Around Roanoke Virginia, there are a few climbs that at icons, but probably the one that most people do is the one up to the Mill Mountain Star. A couple group rides a week tackle the climb, then descend on the Blue Ride Parkway to return.
I decided to do it a little differently.

My plan was the descend from Bent Mountain on the Parkway to the star, then turn around and climb back to the top. I hadn't done this part of the Parkway on a bike, but I had driven it a bunch of times. It was the only part of the Parkway I hadn't ridden from Roanoke to the North Carolina border, and likely the most challenging. It's not a steep climb by any means, but it goes on for a while and rewards steady pacing. I suck at steady pacing.

Because of the wet roads from the previous night's rain, I descended a little more conservatively than I usually do. I also didn't want to cover so much distance on the descent that I couldn't climb out in the allotted time. Mustn't anger the wife too much. There's a threshold there.

After a pleasant, "gosh, I'm good at this sport" descent, and some shorter rollers, I stopped at the star for the obligatory photo op, then turned around to start the actual work. Despite my usual thrash-climb technique, I found a sustainable rhythm and didn't bury myself trying to get back up the mountain. It wasn't easy, but it didn't suck. Always nice, that.
As it turns out, I had time to spare at the end, so I returned early to show the wife how evolved I was. She wasn't suitably impressed.

I was hoping to trade that good will in for a longer ride tomorrow, but I guess I have more work to do.


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