The Metric Century ride is beautiful and challenging and features three of the county’s outstanding vineyards. Click here to REGISTER.
There is marvelous scenery all along the route. Like all the routes in the 2013 Tour de Madison, the Metric Century starts with a wonderful four-mile run down the Old Blue Ridge Turnpike, a road built in the 1850s to connect the farms in the Shenandoah Valley with the railhead at Gordonsville. You will be riding through the gorgeous valley created by the Robinson River.
A mile or so past Banco, at just over five miles into the ride, you will encounter a challenging climb—short but steep—into Haywood. Immediately you will descend through the Hebron Valley. This is the area settled by the Germans who fled their indentured servitude in Governor Spotswood’s mines at Germanna.
After turning right onto Hebron Church Rd., be sure to look west up the valley to the glorious Blue Ridge Mountains. You will also pass the historic Hebron Lutheran Church on your right. It’s the oldest Lutheran church in continuous operation in the United States!
Soon you will turn left onto Rt. 231, the Blue Ridge Turnpike, for a somewhat longer climb into the town of Madison. Be careful on our crowded Main Street, but don’t forget to notice the historic buildings, especially “Kemper Mansion” on your left—home of James Kemper who was wounded at Pickett’s Charge and later served as Governor of Virginia (1874-78)—and, the newly renovated County Courthouse on your right.
Leaving the town of Madison, the gentle Blue Ridge foothills west of town will thrill you and get your heart pumping. Your efforts will be rewarded by the hospitality of Early Mountain Vineyards at just over 17 miles into the ride.
Not long after leaving the rest stop, Metric Century riders will find themselves heading east on the gently rolling Oak Park Rd. before enjoying a descent to the Robinson River. All along the way are fertile fields still cultivated by family farmers. Be sure to notice the historic churches—Oak Grove Baptist, Mt. Zion Baptist, and Mt. Zion United Methodist—in the Oak Park area. Oak Grove was founded during the Civil War by a slave harness-maker.
There is a mile and half gentle climb up from the Robinson River at 28.7 miles on Fords Shop Rd. and the a rolling five miles on Leon Rd. Watch out for traffic as you cross Rt. 29. If you had been here in October of 1863 you would have had to be on the lookout for cavalry under the command of J. E. B. Stuart (Confederate) or George A. Custer (Union).
Just after you cross Rt. 29, you will turn left onto Kirtley Rd. and approach the Prince Michel Vineyard and another well-stocked rest stop. Be sure to notice the historical marker on Kirtley Road. This is a portion of one of the oldest, if not the oldest colonial road in America!
From the rest stop at Prince Michel, cyclists head west toward the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are too many marvelous views to mention them all! A favorite part of the route will surely be the four or five miles on Slate Mill Road in Rappahannock County. Between 45 and 50 miles you will encounter momentum-generating descents and challenging climbs punctuated with occasional glimpses of Old Rag Mountain to the west.
The last rest stop is at F. T. Baptist Church, founded in 1788 and located here since 1816. Soon after the rest stop and a short stint on Rt. 231, rider will head west to the very foot of Old Rag Mountain. Some of you may be tempted to abandon your bikes to join the hundreds who will be climbing it that day. Resist it, you will need all your strength and stamina for what lies ahead!
After another short passage on Rt.231, the ride from Etlan to Syria offers the most serious challenge of the day. There are a couple of miles of gentle ascent, then a mile plus climb that ends with a very steep grade. Be sure to notice DuCard Vineyard on your right just before the serious climbing starts. From the summit you will enjoy a stunning glimpse of the valley below. Be careful on the steep, curving descent on a narrow road!
Soon you be back at Graves Mountain Lodge where great food will satisfy the ravenous appetite you have generated. Did we mention the cold beer and local wines to slake your thirst? Maybe you will be inspired to visit one of the three vineyards after the ride for a full wine-tasting experience.
Cue Sheet for Metric Century: CUE.2013.Metric