Muddy Angels Day 8: Closing Ceremony

For those who may not know, the reason we participate in the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride is to honor those EMS providers whom we have lost during the past year.  Each of the cyclists ride in memory of one of the fallen.  We carry metal dog tags around our necks inscribed with their names.  These tags stay with us for the duration as we ride.  At the end of the event, each rider gives one of the dog tags to the family of the lost and keeps the other as a personal reminder of the person whom we memorialize.

While this is a week filled with camaraderie and friendship, it is also a solemn reminder of the sacrifices we all make in order to serve our communities and our nation in so many ways.  It is a reminder of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice who are now remembered by those of us left behind. Continue Reading →

Muddy Angels Day 7: Towson to Alexandria

On this, our final day of riding, we gathered in the morning sun to be briefed on today’s course.  This route will start along the neighborhoods in which my mother grew up.  We were all eager for the day ahead as we prepared to ride through D.C. before arriving at our final destination in Alexandria.

Continue Reading →

High Bridge Trail

It’s two days after Christmas, I’m in Richmond, I have a bike, and I’m doing reconnaissance.

More specifically, my father and I decided to ride a section of the High Bridge Trail from Farmville to Rice, Virginia.  This winter trek was in part to assess the trail for a longer family trip this spring.

The High Bridge Trail is a Virginia State Park.  It was created in 2006 from a former railroad line donated by Norfolk Southern.  This trend of turning abandoned rail lines into recreational trails is becoming commonplace within Virginia and the nation. Continue Reading →

Mount Rogers

This summer, while hiking with my parents in the Colorado Rockies, we made plans to meet with their friends Nancy and Gates in the fall to hike Mount Rogers.

Mount Rogers is the highest point in Virginia at  5,729 feet and is part of the greater Mount Rogers National Recreation Area.  The summit itself is on a broad, forested, hilltop and lacks the grandeur of some of the Colorado peaks, but the trails in the area offer plenty of scenic miles and a variety of conditions.  In addition to the landscape, Mount Rogers is also known for its wild ponies, which roam free within much of the national forestland.

I’ve been to this area a few times before, but never all of the way to the top.  Being most familiar with the area among the group, I was tasked with creating our route.  I choose a combination of several interconnected trails and included a short, off-trail section to connect two parallel routes allowing us a return track different from the way we came.  The overall course would start from the Grayson Highlands State Park and be about 10 miles with just over 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Continue Reading →

The New River Trail

My friend Caleb and I decided we needed a weekend adventure.  Both lovers of cycling and the outdoors, we opted for a 2 day bicycle camping trip along the New River Trail.

For those who are unaware, the New River Trail is a 50+ mile trail which runs from Pulaski to Galax, Virginia.  The trail was once a part of an active railroad before changes in conditions and economics caused the line to be abandoned.

Virginia has taken the right-of-way and put down a dirt and gravel trail which is now accessible for hikers, cyclists, and horseback riders.  In addition to the trail itself, several parking areas, boat launches, and campgrounds are part of the state park.

So a plan was created to dust off the camping gear, somehow secure it to the bikes, start peddling, and see what happens. Continue Reading →