy Hour ”“ I love this place.   Let’s shoot for 4:30, 4:45 – so we can beat the rush and get plenty of seating together (Downstairs please).

If you plan to meet there ”“ let’s try the downstairs first.   If no one is there (no Zs) ”“ go ahead and start a table somewhere or cop a squat at a bar.   We’ll try to eat downstairs if there is room ”“ otherwise we’ll eat upstairs.   You access the downstairs from outside ”“ around the right side of the building.   The food is excellent and fairly priced.   This is kind of a jazzy type place.   Again ”“ don’t know how busy it will be.

Poll for the Wilderness Ride/ Mountains of Miser(MOM) weekend:


  1. Saturday 5/28 Plans

A. Team Z Long run (7,12,13,14,16,18 miles)- 7:00 AM start – this is about heat

Both the Run and the Wilderness Ride will start in the parking lot of the Dedmon Center, Radford University. Look for the Team Z tent. Trust me, we will be hard to miss. There is a paved trail that parallels the New River. This will keep the run course rolling to flat. We will scout it out on Friday but it should look something like this:

B. Wilderness Road Ride (Registration still open and only $30):

Wilderness Riders will meet at the ride start.   We will roll out in groups as appropriate.   Do not be late!   We will make post ride plans based on what people are doing, what size our group ends up.     Short riders (me) will likely hang out in the parking lot until the long riders finish.   I’ll have chairs and two coolers with beverages.   Bring a comfy change of clothes.   We’ll grub as and when we see fit.   We’ll play the “on-on-on” by ear.   The MoM riders will be arriving in town on Saturday, doing packet pickup, etc. ”“ we’ll meet up with them for dinner (see below for details).

  • Start Location: The Dedmon Center ”“ Radford University
  • Parking lot opens: 6:15 AM
  • Ride starts: 7:00 AM
  • We’ll meet in the parking lot around 6:30/6:45. We roll at 7:10 – no exceptions.
  • Directions From Blacksburg: go west on Prices Fork Road (VA-685), turn right on Peppers Ferry Road (VA-114), left at Lee Highway (US-11), turn left (Main St.) after crossing the bridge on US-11, then turn left on University Drive, crossing the bridge to the Dedmon Center at the bottom of the hill. Park in the lower lot, below the Dedmon Center.
  • Directions from I-81: Exit 109 to Radford, follow Tyler Avenue (VA-177) into Radford, turn right on Main St. (US-11), and turn left on University Drive and cross the bridge to the Dedmon Center at the bottom of the hill. Park in the lower lot, below the Dedmon Center.
  • Street Address: 101 University Dr, Radford, VA 24141
  • Post Ride: I will have some chairs and coolers to start our HH as we wait for all riders to return.   We can leverage the local restaurants if we need some food while waiting for others to finish.

C. PACKET PICK-UP/CHECK-IN FOR MoM (must pick up your own packet)

  • Saturday, May 28th: 2:00pm-7:00pm
  • Where: East Coasters Bike Shop, 1400 South Main St., Suites 3 and 4, Blacksburg, VA
  • (Rain location will be Blacksburg Aquatic Center, Patrick Henry Drive – call 540-250-1220 or 540-230-3019 if the weather is questionable).
  • Google Map:
  • OR:  Sunday, May 29th, 5:15am-6:15am, Newport Recreation Center, Newport, Virginia

D. Team Z Saturday Happy Hour/Dinner:

  • Where: Sal’s Italian Restaurant – we have reservations
  • When: 4:30/5:00 – early seating on purpose.
  • Address: 1440 South Main Street Blacksburg, VA 24060-4823 (540) 953-4040 (in a shopping center)
  • Website:

Poll for the Wilderness Ride/ Mountains of Miser(MOM) weekend:


  1. Sunday 5/29 Plans – MOM riders

You ride at 7 am – rolling waves.   Get there early to get good parking and get out on the roads as early as possible.   MoM folks finish at Mountain Lake.   You get to partake in the food on the summit.   You get a ride back to the parking lot in shuttles ”“ last one off is around 6:00 PM.   Meet us in Blacksburg or Christiansburg for dinner.



  1. Sunday Plans – NON MOM riders

A)   An important note about the finish line / festival area for NON riders

Mountain Lake Resort (summit, finish of ride) is where the movie “Dirty Dancing” was filmed. It is an ok place to visit – BUT  NOT ON RACE DAY. They will NOT let you in to site see, they will defend the resort (tiny) for their guests – and there is NOWHERE for you to park on the summit.   If you do not hike with us and want to visit the finish line/finish line festival – you have to take the shuttle up and back or you could walk down the final climb to find us after we settle in after the hike.

B)   Overview for people who plan to hike

Depending on our poll progress this week – the hike is in jeopardy and plans could change – likely we will just start bird dogging you riders earlier in the day.

If we do go and hike.. After the morning cascades hike and lunch – as a group we will drive up the final climb and camp out, waiting for the cyclists to come by. We must get there early before the bulk of the riders arrive or we become dangerous as we drive up the mountain.  

No the road is not closed to traffic.   But we still want to be off the roads and let the riders have their moment in the sun.   We’ll be waiting for them at a really nice hair pin where there is a gravel road spin off on which we can park.

We will bring a few chairs, cow bells, and horns.  We’ll have a 10 x 10 tent and a cooler with soda and beer.   Bring with you snack food, sunscreen, bug spray, your own chair if you wish.  We will have some food as well.   We will be there for 4-5 hours or so.   Bring a book maybe.   Plan to have a fun tailgate.   Trust me – the riders need us.

The day is yours to do with what you want ”“ but here is my plan and you are welcome to partake if you choose.

C)   Hike Details

  • Website:
  • Directions:   Take exit 118 I-81 north on US-460, making sure to use the bypasses around Christiansburg and Blacksburg. After 26.6 miles turn right on Cascade Dr (SR-T623) in Pembroke.   The entrance is in 3.3 miles.
  • GUESSING Address for Liberty Gas Station in Pembroke (for GPS):   201 Cascade Dr, Pembroke, VA 24136

Eat breakfast on your own ”“   or meet at this gas station/country store at 7:15 AM (Liberty Gas Station I believe – unless it has changed names since google earth got their data) – with a decent kitchen/seating/coffee/everything else in a convenience store.   You can buy eggs, pancakes – whatever – its full service and they make it fresh. This is a serious southern cooking kitchen.   This place is on the corner of   460 and Cascades Drive – you can’t miss it. I know this is early, but…we want to be on the trail first before the crowds show up and we want to take our time and have fun. While on the back end – we should be up on the mountain before 1pm so we are SAFE.

We will roll out of the country store by 7:45 AM – DO NOT BE LATE. If you are – continue on to the park and catch us on the trail (we’ll follow the stream on the way up, and fire road on the way back).

The hike is generally pretty moderate, but you WILL do work ”“ some small bouldering but no climbing or anything required. You can walk it in tennis shoes.   The way back is a fire road which you can also take to get there if you choose (suggested).   Round Trip is about 2.5 hours ”“ depending on how much we screw around.   Expect your shoes to get muddy and wet.

D) After the hike (finish at 11:00/11:15) – After the hike we will grab lunch as a group.

  • Where: Friends and Family Restaurant (get ready, I’m serious.   This place is off the hook)
  • Address:   100 Woodland Drive, Pearisburg VA 24134  Phone: 540-921-4717
  • Directions from Cascades:   (10 minutes)   turn right on 460.   3.1 miles exit toward US 460 business W/Ripplemead Rd/SR 636/Wenonah Ave.   .3 miles turn left onto 460 Bus W.   1 mile turn left onto 674/Woodland Dr.

E)  From lunch – we’ll go directly to the mountain to cheer.  

It is important that we do not screw around at breakfast or lunch – cuz we need to be on the mountain to see our riders come through by 1/1:30 (correct us if we are wrong, studs).

  • Where:   This is hairpin turn
  • Directions from Friends and Family – Take 460 E back towards Blacksburg.
  • Pass the Liberty Gas Station/Cascades Rd/Turn for the hike, turn left onto SR 613.
  • Careful – you will be “with cyclist”.  Park on Little Meadow Rd.

Hang out and cheer and have a cocktail. We will roll off the mountain after the last Zr comes through.


  1. Sunday Rallying Point for Dinner

Planning something spectacular after an epic but exhausting ride is very tough. But, if you’re still in town and want to get dinner, please drag yourself down the mountain, shower (Or don’t shower.  It’s your call”¦”¦”¦. never mind. You should take a shower.), and meet us at  Applebee’s in Christiansburg.

Poll for the Wilderness Ride/ Mountains of Miser(MOM) weekend:


  1. Mary’s MoM Suggestions/Guidance (Please Read)

Below is an email/link which Mary shared with the team regarding her experience/suggestions for tackling MoM.   First timers – head the suggestions please.

Note begins here:

Hi all – I’ve been getting a few questions about MoM strategy, so I figured I’d send this out sooner rather than later.   This is a document based on the “bracelet” that I made for the first time I did MoM and then updated after last year, plus a few notes.   I added a few notes specific to the elevation profile too.

  • Document Link (Mary’s MoM Guidance):

On the member’s website:

On the yahoo groups:

I would print out the second page of this and cut out the mileage/fuel guide, cover it in tape and then tape it as a “bracelet” around the handlebar of my bike.   That way I always have a reminder of what to eat, when.   If you want to do that, you should adapt it to what you plan to bring along with you, and your anticipated pace.   The rest stops are well stocked, and have plenty of water to make up more fuel.

I hope that this isn’t all too scary for people doing it the first time.   I just find that going into something that is slightly scary with a plan helps me feel more in control.   MoM is 100% doable with some decent training, a good plan and even better riding mates.   See how many people are on this list?   If you want to ride with someone, you can absolutely find a companion at your pace.   And remember – it’s an event, not a race so it’s OK to wait for people.

Send any questions out to the group and we’ll try to answer them.   Anyone who’s done it previously should feel free to weigh in with their favorite advice.   This is just MY strategy.   There are plenty of other strategies (such as skipping the first three rest stops if you want to really throw down a good time – one day I plan to do that) and you may find something else will work better for you.

Poll for the Wilderness Ride/ Mountains of Miser(MOM) weekend: