Last day in the mountains today, so I decided to tackle the worst that Cape County has to offer: the climb on Hwy OO into Burfordville, or the Col de Burfordville.

TDF/2 Stage 17

I got an early start — left the house about quarter to 6, and it was a beautiful clear morning.

Sunrise

All was well through Tilsit, although I did encounter a little unexpected gravel. I planned the route on MapMyRide.com, which doesn’t distinguish between pavement and the lack thereof. I should know better, but fortunately I was riding the Long Haul Trucker, so a little bit of gravel wasn’t an issue.

Woops.  Gravel.

I’ve ridden the Col de Burfordville several times before. Once it was with a whole group of people from Cape, most of whom had never been out there before. We’d come to another little hill on OO, and people would ask “Is this the hill?” I finally said “Look. When we see the hill, nobody will ask ‘Is this the hill?”. Okay? You’ll know.”

Col de Burfordville

Okay, it’s only a quarter mile or so of actual climb — hardly the Pyrenees. But parts of it are 20% grade, and you know you’re on a hill when you’re climbing it. This is my Tour face.

Climbing Col de Burfordville

I survived, and stopped at Bollinger Mill to rest. One of the guides there, Marie Aldridge, came out to say hello. We had a nice chat, and she filled my water bottle (which was something I was a bit worried about — next place is Millersville). She was very enthusiastic about making the park more welcoming for bikes, but I fear the only thing that would really help is getting a paved shoulder on highway 34, as not many people are going to ride in on OO.

Tomorrow is the last long stage — a flat one, and I’m going to avoid the hills too. Saturday is the time trial, and only about 18 miles for me, and Sunday the finish is about 30. I’ll be doing those in Tennessee, as I’m going to Shiloh!

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