"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Running the Virginia Creeper

Running from White Top, VA to Abingdon, VA, along the Appalachian Trail, is 35 miles of converted railroad track known as the Virginia Creeper bike trail. The upper 17+ miles drops 2,000' of elevation, mostly through the Mt. Rogers National Forest, and lands you in downtown Damascus.  The bottom 17+ miles nets zero on elevation with a few hundred down then back up en route to Abingdon.

Miles and miles of trail
Summer vacation found us making home base in Damascus and riding the trail for 3 of our days here.  And despite an accumulated 70+ miles of biking, the morning runs were a must.  The trail in either direction out of Damascus is pretty flat and really clean.  Crushed stone, soft on impact, yet firm for traction, is down for a majority of the surface.  I would also guess there were 50+ trestles (bridges) along the full trail.  Some short, over low spots, and some 200' long, high over deep drops and streams below.  And of course, along the rushing creeks and streams flowing down from White Top Mountain, there is no choice but to leave the iPod in the rental house and enjoy the "music." Absolutely beautiful!

The VCT is a running & biking paradise.  If you ever find yourself in SW Virginia, just 30 miles from Bristol, TN, take a day or two to explore the trail.  An added bonus is that the streams have several great spots to recover via waterfalls and natural ice baths.  And should ultras be your thing, consider running the 35 miles up or down along this trail!

Keep running with horses!
(more great photos to come, keep checking back)

Full Creeper Trail Map (click here for Adventure Damascus Website and more information) 

Summary of 7 mile out and back from Damascus, (1,896’ - 2,171’ : Gain of 613’)
  Continue climbing to nearly 4,000'

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