The Intermediate Ride this year is beautiful and challenging and features two of the outstanding vineyards that are our partners. Plus you have options that can make the ride as long as almost 45 miles or as short as 32. Click here to REGISTER.
There is marvelous scenery all along the route. Like all the routes in the 2013 Tour de Madison, the Intermediate ride 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.
Halfway down the valley you will make a left turn onto Towles Rd. and travel through some of the county’s most beautiful farmland—unspoiled by residential development. After nearly nine miles of riding you will find a SAG vehicle at the intersection with Sawmill Rd. There you can rest and refuel.
After the rest stop you will immediately face the challenge of a mile and a half climb up Arrington Mountain. It’s long, but not terribly steep. And afterward you will enjoy the rolling descent through the Blue Ridge Mountain foothills toward the village of Novum.
Just past Novum you will turn right onto Rt. 607, Ridgeview Rd. You may continue following the directional arrows and cue sheet all the way to your first full service rest stop at the Prince Michel Vineyard. However, if you want to take a little over nine miles off the route, you may turn left at about 14.2 miles onto Rt. 608 Oakland Rd. Those who go to the Prince Michel Vineyard rest stop will return to this point.
If you go to Prince Michel, 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!
Whether you take the short cut or not, cyclists will be heading west toward the Blue Ridge Mountains. A favorite part of the route will surely be the four or five miles on Slate Mill Road in Rappahannock County. 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, cyclists will turn left on Rt. 231, F. T. Valley Road. You may stay on that road all the way to Eltan (about 2.6 miles) which will shorten the ride by about 3 miles.
Recommended, however, is only a short stint on Rt. 231, then a right turn on Peola Mills Rd. heading west toward the very foot of Old Rag Mountain. This “detour” off the main road offers glorious views of Old Rag and the farms in its shadow.
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 of the steep, curving descent on a narrow road!
Soon you will 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 county’s vineyards after the ride for a full wine-tasting experience. Map for longest Intermediate Loop, including Prince Michel (click the map for more info)
Cue sheet for Intermediate Route: CUE.2013.Intermediate