In case you missed our recap of our first ever gravel camp enjoy these words from camp leader Emily Monroe. Want to try out some of the beautiful gravel routes we used? You can find them posted here as well!
Teamed up with @amydfoundation to put together a gravel camp for FTWNB folks, beyond stoked that attendance could be covered by scholarships. @theblackbibs @starlightapparel and @iamspecialized_wmn all came in to donate some amazing softgoods. We booked a super cool, hundred-year old lodge in the George Washington Nat’l Forest. First morning there, a dense fog rolled in off the mountains, it was warm and humid and felt pretty magical as the sun burned it off. Campers arrived through the morning and unpacked, Michelle rolled up with six loaves of beautiful homemade sourdough to share, they were so delicious! We set out on a first ride, up the mtn out the front door of the cabin. Soft squishy forest road with a steady grade, but leading to a wonderful and smooth long descent. Rolled around the back side of a cool lake and spillway, where we could pause for a moment and take in all the views.
Home for a big pasta dinner so everyone could carb up for what day two of camp had in store. Big winds blew through, completely pushing away a storm that was threatening to cramp our Saturday fun. Tried to go run an errand after dinner and found that a tree had fallen and entirely blocked our ability to get off the mountain. And since we were the last driveway up the road, noone would ever know we were trapped!? This is how horror movies start, yall!
Download day 1 here
Second day of gravel camp was a doozie! Up early for breakfast and coffee, hoping that a storm that’d been looming would frig off…and sure enough the strong wind the night before kicked it out of our area! It was misty and grey to start our day though, the tops of the mountains around us all hidden in low clouds.
Our friend @gratstagram joined us, volunteering his time as photographer for the day. Yall all know, if you want anyone along for great snaps on a ride, its Grant! TY again friend. We also were lucky enough to have another strong human join us through Amy D, huge thank-you to @emily.shields.werner for your company Saturday and Sunday!
We got down the road a short bit and encountered the tree I’d been stumped by the night before, and found that we could wiggle just it a little bit. Everyone pitched in to get the road clear, great start to the ride. Big celebration!
The rest of the day was absolutely beautiful. Foggy misty mountain riding (our friends that rode the alternate route for the day had some wild Blue Ridge Parkway dense fog descending, eep!) and beautiful vistas and views.
Had a great snack stop then made our way up Peaks of Otter, to the Parkway, and back home down a swooping gravel descent. Big views everywhere, kept us smiling all day alongside so many good jokes and new friends. Big soup dinner, smores around a fire, and I hit the hay, proud to have seen everyone finish up a tough day! A lot of photos by Grant in this post, they make me smile HUGE.
Download day 2 here
Our final day of gravel camp, we had a 30ish mile loop on the table that had some absolutely incredible views. The day started with a hustle while we all made breakfast and packed out of the cabin, headed to Natural Bridge to park and meet friends from our community that wanted to ride with us. Was a bit chilly and grey, but that quickly changed once we were on bike.
We climbed the smooth gravel descent we’d come down the two days before, but instead of taking it all the way to the parkway, dropped down to beautiful riverside riding through Arcadia.
I was a little tired from the days of riding before, but the scenery was just so beautful that it kept me rolling, all smiles.
Back to the cars where we all said our goodbyes after a quick visit to go see the actual Natural Bridge.
Hard to sum up big feelings for days like these. Mostly its just incredibly fun and cool it is to get to share the things you really love with other people. Seeing them have fun and enjoy it too triples the good feelings inside ya.
Proud of everyone opening themselves up to a trip like this, showing up to ride things you arent sure you can handle takes a lot of guts (and strength.) I really appreciate the trust everyone extended my way, knowing we wouldnt drag you through impossible rides or situations, or leave you stranded. Proud of this crew for showing up vulnerable and leaving way more confident. YAY BIKES!
Download day 3 here