Sunday morning is a great time for a bike ride, unless it's raining and foggy, and you're attempting some of the steepest climbs in the Roanoke Valley.
Last weekend, a group of riders attempted the Star City Vicious Randonnee', billed as the toughest group ride in Virginia history.
The storm clouds were hanging overhead, as the riders gathered at East Coasters Bike Shop.
Less than ideal conditions deterred some who were planning to be there, but not the diehards who headed out on a 116 mile trek through some of the Roanoke Valley's most challenging terrain.
Early in the ride on Mount Chestnut Road, the riders were shrouded in fog as they tested their climbing skills. In all, the riders would attempt 14 climbs, with more than 15,000 feet of elevation gain.
Robert Issem organized the ride. "It's like comparable to a tough Tour de France stage in terms of elevation gain and distance," Issem told WDBJ7, "except the climbing's harder."
On some stretches, including a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the riders were able to catch their breath, but that's not what they were talking about at the halfway point.
Mark Smith and Barry Pugh came from Waynesboro for the event. "The climbs have been pretty brutal," Smith told us. "They're hard climbs, and I've just been trying to ride 'em steady."
"I knew it was going to be tough from the word go," Pugh said, "and it's lived up to that."
A series of world-class climbs, all within 20 miles of Roanoke.
"And if you look at the course that we've laid out, every climb is amazing," Issem said. "It's both beautiful and challenging. I'm hoping that people would recognize that Roanoke is just an unbelievable place to ride."
The three riders we interviewed had covered about 65 miles when we left them. And just a few minutes later, one of them took a hard fall on wet pavement, ending their day.
Two riders, Marcos Lazzarotto and Bernie Sanders did complete the course. Organizer Robert Issem hopes to finish the route this weekend, and says he's already planning to hold the Star City Vicious Randonnee' again next year.