Hilly Ride

Hills are unavoidable around where I live, so I usually head to the Schuylkill River Trail (SRT) since it’s the flattest and fastest ride near me; however, with Ironman Chattanooga coming up, I need to practice on hills with my TT bike, Ikaika. Sadly, Ikaika is in the shop getting some new bright red tape and longer shifting cables because I had the aero bars raised, which means that this ride was on my road bike, Bia, and she’s perfect for hills and steep climbs.

I had a three hour ride to complete, but I wanted to head for the hills for the first half of my ride before cruising on the SRT. I looped around Valley Forge’s ribbons of trails and roads at least three times–past Washington’s Quarters where he stayed during the war in the actual valley that was a forge for making all kinds of items out of iron. His house was modest and near the workshop, but it was way better than the cabins and rustic living of most of the troops in the wintry mud of the valley. I’ve been in Washington’s Quarters a few times and glided my hand up the railing he and others touched. It’s kind of gross if you think about it too hard, and my family has a running joke about Washington with all of the signs in the area about “George Washington slept here.” If he slept there, he must have peed there too, so I remind everyone that George Washington peed here, or somewhere around here anyway.

I passed the cabins too along with replicas of the forts the troops built to look out for the British. I rode by the church where they all worshipped, past monuments with spectacular views of the valley below. Valley Forge is a day’s march from Philadelphia, so if needed, the troops could swoop down and defend the city. Although, they may have been too late if the situation was dire.

You can get an idea of how the hills are from the photo on the left, but there’s no substitute for running or cycling up and down them. I went up that hill three times, which is a good 5-8 minute climb. Around Valley Forge, you’re either climbing or descending; there are no flats. When I had enough, I headed to the SRT for some easy riding.

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