The Mason Dixon Line

Posted: November 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

I always experience a feeling of ‘being home’ when I’m south of the Mason Dixon line.  I grew up in West Virginia and feel connected to the mountains.  I’m now in Virginia visiting the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and Washington & Lee University.

Since I made the trip by car I was able to bring one of my bikes.  I visited a local bike shop and purchased a few replacement tubes and air cartridges in exchange for several riding suggestions on local single track.   I never would have located these trails without the local knowledge of the owner.  The shop was in an old brownstone mill in Staunton, Virginia and provided the perfect ambiance of a mom and pop local business.

As soon as I departed the bike shop and headed for the trails, I realized that 90% of the people I passed were smokers.  I continue to have difficulty understanding why people choose to poison their bodies with drugs, alcohol, tobacco and unhealthy foods.  Once I located the trail I was in paradise.  Despite the volume of leaves, I was able to navigate the trail by the openings in the trees.  Jumping over the logs presented a greater challenge, particularly since I’ve obviously lost the thrill seeking tendency of my youth.

I then headed into the mountains and relied on the guidance of a high school girl I encountered for even better riding.  I loved her southern accent and hospitality.  Today I plan to complete a reconnaissance ride of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I plan to ride the full length (469 miles) of the BRP next summer, which will require a Herculean effort.

I won’t arrive home until about 3:00 a.m. on Sunday but I plan to take part in the run from the Wellesley Community Center to honor Fulvio Abela.  I will also be thinking of the runners that I have coached for Team In Training and the Marathon Coalition as they take part in Sunday’s New York City marathon.

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