Skyline Drive Cycling Blitz 10/05/2002    

The misty skies on the early morning of Saturday, October 5, 2002 did little to diminish the eagerness of Bob Zinn and Joe Kaehler to challenge the intimidating Skyline Drive on bicycles. Arriving in Front Royal, Virginia, they parked over a mile away from the north entrance to the Shenandoah National Park. This gave them an opportunity for a warm-up ride before starting on the four mile ascent of 1300í to Dickey Ridge. After a brief stop for a photo opportunity at the visitor center, they were quick to get in high gear to maximize the effect of the anticipated downhill run. Over the four mile stretch they hit speeds that exceeding 43mph. The momentum was only temporary though as they began their next climb to Compton Gap at 2,415 feet. They endured three more climbs during the next twelve miles with the final climb during the first leg of our journey taking them to 3,385 feet at the Hogback Overlook. It was all downhill from there to their destination at mile mark 31.5 at Panorama. The total trip time to this point was 3 hours and 10 minutes for an average of just over 10mph. The restaurant at Panorama was closed for the season so they substituted lunch with snacks and drinks. Following a forty-five minute break, they started their return trip to Front Royal. The stiff breeze for the first mile was no deterrent as they focused on ascending the six mile climb back to the Hogback Overlook. Bobís tenacious drive to perform at his best on flat and downhill sections was more than enough to keep Joe humble and make the best of his climbing techniques to stay ahead. They combined their skills to crush the 32.5 mile return trip in just over two hours for a 16mph average. The mild temperatures and clear skies accented an already perfect day on the bikes. Hardly finished with this ride, Bob and Joe were already thinking of the next time they can challenge the mountains of Skyline Drive.