Sunday, October 22, 2017

Christopher Cross – "Ride Like the Wind" (1980)

And I've got such a long way to go
To make it to the border of Mexico
So I'll ride like the wind

Larry Skalak was born in 1952 – the same year I was born.  He died in 2014 as he was preparing to depart on his sixth transcontinental bicycle trip.

I’m a pretty active guy, but I’m no Larry Skalak, who climbed several 14,000-foot peaks, hiked a number of long and strenuous trails, and biked 80,000 miles in the last eight years of his life.

Yes, I said Skalak biked 80,000 miles in eight years.  That’s almost 28 miles a day, 365 days a year – spring, summer, fall, and winter – all after he had a total hip replacement in 2006.  (A lot of people don’t drive 80,000 miles in eight years.)

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I learned about Skalak when I encountered the “Larry Skalak Memorial Fixit Station” while riding my bike on the Virginia Capital Trail recently.  

The Larry Skalak Memorial Fixit Station 
The Virginia Capital Trail – let’s call it the “VCT” – is a 51-mile-long paved trail that connects Virginia’s three capital cities: Jamestown (1607 to 1699), Williamsburg (1699 to 1780) and Richmond (1780 to the present).

The VCT parallels Virginia State Route 5, which provides access to a number of James River plantations, including Shirley Plantation (which was established in 1613) and Sherwood Forest (which was owned by two different U.S. Presidents – William Henry Harrison and John Tyler).

Sherwood Forest
I started my ride in Charles City, Virginia – population 133 – which is the county seat of Charles City County.

After checking out the old courthouse (which was built in the 1730s and utilized until 2007, when a new courthouse was constructed), a tiny visitor center, and a monument to Confederate soldiers, I hopped on my Trek 7.3 hybrid and headed east.

The old Charles City courthouse, visitor
center, and Confederate monument
It was a balmy fall day, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky – a perfect day for biking.  The VCT, which was completed only recently, is well-maintained and relatively flat.  It was easy for me to maintain a 15 miles per hour pace on most of my ride. 

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I knew that riding from Charles City all the way to the beginning of the VCT in Jamestown and back – a distance of some 40 miles – was biting off more than I could chew, especially since I didn’t start riding until about 2:30 pm.  So I turned around just after I crossed the Chickahominy River bridge, which was 14 miles from my starting point.

I stopped for a late lunch at the Sandy Point Superette, which was conveniently situated about midway between that bridge and Charles City.

Dining al fresco on the VCT
I had brought a sandwich and some Sun Gold cherry tomatoes from home in my silly new Osprey biking backpack, so all I needed to buy was a Dr. Pepper.

At the end of my ride, I checked my odometer and learned that I had covered 28.2 miles at an average speed of 13.9 mph.

Then I put my bike in the car and walked across the street to Cul’s Courthouse Grill, which had about a dozen craft beers from Virginia breweries on tap. 

Cul's Courthouse Grille
I enjoyed a Legends Oktoberfest and picked my server’s brain about which of the Richmond area’s 20-plus breweries were worth a visit.

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After checking into my hotel and taking a quick shower, I headed for the Hardywood Park brewery.

When I arrived at around 8:00 pm, the joint was jumping – especially the bocce courts outside the tasting room:

Bocce under the lights at Hardywood
Hardywood’s brewery was full of beer being aged in barrels:

Here’s a list of the barrel-aged beers that Hardywood is releasing in the near future:

Every summer, Hardywood makes a pale ale especially formulated for Capital Trail riders:

Unfortunately, they were sold out of it when I visited.

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My second stop was Triple Crossing Brewing’s brewpub in the Fulton neighborhood, which offers brick-oven pizzas as well as some very interesting beers.

The Triple Crossing brewpub features some happening murals:

The Triple Crossing cans are pretty snazzy, too.  Here's the Radiohead-inspired Paranoid Aledroid pale wheat ale:

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In the next 2 or 3 lines, we’ll ride the western half of the Virginia Capital Trail and visit a couple of other Virginia breweries.

In the meantime, enjoy this SCTV video featuring Rick Moranis channeling Michael McDonald, backup singer sans pareil:

Here’s “Ride Like the Wind,” which was a #2 hit for Christopher Cross in 1980:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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